Virginia Beach school wins $13K, feeds nonprofits in the process

Posted at 2:40 PM, Jun 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-24 18:19:33-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - St. Matthew's Catholic School in Virginia Beach won $13,000 in a multi-state competition, and they made it look easy as pie.

"It was nice that a small school like us [with just over 500 students was able to do this] and come together," said Sondra Smith, the President of the Parent Teacher Guild at St. Matthew's Catholic School.

St. Matthew's and the student's families ordered pizza after pizza for almost a year as part of the Papa John's "Dough 4 Dollars" contest.

People were encouraged to place an online order from any local shop and use the code "SMSEAGLES." After the order was submitted, the school received 10% back from all of the sales.

"We can get up to like $500 or $600 every couple of months just from using this code," Smith said.

Thinking outside of the box, some families saw this as an opportunity to help the school and community.

They even began donating money anonymously so that the school would be able to buy and give pizza's to local nonprofits like the Union Mission in Norfolk and the HER Shelter.

Helen Hayes Sommer, the Director of Development for the Union Mission, said, "We’re just so gratified that the school is involved in helping our children be aware of other people in need in the community."

The St. Matthew's Parent Teacher Guild took it a step further by also delivering pizza to nursing homes and those on the front lines of COVID-19.

"I am a nurse. I know what it’s like, you know, the night shift nurses are all working and the residents haven’t seen their families. So, [we] wanted to do something nice for them, too," Smith said.

In total, they placed 998 orders, beating out schools across Virginia and Alabama -- all the while feeding families and strangers.

"When we bring people that are homeless a warm meal it makes a world of difference to them," Sommer said. "Our guests are really so grateful when people from the community care enough to provide."

COVID-19 forced the private school to cancel their annual carnival, which brings in about $30,000. They said they're thankful this money can now make up a piece of the difference.

School representative told News 3 that they will put the $13,000 towards new technology for students because virtual learning has become the new normal. It will also be used for day-to-day student necessities.