Melissa Fryer

Coin drive improves over last year

NANAIMO – Coins for Kids taps year-round support to top up tally.

Once volunteers finish picking up donations, the 18th annual Coins for Kids campaign will wrap up for another season.

The News Bulletin fundraiser, supporting Nanaimo Boys and Girls Club and the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, started as the Pennies for Presents campaign in 1996.

With the penny’s demise, the campaign name changed from Pennies for Presents to Coins for Kids, but the idea remains the same – collect enough spare change to make sure no child goes without presents at Christmas.

To date the campaign has raised more than $160,000 and the money stays in the area where it’s used to buy presents, but also coats, mittens and even food for kids from underprivileged homes who attend Nanaimo’s Boys and Girls Club locations.

The total from this year’s campaign, which ran from Nov. 18 to Dec. 16, will top $5,500.

The bad news is donations declined after the penny was eliminated as part of Canadian currency and fewer pennies, which really added up, circulated in the economy.

The good news is this season’s total is a substantial increase over the 2013 campaign, which brought in $4,135.

Pete MacDonald, a long-time Coins for Kids volunteer and supporter always looking for ways to bring in more cash, said he hopes to drive donations by having more donation jars at cash counters to collect throughout the year.

InPrint, Cline Medical Centre, John’s Bedroom Barn, Royal LePage at Brooks Landing, Northridge Fitness Centre, Canadian Tire, Quality Foods at University Village, North Ridge Village and Northfield Road, La-Z-Boy, Harris Mazda, Lakeside Village, MGM Restaurant, Island Natural Markets, Lucky’s Liquor Store, Northgate Liquor Store, and University Village Liquor Store are among businesses that already collect coins through the year.

“The demise of the penny really hurt us and we’re looking for more businesses to collect year ’round,” MacDonald said. “What would really help is if people knew they could do that.”

Coins for Kids collection jars are available through the News Bulletin.

To obtain a collection jar, please call the News Bulletin at 250-753-3707.

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