MMS wants to make a difference

Posted 3/22/22

Ukraine refugee fundraiser going this week RIVER FALLS – Meyer Middle School in River Falls is holding a fundraiser this week to raise money for Ukrainian refugees in Poland. The fundraiser started …

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MMS wants to make a difference


Ukraine refugee fundraiser going this week

RIVER FALLS – Meyer Middle School in River Falls is holding a fundraiser this week to raise money for Ukrainian refugees in Poland. The fundraiser started Monday, March 21 and runs through the end of the week.

The fundraiser is a collaboration between the social studies department and Student Council. The students at Meyer Middle School all felt like they needed to help in any way they could.

Eighth grade social studies teacher Kurt Lietz helped to coordinate the fundraiser with his social studies and advisory students.

“We watch the news casts and current events in class each week and we see the images of what’s going on right now and all my students just said ‘we need to do something’ and so we came up with a way to raise money,” Lietz said.

The money raised will go to the Polish Center of Wisconsin, located in Milwaukee. The organization has been sending money to Poland over the last few weeks to help with the refugee influx in Poland.

“The Polish Center of Wisconsin is who we are working with,” Lietz said. “They are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and they are the ones that will be forwarding the money to Poland; they have a bank they are working with that waives all the fees for international wire transfers right now.” The bank then works with other organizations in Lublin, Poland to purchase supplies and resources that support the many refugees fleeing to Poland from Ukraine. Supplies like food, diapers, water and other necessities are purchased with the raised money.

The fundraiser will work as a competition during this week between all the grade levels and there is some incentive behind raising the most money in their homeroom classes.

“We are taking the donations in our Teachers Advisory (TA), which is essentially a homeroom, but we are competing against other TAs across all the grade levels,” Lietz said. “At the end of the fundraiser the three winning TAs from each grade will get to bowl at the bowling alley here in town as an award for being philanthropic.”

The idea of making the fundraiser more of a competition came directly from the students themselves. They thought this would give more incentive to donate and reach their $10,000 goal.

“My eighth graders in my TA came up with the number of $10,000 and thought that should be doable for a week-long fundraiser,” said Lietz.

The social studies department and Lietz came up with some of the background details and worked everything out in terms of who they would be working with and how they would get their money to Ukraine. The students then came up with the functioning aspects of the fundraiser.

Lietz said, “I came up with who we are going to work through, but my eighth graders were really the ones who came up with the idea to collect cash and let’s do this as a competition and let’s set the goal at $10,000. The kids are excited about this because they feel like they are able to make a difference with the fundraiser.”

Over the middle school’s spring break, some students and teachers brought flyers around town to spread the word and gain support from the community.

“Hub70 downtown donated 125 color copies of the flier we made and the community has just given an overwhelming outpouring of support,” “Lietz said. “Just about every business on Main Street hung the flyers in the business to help spread awareness for what we are doing here.”

The fundraiser is a small way that the River Falls community will be able to help from far away. Lietz said, “Everyone wants to help in some way, you see all the pictures and you feel so helpless. That's how the kids felt as well after watching some of the short newscasts we watch; it really is heart wrenching.”

The fundraiser is also a small way for students to become involved and practice empathy and compassion.

“We pride ourselves on being a National School of Character, and so we have character traits that we try to weave into everything that we do and we talk about courage, perseverance, empathy and compassion and this is a great way to practice those character traits for the students,” Lietz said.

The fundraiser will end on March 25 and the money will then be sent to Poland immediately. Checks can be made out the Polish Center of Wisconsin; put “Poland’s Ukraine Relief Fund” in the subject line.

The Meyer Middle School social studies department and Student Council have joined forced to raise money for humanitarian aid for Ukrainian refugees in Poland. You can donate by scanning the QR code in the flyer or by dropping money off at the school. Poster courtesy of Meyer Middle School