Central Florida school raises ‘Pennies for Puerto Rico'

by: Nancy Alvarez Updated:

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. - Students at an Orange County elementary school are finding a way to do their part to help the students in Puerto Rico suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Many children and their families have evacuated to Central Florida, and students at Whispering Oak Elementary began raising money.

“They’re moving to a whole new place and their homes were destroyed and they lost everything, so it must be pretty scary,” fifth-grader Andrew Rich told Channel 9’s Nancy Alvarez.

Video: Call grows in Puerto Rico for investigation into death toll

Rich is president of the school's National Honor Society. He and his fellow officers started the Pennies for Puerto Rico fundraiser.

“It was a lot of pennies. I stood there and poured them into the machine,” honor society advisor Cathy Moore said.

Moore had more than $1,000 in pennies and began calling local non-profits.

“They couldn’t guarantee that our money would go to the families of Puerto Rico, and I knew you (Nancy Alvarez) had done some stories, so I reached out to you and said, ‘Where do I go?’” Moore said.

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That is when Marytza Sanz, with Latino Leadership, stepped in and said they would help. The organization has been helping evacuees for weeks.

“We have been having families here with blankets over their kids because, for them, this is a very cold winter,” Sanz said.

The money from Whispering Oak will help buy jackets for children arriving from Puerto Rico.

Video: Group sets up diaper donation for Puerto Rican evacuees

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