PITTSFIELD, Maine — A unique investment strategy for the benefit of the Pittsfield Community Theatre has caused the value of copper to skyrocket at Warsaw Middle School.
First, students at the school brought in pennies — 32,116 of them, for a total value of $321.16.
Then the Warsaw Middle School Student Council voted to match that amount out of its community service account, making the original “Penny Wars” fundraiser worth $642.32.
And finally, the Greater Pittsfield Area Kiwanis Club, consistent with a pledge the group made to the theater earlier this year, will match that amount. That means, all told, Penny Wars has contributed $1,284.64 to the theater on Main Street, which is in the midst of a more than $700,000 fundraising campaign that will pay for a wide range of upgrades and repairs to ensure the it will remain in operation for years to come.
The Pittsfield Community Theatre, which, according to Town Manager Kathryn Ruth, is the only municipally owned movie theater in New England, shows movies year-round for an admission price of only a few dollars per person. But the building needs upgrades ranging from new or refurbished seating to more technically advanced projection and sound equipment.
“It’s one of the only spots in Pittsfield where we can go,” said seventh-grader Mia Fox of Pittsfield, one of the leaders of the Penny Wars effort. “We really love to go there.”
Eighth-grader Rachel Lanzikos, also of Pittsfield, said the theater is a place that knits together the community.
“It really brings us together,” she said. “Even when people from other towns come in, they can see that we’re one big family as a town.”
Good times at the theater weren’t the only reason for the success of Penny Wars. The winning class earned a free recess and each class could reduce its competitors’ totals by donating silver change and paper money. Members of the seventh grade were the victors and enjoyed their reward Friday morning under pristine skies.
Lori Glidden, who chairs the theater’s fundraising committee, said the effort is progressing well and that a push is on between now and July 31, which marks the end of the Kiwanis Club’s challenge grant period. Kiwanians have pledged matching funds up to $5,000 for all money raised for the theater by the end of July. Glidden said the effort received another hefty boost this week when the Jobs for Maine Graduates program presented the theater with $700.
To donate to the Pittsfield Community Theatre’s capital campaign, send checks to the Pittsfield Town Office, c/o Theatre Fund Raising Committee, 112 Somerset Ave., Pittsfield 04967.