Students turn donation into learning experience


 Second grade teacher Mrs. Walker plays goalie as she defends the net against students. Jay Poliziani, director of Northside Common Ministries, invites individuals who would like to hold a similar drive to contact him. Poliziani said that food stamps cannot be used on toilet paper and other housing supplies, and NCM is always looking for those donations. Contact him at

Photo and article by David P. May

Students of Pittsburgh Banksville Elementary took time to give back to the community one roll at a time. In late December a challenge was presented to them by Principal David May. Each student was asked to bring in a new pack or roll of toilet paper for donation to the Northside Common Ministries Food Pantry on Pittsburgh’s North Side.

The official drive began on January 2, 2014. Every morning the students would take part in a variety of activities which incorporated utilizing their math skills. Each day they counted their daily accomplishment as they built a tower of new rolls of toilet paper on the school stage. Some of the Math activities included; using basic facts, using arrays, counting using a variety of patterns, as well as identifying how many more rolls were needed as they set new collection goals for the next morning and upcoming weeks.

On January 16, 2014 the predetermined goal of 300 rolls of toilet tissue was met. The students cheered for themselves and decided to set a new goal of 400. In spite of school cancellations and delays the second goal was met and surpassed. A final culminating reward activity was planned to help increase the number of rolls already donated. Each student that brought in a new roll of toilet tissue on the final day was able to take part in a brief activity dubbed “Toilet Paper Hockey”. This fun game allowed students to chuck their roll of toilet paper towards the goalie net to see if they could get it past the goalie and make a score.

At the end of the activity, a total of 588 rolls of toilet paper were collected. On January 31, 2014, Mr. May delivered Banksville School’s large donation of toilet tissue to the Pleasant Valley Men’s Shelter located on Pittsburgh’s Northside. It was a greatly needed donation for shelter, a positive outreach experience for the students and community, and an exciting way for the Banksville students to tie in Math Skills on while building character.

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