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Brooklyn school digs deep

New York Teacher
The members at PS 209 in Brooklyn, led by Chapter Leader Elisa Balsamo (front, l

Everybody got into the act at PS 209 in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, when it came to raising money to buy coats and other winter clothing items for the annual UFT Thanksgiving Luncheon for homeless students.

“Where else can some of these kids have an opportunity to receive a brand-new coat, hat and scarf?” said Elisa Balsamo, the school’s chapter leader, who collected more than $1,500 for the cause.

This is the fourth year the pre-K to grade 8 school has donated to the luncheon, and each year the amount rises. Parents sent in envelopes in response to a letter that goes home. The students donate the $1 that goes to their snacks one day. Balsamo approaches the school crossing guards, the cafeteria workers and the custodians. She timed her request to her fellow UFT members to coincide with the lump-sum payments due from the 2014 contract in their October paychecks.

“Giving back to the community is important,” Balsamo said. “I’m really proud of everyone, but next year we have to raise even more money!”