The Parent Teacher Organization has placed penny jars in classroom at the Williams Elementary/Middle School and at businesses around town to collect funds to help people affected by the Sept. 11 attack on America.
The drive will run through the end of September.
The money will be presented to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund at a school assembly on Oct. 2.
“They say so far we’ve collected over $1,000,” said Cookie Dent, teacher’s aide for the kindergarten. “We counted pennies until we were blue in the face Friday.”
Last Friday, the K-Kids, a youth branch of Kiwanis, also helped out by counting change.
“Randie Parenteau (PTO member) came up with the idea to bring the community together and to get the kids involved,” Dent said. “They know they’re helping. It’s really made a difference.”
The stories of who has donated keep coming in, Dent said.
“One little boy cleaned out his piggy bank,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of kids do that. Most of them are pennies.”
The elementary school will present their jars at 9 a.m. to the Red Cross representatives and the middle school’s presentation will be at 9:30 a.m.
The Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors were in the giving mood after the recent Rascal Flatts concert. The volunteers collected tips selling beverages at the concert and gave the money to the PTO’s drive.
McDonalds is getting into the act by donating all of its collection jar funds collected at drive thru windows and containers at the counter through Oct. 12, to the Red Cross. The funds are usually designated towards the Ronald McDonald House Fund.
The small box Holiday Inn has in its lobby for donations is already getting full.
“We’ve had Hungarian diplomats in,” said Nancy Kelley, night manager at the business. “We’ve had French and German tour groups who have also added to the collection.”
All the proceeds are being donated to the relief fund at Stockmen’s Bank.
So far, the box has collected more than $35.
“We’re still collecting,” Kelley said.
The Williams-Grand Canyon News and its parent company Western Newspapers Inc., has set up a collection in conjunction with the Salvation Army.
“The Salvation Army has mobilized its resources throughout the East coast to provide much needed services to rescue workers, survivors and the families of the victims of Tuesday’s terrorist attack,” a press release states. “Meals, grief counseling and a place to rest are just a few of these services being provided.”
For every dollar collected by the News, WNI will match it two to one.
“For example: if you donate $20, WNI will donate $40,” the press release states. “WNI has committed a maximum of $20,000 in matching donations.”
National Bank of Arizona and The Stockmen’s Bank have also established a relief fund for the families of victims.
“We all feel kind of helpless,” said Laura Knight, operations supervisor for Stockmen’s. “They just wanted to do something.”
The account at Stockmen’s is a joint relief fund with Chino Valley.
“Right now we have $9,200,” Knight said. “We’ve had it coming in from strangers to the business community and the city.”
The National Bank account is being conducted statewide with 47 locations and will be donated to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. The account number is 0060038131.
A number of Indian hotel and business owners in Williams donated more than $1,000 to the relief fund. They presented the money to the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re going to be a hub for anyone who want to donate,” said John Sullivan, chamber executive director.
Anyone interested in making contributions on-line have a number of relief agencies to choose from:
o www.redcross.com — make a donation on-line or find the nearest blood donation center.
o www.salvationarmy.com — the specific use option at the Salvation Army’s donation page allows targeting donations towards specific areas.
o www.helping.org — this site offers a list of organizations providing aid.
o www.uwnyc.com/epledge/sept11.cfm — the United Way of New York City website states 100 percent of donations will go towards supporting the victims of the Sept. 11 tragedy and their families.
To avoid charity fraud:
o Before making donations, be certain that funds are going to the charity intended.
o Don’t use cash. Write a check and make it out to the charity, not the fundraiser.
o Some of the warning signs of a scam include — request for credit card or social security numbers or use of a similar sounding names that suggest a well-known charity. For a complete list of charitable organization contact your Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance or visit www.give.org.