GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It took 22 schools two weeks to raise more than two million pennies. Those numbers together mean the world to Petal School District Superintendent Dr. Matt Dillon.
Dillon was on hand in Gulfport Wednesday to receive a donation from the Harrison County School District to be used in the recovery effort of the Petal School District.
"It's unbelievable the financial help that this is going to provide," Dillon said. "This is very special. I had no idea that this type of effort was being done behind the scenes to the tune of over $25,000. This is just amazing, very special to us."
Students from the Harrison County School District have been collecting money to support their neighbors to the north. Just hours after the tornado hit in January, Superintendent Roy Gill reached out to Dillon, who graduated from and taught in Harrison County.
"We pride ourselves in being a big family because, you know, sometimes through the bad times, we have to all pull together," Gill said.
The Pennies for Petal Campaign was especially close to math specialist Stephanie Brewer, who just recently joined the Harrison County team after spending three years as the assistant superintendent in Petal.
"I'm so excited that Harrison County is able to do this for them and ease the burden a little bit," Brewer said. "Children, we teach them a lot more than mathematics and English. We teach them to give, that it's important to support the community.
The money collected by the schools, along with $716.40 donated by Papa John's, came to a grand total of $25,376.40 donated to Petal schools to support the children and families affected by the tornado.