A Mile of Pennies

Going the Extra Mile Fundraising Project

When I was eleven years old my dad died of cancer; that was over a half century ago. At the time, they were just beginning to look into finding ways to treat this dreaded disease. During his fight with cancer, my Dad gave me a challenge, he said, "If you ever find a penny on the ground, pick it up; it will have a message from heaven for you from me." He handed me a penny so I would know what to look for and what his message to me would be. I discovered that each penny says, "IN GOD WE TRUST." 

Over the past 58 years, I've been amazed at how many times my Dad has sent me a message from heaven! It has always been just the right message at just the right time; it always makes me smile! Isn't it just like a good Daddy to continually remind his child to TRUST GOD?

I wish now that he would have told me to keep every penny until I was a certain "milestone age," such as 25, 35, or 40 years old. Then I would have seen another gift in that message, I would have seen how often I was reminded to TRUST GOD. It is with this in mind that inspired me to create, "A Mile of Pennies," whereby I collect pennies I find, save them, and then give them to a charity or event to honor my Dad. It is now my hope that young people would also begin collecting pennies they find and save them for a life project to be given to a charity or special event when they reach a significant birthday milestone.

Let's get started collecting A MILE OF PENNIES!

Each participant will have their own jar to use to collect their pennies. Each meeting they will bring the jars and count the pennies or perhaps borrow a coin counter occasionally from a local bank. (We were able to do that on another "church change" project some years ago.) It is suggested no larger than a quart jar is used, as pennies are heavy when collected. Jars may be purchased or supplied by the participants or donated through the church congregation. Paper labels can be decorated, wrapped around, and taped on to the jars. Encourage the Youth Group to come up with ways to collect their pennies. 

Some possibilities are:
* door to door to ask neighbors, 
* ask family and friends, 
* ask permission to set up outside of businesses, 
* enlist others to help them collect the pennies, (i.e. parents ask at their work place)
* seek permission to set up a booth at school events, (i.e. ballgames, or in the lunch room cafeteria)
* booths at church events or jars could be set on a welcome table

On regular copy paper, print a label that will fit the jar. The label can be decorated with markers, crayons, colored pencils, and/or stickers. Laminate them for durability. Here is a label example:

Help the Cub Scouts go 
The Extra "MILE"

Make large posters to be displayed with the following information:
1/8 a mile = 10,560 pennies
1/4 a mile = 21,120 pennies
1/2 a mile = 42,240 pennies
3/4 a mile = 63,360 pennies
1 mile = 84,480 pennies! End to end. (That's $844.80!)

Also, print four mini posters of this information on copy paper and cut them apart. You may also want to laminate the posters for durability. Give each participant a mini poster, so they, too, can share their personal goals with others during the collection project. 

Equip the participants with:
* A quart jar with the project label
* The mini poster of the distance of pennies in the mile breakdown goals (above)
* A paper tablet to be used as a log, for writing the names of those that donate pennies (cash or checks accepted and recalculate as pennies)
* Information about the recipient who will receive the finalized collection. (i.e.) - What do they intend to do for the church, school, community, etc.
* How will the funds be used? (the specific project)

Enhancement Activities:
* A math project: A penny is .75 inch across. The kids could do the math to figure this out for themselves, measure the penny; maybe lay out 10, then 100 and even 1,000 pennies for them to get the idea of the length of 1 mile. This information is from a Google search: A flat penny is .75" across 16 pennies per foot. Hence, 16 pennies per foot. 16 X 5280 feet =84,480 pennies in a line one mile long.

Take a 1 mile hike together. Pre-mark increments of the mile along a path. Preset signs that state how many pennies it takes for that distance (see amounts in the above table for the large posters) Discuss encouragement about the project, how long do they think it will take to collect 84,480 pennies, how much might a mile of pennies weigh, how should they store the money? (Highly suggest pennies are banked each collection to keep it safe) Take photos of participants as they fill a penny jar and keep in an album or display on facility bulletin board. See the difference in the amount of pennies in a quart jar. This will vary as some will be more full, and the position that the pennies collect in the jar

Weigh each empty jar, (before the pennies are inside) and weigh the jar after to find out how much the pennies weigh (deduct the weight of the empty jar from the full jar for penny weight.) Designate a person to keep tally of the number of jars and the weight of each as the money is prepared to be banked. Each time one of the "mini-goals" is reached: Walk that distance and have a celebration! Pray and dedicate to complete their next goal. Share stories about the collection and serve a simple snack, drink, or ice cream.

On the final goal (1 mile, 84,480 pennies):
* Contact the local newspaper for the celebration and report the stages and interesting things learned during this project
* Invite the project recipient to participate and give the presentation of the $844.80. (This can be in the form of a check) but give statistics of the weight and number of the pennies.
* Have a pizza party or a snack pitch-in
* Share stories and fun things of all that was learned during this community effort 

Suggestions of reports to make note of:
* how long did the project take
* how many individuals helped collect, 
* how many individuals donated, 
* how much 84,480 weighs in pounds, 
* what was the most challenging way to collect, 
* what were people's reactions to participating, 
* share information about the chosen recipient and the project for which this money will be used
* add any other interesting findings 

Steer away from reporting who collected the most money. 

From the beginning of the project, stress that this is a project for the community - by the community. Working together for a goal is rewarding in so many different ways. Big projects take dedicated hardworking leaders. It is always a blessing to be on a team that works together for the same goal, encouraging everyone involved along the way. Working together and sharing talents and time to complete a good work will prove to bless EVERYONE. ALL are winners!

There are many good lessons to learn from this project that the participants will carry throughout their lives.

Copyright 2017 Emmalea Butler
The Lord's Locker

A Mile of Pennies Project 
Details written by: Emmalea Butler 
Trafalgar, IN 46181

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