Eighth-graders at Bedford Middle School went to war before Thanksgiving, and the winners were area needy and the Westport Department of Human Services.

During the eighth grade's Penny Wars -- a friendly annual competition between classes -- students collected nearly $7,500 in pennies and other coins, the school's PTA said. The fundraiser is part of Human Services' 'Tis the Season drive.

Of the $7494.98 raised, students donated $1,300 of the money to Human Services and the remaining money went toward gift cards for 19 needy families Bedford "adopted."

In the nine years of Penny Wars, Bedford students have raised more than $40,000 for the 'Tis the Season drive.