REDLANDS - Collecting for a cause.

That's what McKinley Elementary School students will be doing beginning Monday, when the school's "Coins for Our Community" fundraiser kicks off.

Monday through Dec. 7, the school will collect coins to help purchase food and toiletries for those in need this holiday season.

Spearheaded by the school's PTA, the drive originally was planned to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy, but when organizers learned of the need locally, they decided to concentrate their efforts in Redlands, fundraiser organizer Sandy Stauffer said.

"Even though those (affected by the storm) need it, we thought there are families close to our hearts that are near and dear that could use it just as much," she said. "With so many families that are in such dire straits in these hard economic times, we just like to give what we can."

McKinley students are no strangers to giving.

Last fall, the school raised money for the Believe Walk, which helped patients receiving cancer treatments and their families as part of the "Coins For a Cure" fundraiser.

Since joining the school district, McKinley Principal Marc Aponte has seen the community rally many times.

Prior to arriving at McKinley, Aponte saw similar efforts bring in thousands of dollars, including one for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

"I'm impressed with the number of resources our community has in Redlands," he said.

Aponte said he is looking forward to seeing students come together to raise money and "pay it forward."

"I think it's great our community often rises to the occasion to help others," he said.

Collection boxes will be placed in each classroom on McKinley's campus and the main office.

Donations can be dropped off at the school between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The school also will accept gift cards from grocery stores and retailers.

Toys, books and school supplies also will be accepted.

Organizers hope to collect enough money to help three or four families, Stauffer said.

"I'm hoping some of the local businesses will step up and try to match our donations," she said. "We want to get everybody involved."

McKinley is at 645 W. Olive Ave.

Information: 909-307-5570.


Reach Kristina via email, call her at 909-793-3221, or on Twitter @TheFactsKris