Every year fifth graders at Cherry Crest Elementary give a class gift to say thank you as they graduate.  This year the fifth graders decided to give a gift that keeps giving.  The class came up with the idea to create the Cherry Crest Unity Fund, aligned with the school’s focus on commUNITY.  They voted on organizations that they wanted to fundraise for and landed on Congregations for Kids and Backpack Meals for Kids.  Both organizations resonate with the students because they help kids in Bellevue.  The overall intent of the fund is to support the community that they live in, by giving back and helping others in need.

To raise money for the two organizations, students sold $10 tickets for two breakfast fundraisers at Applebee’s.  The restaurant is closed for breakfast, but occasionally holds pancake breakfasts for fundraisers.  The fifth graders greeted customers, brought them to their assigned table, took orders, served food and bused the tables afterwards.  Applebee’s staff did the cooking, but everything else was run by the students.

“To see our 11-year-olds get behind an effort like this – it was great,” said fifth grade parent and class gift committee member Parul Shah.  “They understand how lucky they are, and they have a sense of civic responsibility.”

Students raised close to $3,000, which will be split between the organizations.  Parul hopes future fifth grade Cherry Crest classes will carry on this new tradition and continue to support the kids in need in Bellevue as their annual gift to the school.

“I think it will be very meaningful when these fifth graders come back to visit Cherry Crest in a few years, and they see that the Unity Fund is still contributing to Congregations for Kids and Backpack Meals for Kids, and each year more and more kids are being served,” said Parul.  “They started something that will keep on giving – that will be something that will be a part of who they are forever.”

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.