Ian Thorpe, city councillor and former teacher, and his longtime friend Pete MacDonald, also a retired teacher, share an addiction for coin collecting.
While the coins they collect aren’t worth more than their face value, to Thorpe and MacDonald they’re worth their weight in gold because of the causes they support.
The News Bulletin’s annual Coins for Kids campaign, formerly known as Pennies for Presents, raises donations for the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive and the Nanaimo Boys and Girls Club programs supporting children at Christmas.
Throughout the year, Thorpe and MacDonald work the city, drumming up and collecting coins from participating business and organizations.
Thorpe says he keeps coming back year after year because he believes in the causes the coin drive supports.
Other people think so, too. Thorpe and MacDonald just recently deposited $1,300 in donations in the Coins for Kids account and collections for the drive are just getting into full swing for the holiday season. In 2014, donations totalled more than $5,500 and to date people in Nanaimo have contributed more than $165,000 to Coins for Kids and Pennies for Presents.
“More than once we’ve had people just standing nearby when we’ve been collecting coins or depositing the coins at the bank and they’ll say, ‘Oh, what’s this in aid of?’” Thorpe said. “When we tell them they’re so impressed and they’re more than happy to contribute. They think it’s such a worthwhile charity or cause to go to.”
MacDonald, who has even survived a serious vehicle crash while delivering coins, echoes Thorpe’s reasons to support the drive.
“There are kids in Nanaimo who would not have any Christmas present, period, if it wasn’t for what we’re doing… For instance, the Boys and Girls Club, some of it goes for food, like turkey dinners for some [children] who would not have anything at Christmas and they’re the ones who are heroes, not us. We’re just the gofers.”
Donations can be dropped off at the News Bulletin.