Pupils gather pennies for patients

Amazing, the power of a penny ... or a few thousand of them.

Students at Helen Haller Elementary School this spring raised more than $2,300 for Washington state youngsters with cancer through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Pennies for Patients program.

Haller's youngsters brought in pennies, nickels and dimes and saw the jars fill up to the tune of $2,380.13.

Ten classes brought in more than $100 each, said Haller program coordinator Lili Ring.

"I am (surprised), because times are tough right now," Ring said. "The families have just been really generous."

A program at the school for the past several years, Haller's Pennies for Patients drive this year is likely the most the school has ever collected, Ring said.

The top penny-pinching class was Rebecca Stanton's (formerly Balkan). Her students brought in $374.59 - the equivalent of 37,459 pennies.

Since 1994, millions of dollars have been raised in pennies and other spare change by more than 10 million elementary, middle and high school students throughout the country.

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