JAMESTOWN — It was partly for pizza, partly to help cancer patients and 100 percent to honor his grandfather.
That’s how Greeneview Middle School fifth grader Blake Midlam felt when he and grandmother, Jeannie Sargent, wheeled in a water jug full of pennies for the school’s annual penny drive to help Jamestown Families Cancer Care. The classroom which collected the most copper received a pizza party courtesy of the school’s Help Organize Pink Education (HOPE).
“Half of it was to try and win it and half was to give it to the cancer group,” Midlam said.
The jug, which was nearly full, contained around $136 and had been in the family for years.
“Daddy was one to save coins all the time,” Sargent said of her father, Alvin “Bud” Mussetter, who died from cancer 21 years ago. “It’s just been something that my husband (Gordon) and the kids and grandkids threw change in ever since I brought it home (after he died).”
Midlam knew the money would give his classroom a good chance at winning.
“I kept saying I had a jar and I would have to ask my grandmother if I could bring it in,” he said.
Sargent inquired as to why he wanted the coins and it was a done deal after Midlam said it was for cancer.
“It was an easy decision after he told me,” Sargent said, trying unsuccessfully to hold back tears. “He’s amazing. He didn’t want the money for himself. It still gets me. (My father) would have loved Blake.”
The money did in fact help Midlam’s class win with around $330 total. The $136 was the most one person contributed. Another student, Sydnee Hawkins, had a shoebox with $31 in it.
“It was pretty cool,” Midlam said. “It feels really good I was able to have that money to give to the cancer group.”
In all, GMS collected $1,700 for Jamestown Families Cancer Care, an organization which provides families fighting cancer with financial and other help. The school also does a pink day in May and in between sends cards and goody bags to local patients. It’s the third year for the penny drive, which is held in the fall, according to Sue Ellis, fifth grade intervention specialist and HOPE advisor.
It began when two students — one a cancer survivor — came to her wanting to do a cancer fund-raiser.
“We decided on the penny drive,” Ellis said.
Midlam is already thinking about next year’s drive.
“I asked if we could start saving it up again for next time,” Midlam said.
And of course, there’s already change in it.
Contat Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.