Fourth-grade class collects more than 1,000 winter donations - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fourth-grade class collects more than one thousand winter apparel donations


Late in the day when most kids are thinking about going home, Mrs. Rocca's fourth-grade class is focused on something much more important.

Over the last month and a half, the class has dedicated itself to helping families in need within the district, soliciting businesses, collecting items, advertising and even fundraising.

It's all in an effort to collect as many winter items as possible.

"Every time we bring in a coat, we're making a student in the Iowa City school district warmer," said fourth-grader Ella Cook.

The 26 students have taken on quite the project.

"It's just tough economic times for everyone," said Paula Rocca, who facilitates a community service project for her class every year. "With our average poverty rates for our elementary schools hovering around 30 percent, we know that there's the need."

"It's really nice to know that you're helping someone's life and that you're making someone happier," said Lucy Janssen, a 9-year old student at Longfellow Elementary School.

As the cold weather approaches, the need extends well beyond the district.

Nonprofits see a spike in demand for warmer apparel this time of year. That's why the efforts of this class are so important.

"Every year, that need seems to increase a little bit more," said Dana Engelbert, vice president of marketing for Goodwill of the Heartland.


The group has collected more than 1,000 items, including 600 coats. With each donation comes a handwritten letter.

"There's a 9- or 10-year-old (who) doesn't know them (who) wants to warm them -- both emotionally and physically this winter," Rocca said.

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