The Block Island Times

Block Island School collecting Pennies for Patients

Donations sought
By Joel Taylor | Mar 21, 2014
Photo by: Joel Hart Block Island kindergarteners count some of the change they've collected for Pennies for Patients, with staff members Cindy Lasser and Debby Hart.

Debby Hart, a long-time teacher here on the island, said she first enrolled the Block Island School in the Pennies for Patients program eight years ago, after a student passed away due to a blood-borne pathogen. “Her name was Emily. I asked her father if I could start this program here in her honor,” Hart said.


Pennies for Patients is a fundraising effort sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), during which students are encouraged to collect spare change for three weeks to support LLS's mission, which is “to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life for patients and their families.”


More specifically, the Rhode Island chapter of the LLS (RILSS) has two goals, according to Hart: to provide financial, emotional and medical support to dealing with cancer and cancer-related issues, and to provide funds for the research aimed toward treatment and cures for blood and bone cancers.


Rhode Island donated $303,000 last year to the LLS, and $1,468.00 came from the Block Island School. The school's goal for this year is $1,000 by the end of March, when the drive ends. The kindergarteners at the school will be assisted by the fifth graders in counting and rolling coins. At the end of March, the Washington Trust Company will prepare the final tally and issue the check to the RILSS. “They have been gracious and generous in their time and support,” Hart said of Washington Trust. She also said that “we've received quite a few generous private donations as well.”


She said that, among 203 schools that participated, the island school ranks eighth in Rhode Island for donations per student last year.


If members of the community would like to join in the fund-raising efforts, they can contact the Block Island School by phone at (401) 466-5600, or donate online at


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