Local schools raise over $75,000 and benefit Super Bowl Monday
Super Bowl excitement is everywhere you turn this weekend in Cincinnati, including local schools where more than 20 superintendents canceled Monday classes to celebrate and school communities raised more than $75,000 for local charities.
Some districts have set a fundraising goal so students can “earn” their day off, which has led to many generous donations flowing to Cincinnati-area nonprofits to help families in the need.
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At the Southwest Local School District, facilities and communications director Mike Morris said the community has more than tripled its goal of $9,400 to the Sam Hubbard Foundation, which provides educational, medical and athletic resources to children and vulnerable families in Ohio.
“We love the hometown connections and the fact that support stays close to home,” Morris said in an email.
The final tally was $31,576, Morris said, with donations coming from the Southwestern school community and faraway places like Arizona and New York. Two local Harrison businesses — comprehensive orthodontic practice Boley Braces and Mexican restaurant El Mariachi — also made significant donations, Morris said.
Sycamore Schools students and staff raised $23,531 for Operation Give Back, a Blue Ash-based nonprofit that provides tutoring, food and support to children and parents in need and Sycamore Bridges, a community group that connects families in need with local advocates and donors, officials said.
The district’s original goal for families was $8,822. More than $18,000 was raised in less than a day, officials said.
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At one point, Operation Give Back executive director Sheila Lichtenberg said their Venmo account stopped working because donations were coming in so quickly.
“It couldn’t keep up,” she said. “We were thrilled.”
Lori Drasnin, who volunteers with Sycamore Bridges, said any money donated to the organization will stay within the Sycamore community.
Sycamore Bridges operates similarly to GoFundMe, but at the community level, Drasnin said. School counselors, local police, local clergy and other members of the community inform the organization of student and family needs – from new snow boots, to fundraising assistance. sports registration, utility bills or rent – and Drasnin messages the community for help. Having this stash on hand, she said, will allow her to meet those needs without having to ask the community for help each time.
“It’s amazing. The general feeling is overwhelmed,” she said. “It’s so nice to see the district come together for good, considering the past two years and all the political drama that seems to be in every school board and every school district. It’s something we can all relate to. to agree.”
Schools in the city of Wyoming brought in $12,781, spokeswoman Suzy Henke said. The district’s initial goal was $4,000. Henke said all donations will be split between the Joe Burrow Hunger Relief Fund and the Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank.
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Other schools did not ask students to “earn” the day off through donations, but encouraged families and staff to contribute to local nonprofits this week.
Instead of collecting monetary donations, local Northwest School District buildings are serving as collection centers this week and are accepting non-perishable food items, toiletries, toys and school supplies for a number of local non-profit organizations. District officials said they won’t know the results of those efforts until next week.
Ahead of the Super Bowl, Milford Schools asked families to consider donating to Feed Our Flock, an organization that works closely with the district and provides food and care for children in Milford. Nonprofit founding member Candy Varner said about $1,000 in donations was received in the first hour after the superintendent’s announcement, and $11,269 was given out throughout the week. That’s enough to cover more than 2,500 bags of student weekend food, Varner said. Elementary students also collected more than 1,000 boxes of cereal for families in need.
That might seem like a lot of meals — and that’s a lot of money, Varner said, far more than they receive in a typical week when Feed Our Flock is used to receiving a few hundred dollars in donations — But to put it into perspective, she says, it’s enough to feed the children in the program for about a month and a half. The weekend backpack program costs around $80,000 a year to maintain.
“Seeing all the donations come in has been really fun,” Varner said on Friday. “Any time you can get your community to come together like this for what you already know is a good cause, and just bringing more awareness to it, it’s just (…) a feel-good thing for everybody.”
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Varner said he hopes more donations will arrive this weekend and during the Super Bowl. She has a few ideas for encouraging people to donate while watching the Bengals play.
“Predict the score of the game and give that amount, or collect a few numbers from your favorite players and give that amount,” Varner said. “At the end of each quarter, give the score (…) We are definitely trying to make a big boost this weekend.”