Oakdale Sixth Grade Class Donates Fundraising Money to Westside Food Pantry


Image Courtesy of Westside Community Schools Twitter

Oakdale Elementary School Principal Glen Jagels brings fundraising money raised by sixth graders to Westside food pantry.

Sixth grade students at Oakdale Elementary School have an annual tradition of raising money for a charity of their choosing. Due to the increased need for food donations during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, students chose to donate the money to the Westside food pantry. 

Each year, sixth grade students at Oakdale participate in three different fundraisers to raise money for their charity, and this year the class earned $1,550. Sixth grade teacher Rebecca Kratky described what each fundraiser entails.

“The first [fundraiser] is [when the students] put on a spirit week in the month of October for all Oakdale students to participate in, and students paid a dollar to participate,” Kratky said. 

Unlike the first fundraiser, Kratky said the second fundraiser uses information that students learned during class to raise money for their organization.

“The second activity is what we call ‘Afternoon of the Accomplished’, where the students have spent many months researching and studying a particular hero or famous figure that they look up to, and then we culminate that project by dressing up like the hero,” Kratky said. “[Then, the students] stand in somewhat like a wax museum where families can come and drop coins in a can, and those students come to life and present information that they have learned about that historical figure. That money is used as their second fundraising project.”

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, this year the students were only able to do two of the typical three fundraising opportunities.

“Typically we have a third, which is a kickball tournament, but we didn’t get to have that this year,” Kratky said.

Kratky said the original plan for the fundraising money was to donate it to an organization dedicated to cleaning up bodies of water.

“This year the students voted, and they were going to donate the money to a foundation called Ocean Cleanup,” Kratky said. “[Ocean Cleanup] is a non-profit organization that spends time cleaning up our oceans, rivers, streams for a better environment.”

As food availability at the Westside food pantry declined due to the increased need during COVID-19, Kratky said she began to wonder if the fundraising money would be better spent as a donation to the Westside food pantry.

“I was realizing how many of our Westside families were in need during this time with COVID-19, and I knew there was a need for the Westside food bank, so Mrs. Schmitz and I presented the idea to our sixth graders that they could choose to continue with donating towards the ocean cleanup, or they could decide to donate that money to the Westside food pantry,” Kratky said. “We sent out a Google Form to all of our sixth graders asking them to vote, and 86% of our sixth graders thought it would be a good idea to donate to the Westside food pantry.”

Kratky said she and co-teacher Julie Schmitz strongly supported the decision made by the students.

“Of course I think it’s important to clean up our oceans and take care of our environment, but with the situation that we have at hand with coronavirus, I think it’s important to support those that we work with and that we teach every day,” Kratky said. “I was definitely a supporter and I know Mrs. Schmitz supported it too.”

Sixth grader Ruby Stoller said she thinks donating to the food pantry was the right decision.

“I actually voted for the food pantry, because a lot of people are in need right now because of the coronavirus,” Stoller said. 

Stoller said she thinks the money will be used for various purposes.

“They’re probably going to use the money to make breakfasts, or buy canned foods that families can take home,” Stoller said.