Torrence Creek Elementary students chipped in their spare change Oct. 20 to help one of their own.

The school held its first “TCE Cares Pretzel Wednesday” last week and donated the proceeds to Patricia Hoover, a former Torrence Creek teacher’s assistant who lost most of her belongings to a house fire Oct. 6.

“As money came in, some in the form of pennies and dimes, it was clear that children had raided their piggy banks to help,” Kim Bergmann, Torrence Creek parent and vice president of fundraising for the school, said. “It was amazing. Many parents offered to purchase (pretzels) for their child’s whole class.”

The school sold more than 1,200 pretzels, provided by George Heck’s Philly Pretzel Factory in Mooresville, and raised $834. Hoover couldn’t believe the news when they called to tell her about the fundraiser planned in her honor.

“It was just such a blessing,” Hoover said. She has moved in with her sister since the fire because her house needs to be gutted and rebuilt. She does not have homeowner’s insurance, so must rebuild her house and her life bit by bit.

And she is doing it all while on unemployment. Hoover was one of many Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employees laid off in June due to the district’s budget cutbacks.

But even though she no longer works at Torrence Creek, the school supports her as a member of their family.

“(The fundraiser) was a great opportunity to offer our kids a treat and use the money to give back to our community,” Bergmann said, “and how better to start then to help a TCE family member.”

“It is such a great feeling to be so loved,” Hoover said. She plans to put the $834 towards roofing supplies and construction for her house.