The challenge is simple: Raise $1 for every pupil in your school and donate the funds to the homeless shelter.
The Central Elementary staff and Student Council threw that challenge at the school's student body this week, and got back $450 in response. They presented that amount in check form Friday to A-Way Home Shelter Executive Director Debbie Zigler
Not a bad return considering Central Elementary has fewer than 300 students.
After reading a recent Banner Graphic article detailing the shelter's financial plight, sixth-grade teacher Amy Cassida, one of Central's Student Council sponsors, felt the school could and should do something to help.
The Student Council challenged all students to bring in $1 as suggested in the article. The students then took that message to heart.
"We felt we did pretty well," Central Elementary spokesman Rebecca Phillips understated. "We have less that 300 students and raised more than $450.
"If only every school and workplace in the county would do the same, perhaps enough money could be raised to save the A-Way Home Shelter," she added.
Of immediate need for the shelter is $30,000 to retire a loan from the Housing Authority. The shelter runs on an annual budget of $120,000.
"We realize that our small donation will not save the shelter by itself," Phillips said. "If we all work together, perhaps we can make a difference.
After 15 years of providing shelter to the homeless and others in need in Putnam County, the A-Way Home shelter at 309 E. Franklin St., Greencastle, finds itself in a dire financial predicament.
If a new funding stream does not materialize or a major benefactor does not step forward literally in the next few days, the shelter is prepared to close Sept. 10 and not reopen for at least the remainder of 2011.
"We have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best," Zigler told the Banner Graphic earlier. "If we somehow get money on Sept. 9, we will still be open Sept. 11."
Baring any last-minute major donors, the shelter will close next Saturday, and remain that way for the last quarter of 2011. In the interim, the focus would turn to regrouping and reorganizing, along with securing expanded funding sources. The plan would then be to reopen in 2012.