Students across the country put in much more than their two cents this year to raise money for Olive Garden’s Pasta for Pennies program benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). In fact, more than three million students at 6,520 elementary, middle and high schools collectively raised a record-breaking $8.4 million to support cancer research. Thanks to their successful efforts, the funds raised for LLS through Olive Garden’s Pasta for Pennies program over the past 17 years now total more than $61 million.

Students in first through 12th grade participated in this year’s program by filling collection jars and boxes in their classrooms with spare change over a three-week period during the school year. The top fundraising class at each participating school received a pasta party from their local Olive Garden restaurant.

Every penny, nickel, dime and quarter raised helps fund blood cancer research and provides much needed services and support to leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma patients and their loved ones.