It all began when East Dover third grader, Olivia Frantantoni, decided she wanted to help the wildlife being devastated by the raging wildfires in Australia. She developed a fundraiser called "Coins for Koalas and Kangaroos" and asked her fellow schoolmates to bring in loose change (bills were accepted, too!) each day to school for a month. Her friend and classmate, Benjamin Kempner, heard about her efforts and decided he wanted to help his friend out and he quickly became involved in the project.
Together, Olivia and Benjamin supplied each classroom in the school with a bucket for students and staff to toss their loose change into and they collected the contributions at the end of each day to be counted.
The response to the fundraiser was more than they could have expected. The school raised over $4,000 in one month!
Additionally, the Zoological Society of New Jersey has agreed to match the school's efforts, bringing the total to be donated to over $8,000. The money will be donated to the Wildlife Warriors Foundation at the National Zoo in Sydney, Australia, run by the family of Steve Irwin.
News 12 New Jersey caught wind of the story and visited East Dover on Wednesday, January 29 to cover the fundraiser's success.
In a few weeks, the school will host representatives from the Zoological Society for an assembly where the donation will be officially presented. Stay tuned.