HOLLAND – The penny collections have begun in earnest at St. Bede School in Holland. For the fourth year, St. Bede’s students will be raising funds to help needy families in the area – and they’ll have a lot of fun doing it.

According to Principal Margi Slomiany, “This event has become a meaningful Thanksgiving tradition here at St. Bede’s. It’s a great way to kick off the holiday season – with a focus on fun and helping others.”

Preparations began in early November, when kids started collecting pennies from friends, neighbors and relatives, and bringing them into their classrooms. Each child adds pennies to a class collection bucket.

A week before Thanksgiving, the children bring their pennies to the gym, where each class weighs in. The competition is fierce; the classroom that collects the most pennies wins an ice cream party.

The money raised this year will be used to support cancer research; to provide assistance to the homeless in Center City Philadelphia through Philadelphia Health Connections; and to provide Thanksgiving meals for needy families in the area.

“The penny collection has become a cherished tradition among our students,” said Msgr. John Marine, pastor of St. Bede the Venerable parish. “Each year the gym is filled with coins that will help feed less fortunate people. The children have fun and learn that serving the community is meaningful and rewarding.”