Pennies for the cause

Jamie Bennett
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CORNER BROOK  Do you have a dusty pile of pennies tucked away in your closet? Would you like to get rid of them once and for all?

Donovan Jackson, left, and Peter Lowe are two students participating in  J.J. Curling Elementary’s fundraising campaign to help send themselves and 36 other Grade 6 classmates to Quebec for Space Camp in April.

A few local charities would love to take the soon-to-be-obsolete coins off your hands.

Last year, the Newfoundland and Labrador Laubach Literacy Council Inc. launched a fundraising campaign called “Roll Pennies for Pages”, an initiative which will be continued this year in order to take advantage of the current status of the penny.

Sherry Humber of Laubach hopes the public will donate their unwanted pennies to help pay for tutoring, books and other supplies for the group’s summer literacy programs.

She said the pennies are increasingly hard to find these days, so donations of any kind will be accepted.

“We’re hoping for change, whatever anybody has right now,” Humber said. “We hope everyone gives us their pennies.”

As part of its Economic Action Plan 2012, the federal government opted to phase the penny out circulation effective Feb. 4. The decision is expected to save taxpayers an estimated $11 million per year since the coins are so costly to produce compared to their value.

Only cash transactions will be affected and pennies can still be used indefinitely after the Royal Canadian Mint’s deadline for producing and distributing the coins.

While donations are slow now, Humber is hopeful things will pick up. The council will accept donations in person or by deposit in the group’s bank account, and penny pick-ups can be arranged for donors living in the area.

“Every cent we get helps us a great deal,” she said.

To donate, contact Humber at 634-1441 or email: laubach.adprojects@gmail.com.

‘Pennies for Space’

Meanwhile, at J.J. Curling Elementary, the 38 Grade 6 students who will travel to Quebec from April 14-20 for space camp are looking for penny donations as part of their “Pennies for Space” fundraising campaign.

The campaign was launched last year but according to trip organizer Brian Lowe, donations are skyrocketing now that parents and students have rounded up coins and helped spread the word about the initiative.

Lowe helped design a bank to house the donations, one which is shaped like a rocket and includes wheels and wooden wings. He said with over 6,200 pennies collected over the last two weeks, the bank is quickly filling up.

“Our bank is still only a little over half full,” Lowe said.

“We are hoping to get it going by March. We never dreamed we would be able to fill it.”

He said the campaign has been aided by a number of groups, such as ball hockey and volleyball teams, which use the school gymnasium regularly and who have been dropping the odd coin in the bank, which sits in the school’s lobby. With lots of coins on hand already, Lowe said another spike in donations could do wonders for the trip.

“We’re still advertizing to get some other groups to donate pennies,” he said. “I work in the hospital and a lot of the girls I work with gave me pennies, and lots more have pennies for me but I haven’t seen them yet.”

To donate, contact Lowe at 634-8143 or drop the coins off at the school.

The Corner Brook Elks club is also accepting donations of pennies to help with a number of charites the organization supports. To donate, contact Ed Gosse at 632-5696.

jbennett@thewesternstar.com

Twitter: WS_JamieBennett

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Laubach Literacy Council, Royal Canadian Mint

Geographic location: Quebec

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