Veterans Park coin drive raises hundreds for Ridgefield’s food pantry

The Veterans Park Elementary School community recently raised more than $800 for the Ridgefield food pantry. Pictured in the back row is Veterans Park PTA co-presidents Meghan Raymond, left, and Denise Schimenti, Social Services Director Tony Phillips and Veterans Park Principal Ellen Tuckner. Pictured in the front row is Veterans Park students Theo Schimenti, left, Connor Raymond, Nolan Raymond and Cora Schimenti.

The Veterans Park Elementary School community recently raised more than $800 for the Ridgefield food pantry. Pictured in the back row is Veterans Park PTA co-presidents Meghan Raymond, left, and Denise Schimenti, Social Services Director Tony Phillips and Veterans Park Principal Ellen Tuckner. Pictured in the front row is Veterans Park students Theo Schimenti, left, Connor Raymond, Nolan Raymond and Cora Schimenti.

Denise Schimenti / Contributed photo

This holiday season, the Veterans Park Elementary School Parent Teacher Association was looking for a way to give back to the community.

Collecting donations for Ridgefield’s food pantry felt like a great way for families to participate in a tangible way that made sense to students of all ages. But after learning the pantry wasn’t accepting food donations amid the pandemic, PTA members were forced to get creative.

The PTA launched a holiday coin drive just before Thanksgiving instead. Students were encouraged to bring in loose change from home and watched as their donations added up in collection jars placed in each classroom. When the coin drive concluded, the school had raised more than $800 to donate to the food pantry for the holidays.

PTA co-president Denise Schimenti said the collection was a special way to engage the entire school community in working towards a common goal to help others, all while learning a very important lesson: even a small amount of change can make a big difference.

The PTA presented a check to Ridgefield’s Social Services Director Tony Phillips on Dec. 16 in the school’s flag garden alongside principal Ellen Tuckner and some Veterans Park students.