Madeleine Valeiras was having lunch one afternoon at a favorite sandwich shop with a couple of her colleagues, Zabrina Valdez and Ana Cabrera, when she learned that the remainders of the shop’s delicious, homemade bread were often discarded. What a waste, thought the second-grade elementary teacher.
“I knew we could do something with that delicious bread,” she said.
Those pieces of bread, donated by the shop’s owner, would become flavored croutons that, when given away for a minimum $5 donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, raised $788 in one school year.
That spirit of giving is vital to St. Jude, where families never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
The gourmet crouton project, dubbed Live Whole (We are helping others live effortlessly), was led by Valeiras’s second-grade students at St. Brendan Catholic Elementary in Miami. Valeiras collected the bread pieces every two weeks, and students and parents met after school each month to package them in small cellophane bags. Each bag came with a sticker that read, in part, “We’re helping others love effortlessly. Second graders @ SBE are raising funds to give 100% of the proceeds to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.”
The students marketed the croutons, prepared with special seasonings and spices, to friends and family at school events and a “Walk for a Cure” fundraiser for St. Jude where students raised an additional $800.