Published Online: April 29, 1998

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Peddling priest

A clergyman whose unusual fund-raising campaigns have earned him the nickname "Pierogi Priest" has launched a new effort to raise money for Catholic schools throughout the United States.

The Rev. Edmund Nadolny, a Roman Catholic priest who leads the St. Stanislaus parish in Meriden, Conn., has forged a partnership with 1-800-FLOWERS, a flower-distribution company in Westbury, N.Y. When ordering flowers by phone, customers can now designate specific Catholic charities--including parochial schools--to receive 10 percent of their payments.

All they have to do is give their sales representative the special code for the "Catholic Flowers" program: 463, which spells "G-O-D" on telephone buttons.

Although he says this may be his most ambitious aid effort yet, Father Nadolny is a veteran of numerous philanthropic efforts.

Two years ago, he teamed up with a local business that hand-makes pierogies--small pastries filled with meat, potato, or cheese--and started selling them as a way to raise money for his parish's 450-student grade school and for other causes across the country. Since then, he has sold $1.7 million worth of the pastries, which come in boxes displaying a priest holding a plate of pierogies.

This time, he hopes to tap into the country's lucrative market for flowers, which has annual sales topping some $14 billion.

"I've sold just about everything but my soul," Father Nadolny said in an interview last week.

Teeing off

Todd Tyni knows golf. He also knows his students. Getting them anywhere near a golf course was close to impossible--until he brought the course to them.

The James Monroe High School in Los Angeles recently opened a $12,000 putting green and driving range for its students.

"I just wanted [students] to give the game a chance," said Mr. Tyni, a business and computer teacher who coaches golf at the school.

Since then, the golf team has more than doubled its members from 12 to 25. And of the school's 4,000 students, about 200 of them come out daily to hit a few balls during their lunch period.

With the help of his principal, Mr. Tyni was able to raise enough donations to build the range on the school's horticulture garden, which was abandoned in the 1970s. The school also received donated clubs, balls, and bags.

"The program is not costly, and it builds self-esteem," Mr. Tyni said. "It gives kids a chance to play a sport that they wouldn't have a chance to otherwise."

--JEFF ARCHER & ADRIENNE D. COLES

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