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 South Oceanside Elementary Fifth Graders Donate Catered Lunch to Tri-City Medical Hospital

A fifth-grade class from South Oceanside Elementary (Oceanside Unified School District) raised $800 to go toward the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, donating the most of any class in the school and earning an Olive Garden catered pasta party. But with schools closed, as a class, they decided to donate their meal to Tri-City Medical Hospital staff working through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I met with my class on Google Meet. We took a vote on whether or not we wanted to donate the pasta party to the nurses,” said Michael Potts, a fifth-grade teacher at South Oceanside. “I thought it would be a great way to honor them.”

Potts worked with Kathy Sellers, the general manager at Olive Garden on Marron Road, to arrange the meal, and delivered the food on April 7, feeding around 35 hospital staff.

“It means everything to us. We were very pleased to do it and it helps our morale. We know they’re on the front lines,” Sellers said. 

South Oceanside raised $3,700 to go toward the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, of which Potts’ class donated $800. The highest-donating class earns the catered pasta party from Olive Garden.

Potts said that his class had donated $400 last year, the first time South Oceanside hosted the fundraiser. His current students were set on beating that number and were able to meet their goal, primarily just from bringing in spare change.

It’s great to get kids to see that you can raise that type of money and give it to a really worthy cause,” Potts said. “For a lot of kids in my class, the families don’t have a lot and these are some of the kids that have donated the most. It’s amazing to see how generous these kids can be.”

When he mentioned the idea of giving the catered meal to hospital staff since schools are closed, Potts said his students “jumped on the idea right away” and were eager to support local nurses and medical workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.