SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Childhood hunger in South Dakota is a major issue and students at Patrick Henry Middle School want to do their part to help. They recently held a coin war to raise money for Feeding South Dakota.
It’s not every day the Mayor roams the halls at Patrick Henry.
“Well you guys better get to class. You don’t want to get detention,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said.
None of these students are getting in trouble. Instead, they’re getting pizza as part of breakfast with the Mayor.
While a visit from the city’s leader and Chief of Staff Erica Beck can make anyone nervous, all it takes is the arrival of the “Pizza Panther” to lighten the mood.
“Careful. He’s got big teeth,” TenHaken said.
This event is a reward for Mr. Peichel’s pro room. The kids raised more than $180 for Feeding South Dakota. It’s the highest total for any classroom at the school.
“We take for granted that we have food like this and that we can eat like this. Some people, it’s a little harder for them to have money and to have resources to eat. So our food bank, Feeding South Dakota, is a really important part of the city,” TenHaken said.
Sixth grader Josh Raether is on the student council.
“It’s a really big responsibility and it just feels great to help,” Raether said.
Raether helped put together the “coin war” and says every student should be proud of pitching in.
“Everybody knows that hunger is a big deal and that people can die from it,” Raether said.
“Any time the schools can instill programs or initiatives that get kids aware of what’s going on outside of their school walls, the needs in the community, can help bridge that gap between community needs and what the school can do. It’s really important in bringing that One Sioux Falls value to the kids in our school system,” TenHaken said.
On top of pizza, the kids got in a Q and A session with the Mayor.
“Some of the questions I got today were incredible including why do people drive the way they do in snow? You never know what’s going to come out of them. It’s one of my favorite parts of the job,” TenHaken said.
A slice of heaven where students walk away with full bellies and a few inside scoops.
“I think we’re going to see a Chick-fil-A come to Sioux Falls. Don’t tell anybody. That’s a secret for this room only,” TenHaken said.
On the other hand, spread the word about Patrick Henry Middle School’s community spirit.
The school is still tallying the grand total raised during the coin war. Once it’s all added up, it will go to Feeding South Dakota to fight hunger in KELOLAND.