Bringing home the bacon

Saint George principal and Horatio B. Hackett teacher kiss a pig, secure funds for schools through TruMark Financial Credit Union

Pucker up: Heather Brant plants a kiss on Raines, a pot-bellied pig, during TruMark Financial’s annual Kiss-A-Pig Financial Literacy fundraiser. PHOTO: TRUMARK

By Melissa Komar

Members of school staffs from the River Wards got up close and personal with a pig to make some money for their schools.

Danny Markowski, principal at Saint George School in Port Richmond, and Heather Brandt, kindergarten teacher at Horatio B. Hackett in Kensington, participated in TruMark Financial’s annual Kiss-A-Pig Financial Literacy Fundraiser on Oct. 4 at Abington Art Center.

Raines, the pot-bellied pig from Ross Mills Farm, returned the love in the form of an early Valentine’s Day present in February.

Cindy Blake, TruMark Parkwood branch manager, presented a $5,500 check to Markowski on Feb. 12.

This was the first year a staff member from Saint George participated.

“It was quite an honor for Saint George School to be included in this awesome initiative from TruMark Financial, especially since there are a limited amount of Catholic schools that are chosen to participate. TruMark does a great job of spreading out their resources so that various settings, institutions and programs can benefit from their message,” Markowski said.

He also gave credit to Blake, a parishioner at Saint George who initially approached staff about the initiative.

Markowski, Brandt and eight other schools that participated, secured sponsors and donations for the chance to kiss the pig.

“Throughout last year, we sold gourmet lollipops, provided by TruMark, and we also invested some of our Serve-A-Thon money from last year’s event to assist with the credit union’s efforts in promoting financial literacy,” Markowski said.

Danny Markowski gets up close and personal with Raines, a pot-bellied pig, during TruMark Financial’s annual Kiss-A-Pig Financial Literacy fundraiser. PHOTO: TRUMARK

The fundraiser “is one component of TruMark Financial’s Building Financial Futures initiative which heightens awareness for financial literacy and raises money for local schools in need of classroom materials,” according to Randi Marmer, assistant vice president for public relations at TruMark Financial Credit Union.

The credit union also raises funds throughout the year, including putting together an ad booklet and selling sponsorships, hosting a casual dress down day for employees in exchange for a donation, and selling water ice and tickets for raffle baskets.

Todd Kimmel, principal at Hackett, kissed the pig at the 2016 fundraiser.

“A lot of the school community came out to support me,” he said. “When I did it, the Pre-K and K students talked about it all year. They really got a kick out of it.”

And, they got some perks, too.

Hackett will purchase Chromebooks and create a financial program focusing on saving money and bank accounts for its students.

Similar purchases and programs will occur at Saint George, in keeping with TruMark’s vision of the grant: to foster financial literacy among students.

“We’ve discussed the possibility of additional Chromebooks being added to our lab, as well as manipulative games that our younger students can play that focus on money, finance and responsibility,” Markowski said. “We even played around with the idea of opening a “school store” that could be run by our students, utilizing cash registers, a credit system, and “checks” as payment.”

And, while raising money for their schools was the main goal, fundraisers can’t be spelled without “fun.”

“It truly was a fun and memorable experience,” Markowski said. “It was great to see how TruMark supported the community and put such great efforts into their cause. The highlight of course was that each participant ‘kissed” the pig (with the help of pretzels) and really cheered each other on for the cause.”