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Sacred Heart School, Palm Desert, found a creative way to raise donations for a local food pantry in need and give kids a chance to have a fun competition at the same time.

The school held a “March Madness” fundraising tournament from March 21-25. The 6th annual event is modeled after the NCAA Basketball Championship tournament. During the weeklong competition, every class tried to bring in as many canned goods as possible. Each can was worth one point. The classes with the most points advanced to the next round, until a champion was crowned on March 25. The winners, Mrs. Silva’s kindergarten class, received a class party and trophy.

The donations went to The Narrow Door, a volunteer driven, faith-based organization that helps needy people in the Coachella Valley by partnering with local churches and service organizations. The Narrow Door was forced to cancel food giveaways in March because they didn’t have enough donations, so Sacred Heart’s fundraising tournament made an impact in making sure that there were enough donations for the next month.

During Sacred Heart’s March Madness in 2019, the school collected more than 5,000 pounds of food. This year, that figure was more than doubled: the students raised over 12,000 pounds of food.