Clink, clank, clunk! That’s the sound more than 17,200 students throughout western Pennsylvania and West Virginia will soon hear as they pour their pocket change into collection jars to support Olive Garden’s 17th annual Pasta for Pennies program benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s School & Youth campaign. Last year, Olive Garden’s Pasta for Pennies collected $6.1 million nationally, bringing the total amount donated since the program’s inception to more than $53 million.

During a three-week period in the school year, students in first-12th grade from more than 58 schools will participate in Olive Garden’s Pasta for Pennies by donating spare change to fill collection jars in their classrooms. The top fundraising class at each participating school receives a pasta party from their local Olive Garden restaurant.

“Olive Garden’s Pasta for Pennies motivates students to give their time and money to a great cause,” said Megan Nemecek, campaign coordinator for the LLS Western Pennsylvania-West Virginia Chapter. “We are inspired by the commitment of the students, teachers and parents who generously raised more than $148,800 last year to help advance our mission to find a cure.”

Local Olive Garden restaurants help kick off area Pasta for Pennies campaigns by hosting lunches for representatives from participating schools to learn more about the program.

“Every one of our Olive Garden restaurants is committed to serving our local communities,” said company president Dave Pickens.

“Our Pasta for Pennies program is one way we are able to do that. The money and awareness our student participants raise for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society truly makes a difference in the lives of so many of our families, friends and neighbors.”

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