Devin DuPree and the sophomore class at Soroco High School in Oak Creek weren't sure what to expect when they decided to hold a fund-raising dinner for tsunami victims.
"We were just hoping to raise some money to help out," said DuPree, a science teacher at the school.
The Jan. 20 dinner, which offered attendees an assortment of food donated by local restaurants and businesses, raised more than $1,000.
Tickets for the dinner cost $5 for adults and $3 for children younger than 10. Soroco students presold $350 worth of tickets and raised $750 on the night of the dinner.
"We had a line from the cafeteria out through the commons and to the front door," DuPree said. Some who attended the dinner gave much more than the cost of admission.
The high school's sophomores did most of the work for the event, including clean-up duties and making desserts and side dishes, DuPree said. He planned to write a $1,100 check to the Red Cross this week.
"It really was a good experience," he said.
Soroco's fund-raiser was just one of many successful tsunami-related benefits organized by Routt County students and teachers in the weeks since the natural disaster killed more than 150,000 people.
At Steamboat Springs Middle School, a Penny Challenge organized by art teacher Talya Dornbush, AmeriCorps mentor Melissa Calhoon and seventh-graders Morgan Cox, Kailey Fischer and Caitlin Lucas pit groups of students against one another in a friendly competition to see which could raise the most money.
Dornbush hoped the Penny Challenge, which ended a couple of weeks ago, would raise $1,000 for the United Nations Children's Fund, or UNICEF. When she finished counting the money, which included larger coin denominations and plenty of paper bills, the total reached $2,913.19. Principal Tim Bishop said staff members will contribute an additional $87 to bring the total to slightly more than $3,000.
"Everybody was able to participate, even kids who had nothing more to contribute than three pennies," Dornbush said. "It was really neat."
Strawberry Park Elementary School third-grader Kassidy Fischer conducted her own tsunami aid fund-raiser in the aftermath of the killer wave. Fischer manned a small booth with a group of friends during the school's lunch period and raised more than $600 in donations from students, parents and staff members. She planned to donate the money to the Red Cross.
The student council at Soda Creek Elementary School, with help from teachers Cindy Gantick and Elena Birchby, is wrapping up a coin drive of its own for tsunami aid.
"The kids wanted to help out," Gantick said. "It's piqued their interest in other world needs."
Proceeds from the coin drive, which started last Thursday and runs through Friday, will go to UNICEF.
"The kids felt that helping other kids was really important," Gantick said.
As of Tuesday, the students had collected 39 pounds worth of coins, not including paper money that was donated. The student council members who organized the coin drive are Brett Gordon, Haley Piske, Connor Billingham and Jake Barker.
The school also is planning to hold a Pajama Tsunami Party, teacher Tracy Bye said. The event will raise money by having students pay to wear their pajamas, slippers, robes and hats to school.
Steamboat's Bud Werner Memorial Library also is contributing to the tsunami relief effort. The library has joined more than a dozen Colorado public libraries in dedicating a week's worth of library fines to the Red Cross. The library is encouraging anyone with overdue books to bring them to the library and pay the fines by Sunday to contribute to the fund-raiser. Those interested in donating money for tsunami aid who don't have overdue library materials still can drop off Red Cross donations at the library.
Private businesses, too, pitched in by holding their own fund-raisers for tsunami relief.
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