Penny Pinchers



Kids at Oakland's Fruitvale Elementary school may not be affluent - 93 percent qualify for its free or reduced lunch program - but that doesn't stop them from being generous. Recently, the school raised $2,739.12 over a four-week period for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Pennies for Patients" program. "It just blew our minds," said principal Cherie Ivey. According to the program's manager, Catherine Gambertoglio, the school's donation far exceeded the national average of $1,000 and the 2006 Oakland school average of just $399. Ivey says such community participation is nothing new. Every time there's a disaster, the kids come armed with their pennies. Last year, the 675 students raised another $2,000 for 300 victims of Hurricane Katrina.