COIN DRIVE NETS $800

September 23, 2001 11:00 pm
COUNTING COINS: Fourth-graders in Sharon Freemans class at Union Elementary School handle some of the coins collected in a drive to help families of the victims in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The students, left to right, are Tyler Fouts, Ritter Warren, Kaylie Graves and Corey Ferguson.  (The Observer/DICK MASON).
COUNTING COINS: Fourth-graders in Sharon Freemans class at Union Elementary School handle some of the coins collected in a drive to help families of the victims in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The students, left to right, are Tyler Fouts, Ritter Warren, Kaylie Graves and Corey Ferguson. (The Observer/DICK MASON).

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

UNION Anyone who wanted a sense of hope for the future would have been wise to visit Sharon Freemans fourth-grade class at Union Elementary School late last week.

Freemans 15 students conducted a coin drive to help the families of the victims of the terrorist bombings in New York City and Washington D.C. The fourth-graders raised $800. The total included $685 in coins and $115 in bills and checks.

Ritter Warren, a student in Freemans class, initiated the coin drive. Ritter, the son of Art and Nancy Warren, came up with the idea while watching a television broadcast showing children whose mothers and fathers had died in the attacks.

He was trying to understand that their parents are not coming home, Ritters father said.

A feeling of sadness set in, but then Ritter said, Maybe we should do something.

The fourth-grader next asked Freeman if a coin drive could be conducted.

Freeman agreed that it would be a good idea.

Freemans class sent a letter to all teachers in the Union School District asking their classes to help with a coin drive. The students also sent out flyers.

The response was remarkable. The $800 was raised in about four days. Freemans students not only coordinated the drive they also collected a significant portion of the money.

Students in Freemans class who made significant contributions included Kaylie Graves, who brought in a lunch bag filled with coins.

The fourth-graders later walked to Klamath 1st Federal bank in Union with their coins. Each student carried at least two pounds of coins.

The students had not counted their coins because there were so many.

The bank tabulated their worth with a coin counting machine. It took 15 to 20 minutes for the machine to count the coins, Freeman said.

The bank determined that the students had $685 worth of coins. This, combined with $115 in checks and bills, brought the classs total to $800.

The bank gave the students a check for $800 to the American Red Cross. Ritter and his mother took the check to Albertsons Food Center in La Grande. The supermarket will send the check to its national headquarters. Albertsons has promised to match the first $50,000 it receives nationally in donations.

Ritter hopes the money his class raised will be used to buy toys for the children who lost their parents in the terrorist attacks.

Its not fair that these kids do not have parents now, Ritter said.

The students in Freemans class are Blaine Baker, Eric Bates, Tony Danliovich, Corey Ferguson, Tyler Fouts, Kaylie Graves, Britta Harmon, Jennifer Longwell, Taylor Loree, Meagan McCabe, Nolan Mills, Tom Sheehy, Robbie Swanson, Ritter Warren and Erin West.