Ian Thorpe

Ian Thorpe

Coins for Kids kicks into gear

NANAIMO – The Nanaimo News Bulletin fundraiser formerly known as Pennies for Presents is again collecting donations.

The Nanaimo News Bulletin fundraiser formerly known as Pennies for Presents is again set to kick into high gear, running until the week of Dec. 15.

Collection jars for the Coins for Kids drive have been available at businesses throughout the year, allowing people to donate toonies, loonies, pennies and other change to benefit needy children in Nanaimo at Christmas.

Last year, a total of $5,500 was collected and the target this year is to surpass that. The year-round collection has enabled the fundraiser to get a head start.

“We have containers in a number of places and what we’re looking for is more places that are willing to just have a container sit on the counter throughout the year, preferably high-volume kind of businesses … just by having these containers sitting on some of the high-volume stores, we picked up about $2,000 before the campaign even started,” said Pete MacDonald, veteran Coins for Kids volunteer.

Money collected will go to two local charities, The Boys and Girls Club of Central Vancouver Island and the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, and Ian Thorpe, another longtime coin drive volunteer, said there are many places to donate.

“We have containers at a number of local businesses,” said Thorpe. “One of the main ones is Quality Foods, they’ve been very supportive, and a number of smaller businesses in town. Some of the local schools are taking part and there’s also an opportunity for dropping off right at the News Bulletin office.”

The fundraiser began in 1996 and was re-christened in 2013 to account for the elimination of the penny.

MacDonald’s parents, Tom and Wig, have also helped out in the past, and he said he is trying to carry on that tradition.

“I’ve been retired for 10 years and I’ve just totally taken over what [my father] did in the last 10 years, but I helped him actually before that,” said MacDonald.

Donations can be dropped off at the News Bulletin, 777 Poplar St., from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Donations can also be made at our community drop-off locations, which includes InPrint, John’s Bedroom Barn, Northridge Fitness, La-Z-Boy, Royal LePage at Brooks Landing, Quality Foods at University Village and Cline Medical Centre.

For more information on the campaign, please call 250-753-3707.