P.S. 304 donates pennies to Edgewater Park’s VFD

Lisa Schiliro-Reilly, the student color guard of P.S. 304, Councilman Jimmy Vacca, and firefighters from the Edgewater Park Volunteer Fire Department, celebrated the $ 1,000 check presented by the student of P.S. 304 on Friday, June 5. Photo by Victor Chu

A penny saved is a penny donated for the students of P.S. 304.

For the past eight years, Lisa Schiliro-Reilly, parent coordinator, learning leader liaison and Penny Harvest coach, has led the student color guard in its Penny Harvest collection.

The color guard, comprised of student government members representing each class, encourages the entire student body to contribute their spare change and each year selects an organization that will benefit from their contribution.

“I am very proud of them and they are all young philanthropists,” said Schiliro-Reilly. “This year the kids wanted to keep the money in the community.”

The penny collection began in October and on Friday, June 5, the students of P.S. 304 presented the Edgewater Park Volunteer Fire Department with a $ 1,000 donation.

“We definitely like to thank the kids for the donation, which will really help out the fire department,” said Denise McCrink, volunteer firefighter. “We really appreciate it. We are always out there, ‘neighbors helping neighbors.’ We respond to anyone who needs us, even if it is outside the community.”

Adding to the generous gift, local business owner Joseph Silvestri, of Silvestri’s Commercial Flooring Specialist, located 2810 Coddington Avenue, donated $ 500 to the cause in honor of his three children, Maria, John Paul and Joseph Silvestri, who all attend the school.

“I always try to give back to the community,” said Silvestri. “I am Bronx born and raised, growing up around Arthur Avenue in a community that always gave back. Now I am fortunate enough and blessed enough to be able to give.”

Councilman Jimmy Vacca was also present during the ceremony to show support for the students’ efforts and the importance of the Edgewater Park Volunteer Fire Department.

“I want you kids to know, all you children, by being so generous you are contributing to a wonderful cause. You gave back to your community,” said Vacca to the students. “This is the volunteer Edgewater Park Fire Department and over the years they have saved peoples lives. I have been there when the Edgewater Park Fire Department has helped their neighbors through a crisis. You have shown how pennies can add up.”

Penny Harvest, a program through Common Cents, a not-for-profit organization, turns collected pennies into grants for community organizations.

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