Verrado Middle School seventh-graders raised $1,755.13 for Riah’s Rainbow, a Wisconsin-based organization that donates books and toys to children’s hospitals.
On Saturday, young patients at Phoenix Children’s Hospital received the students’ gifts.
The 319 Buckeye students collected the money through a “penny war,” which split the children into 10 homeroom classes that competed to collect the most pennies in a week. The winning class received a pizza party.
The money the students raised paid for craft items, coloring books, crayons, reading books, movie and store gift cards, Lego sets, a Lego table and some DVDs.
Buckeye mother Susi Henry, who founded the Arizona chapter of Riah’s Rainbow, has raised nearly $4,000 for Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Henry created the chapter after learning about Riah’s struggle with brain cancer.
Riah, short for Mariah, was diagnosed at age 3 and died in August 2008. She would have turned 6 on May 28.
Riah’s Rainbow strives to bring smiles to the faces of children who spend time in the hospital.