That’s the stuff: Sandrock students donate hundreds of stuffed animals in fundraiser | CraigDailyPress.com

That’s the stuff: Sandrock students donate hundreds of stuffed animals in fundraiser

Lauren Dodd/For Craig Press
Sandrock Elementary fourth-grade students stand with Memorial Regional Hospital emergency medical responders after the students won the school's penny drive challenge to raise money and donate hundreds of stuffed animals to local children in crisis situations.
Kamisha Siminoe/Courtesy Photo

More than 330 Sandrock Elementary School students banded together to raise money to purchase hundreds of stuffed animals for local children going through traumatic experiences.

The students raised $572.15 through a penny drive competition hosted by the school administration and the Parent Action Committee led by PAC President Kassie Vesely, mother of two Sandrock students. 

“It may not seem big, but it’s huge to these children, a stuffed animal is something that can comfort them when they’re scared,” Vesely said.

The fundraiser produced 366 plush bunny rabbits, snakes, unicorns, bears and other assorted stuffed animals that will be given to children by local emergency personnel.

Colorado State Patrol Capt. Doug Conrad holds two pink bunnies donated by Sandrock Elementary students for children going through emergency situations after a school assembly honoring the students for raising enough money to purchase and donate hundreds of stuffed animals.
Kamisha Siminoe/Courtesy Photo

“We thought this could be impactful to not only our children, but other children,” Sandrock Elementary Principal Kamisha Siminoe said. “I think it’s great that this is kids helping kids.”

For two weeks, students donated pennies to their grade tub in the hallways of the elementary school. The grade that had the most pennies won the challenge, but students could sabotage other grades collection by donating nickels, dimes or quarters to counteract and cancel out a certain number of pennies in that grade’s tub.

“It was great, because if you’re a kid who doesn’t have a lot at home, but maybe you find a dime and contribute 10 pennies to this process, you still have an opportunity to make a difference regardless of how much money you have,” Siminoe said.

During a PAWS assembly at the school Monday May 13, the fourth grade class of 45 students was celebrated for collecting the most pennies during the penny drive competition.

Representatives from the Craig Police Department, Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol, Craig Fire/Rescue, Memorial Regional Health EMS and Memorial Regional Health Emergency Room were on hand Monday to talk to the students and thank them for their efforts.

Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume speaks to Sandrock Elementary students during an assembly honoring the children for raising money and donating hundreds of stuffed animals to emergency first responders to give to children in crisis situations.
Kamisha Siminoe/Courtesy Photo

Each agency will receive 61 stuffed animals to have on hand if they encounter scared children going through emergency situations.

“We appreciate this,” Memorial Hospital Foundation Director Eva Peroulis said. “It was so nice of the school to do this for us. It’ll be nice to have the teddy bears in the hospital or in the ambulance, it does ease their fears, it really does, because going to the hospital is scary for kids. It’s scary for adults, but giving them a teddy bear is huge.”

The fundraiser may benefit the Sandrock Elementary students just as much as the children receiving a donated stuffed animal, Siminoe said.

“We know as adults what it feels like to give of ourselves, whether there’s recognition or not we walk away feeling pretty good,” she said. “I think too many times we can be pretty caught up in our own stuff so to give our children an opportunity or a way to give of themselves also helps to build some confidence and self esteem and they go away feeling pretty good. The more opportunities we give our children to do that, I think the better.”