Students at the Taper Avenue Elementary School learned a lesson in the power of giving when they responded to an appeal to help starving people in drought-stricken Ethiopia.
The children donated nearly $700 last month, mostly from their lunch allowances and from individual money-raising projects.
"The children gained something of great value in their own lives and outlooks, even as they worked to help others," said Elizabeth Hori, a fourth-grade teacher whose 28-student class raised $152 in three weeks. Some of them also wrote letters to The Times about the project.
"It was a joy to see the kindness and concern displayed by the children," Hori said. "They worked so hard, bringing something to give every day. One boy brought in a heart-shaped box full of pennies that he had saved."
To make the gifts more meaningful, most of the children earned their contributions by doing extra chores around home or selling cookies and soft drinks to their classmates, Hori said.
She said several children developed more positive attitudes as a result of their helping strangers in a faraway land.
"A spirit of giving certainly has the power to make a miracle," Hori said.
She said her class insisted on continuing the fund-raising drive until the last day of school on June 19 and several students pledged to continue their efforts through their summer vacations.
A television documentary depicting the plight of the Africans inspired the children to participate in the Los Angeles Unified School District's relief drive, Hori said.