After fundraising flop, community steps up for elementary school PTA

Tiogue Elementary School, Coventry, R.I.

COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) – In the face of a fundraiser flop, a local community is stepping up to help an elementary school’s parent-teacher association meet its fundraising goals.

On Monday, Call 12 for Action reported that the PTA at Tiogue Elementary School in Coventry had a months-long fundraiser at the Menchie’s franchise in Warwick.

The PTA was expecting $400, which was earmarked for playground upgrades. But the owner of the frozen yogurt shop never handed over a check to the PTA.

After the report aired, Jason Messier, who promotes local businesses online, got on social media and pledged a donation to the PTA. Messier said the Menchie’s franchise in Warwick had pre-paid him for several months of advertising.

“I was like, you know what? The best thing I can do is donate that $100 to the school,” Messier said.

Messier challenged other business owners to do the same. Within hours, the donation pledges topped $600.

“It’s the perfect example of turning a negative into something positive,” Messier added.

Guy Suffoletto, the PTA’s vice president, said the outpouring of community support is humbling.

“It’s unbelievable to see the amount of kindness and generosity that still exists,” Suffoletto said.

Call 12 for Action was not able to reach the Nancy Gardiner, the owner of the Menchie’s franchise, for a comment on this update. For the original report, Gardiner claimed she had not paid because the PTA didn’t complete its part of the agreement to provide media coverage for a check presentation. Gardiner added that she had donated more than $5,000 to various schools and organizations through fundraisers.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.