Two weeks after launching Coins for Korah, students, parents and faculty at West Burlington Elementary School raised $4,000 to send to an impoverished village in Ethiopia

By Elizabeth Meyer |

West Burlington, Iowa (AP)—The school year is winding down but the prospect of summer vacation did nothing to dampen fundraising efforts at West Burlington Elementary School.

Two weeks after launching Coins for Korah, students, parents and faculty raised $4,000 to send to an impoverished village in Ethiopia, The Hawk Eye ( ) reported.

The school initially set out to raise $1,600 — a sum that would feed 40 families in the village for one month. But the school community far surpassed expectations and more than doubled their haul.

About 120,000 people live in extreme poverty in Korah, subsisting primarily from scraps of discarded food they can dig from the local trash dump. The community is composed mostly of people with physical and mental disabilities and debilitating diseases nearly impossible to treat due to lack of medical resources. Korah is located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the nation’s capital and largest city.

Bria Mears of New London has spent the last year and a half living in Addis Ababa and working in Korah. The 22yearold and her mother, Toi Mears, visited Korah two years ago during a mission trip, prompting the young Mears to leave Grandview University in Des Moines and continue her mission work full-time.

Toi Mears’ sister, Corina Shipp, a fifth grade teacher at West Burlington Elementary School, orchestrated the fundraiser May 12.

“I’m completely overwhelmed by all the support from the parents the community and the students,” Shipp said. “They’ve really taken hold of this.”

Shipp said the majority of donations were cash and coins brought in by students and their parents. Students embraced the challenge to raise as much money as possible, hosting garage sales and lemonade stands and completing chores around town to contribute.

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