Despite a name change, raising money for charity is still the goal of the Nanaimo News Bulletin’s Coins for Kids campaign.
The campaign asks people to donate coins – toonies, loonies, quarters, dimes and nickels on top of pennies – which will then go to the Salvation Army, Great Nanaimo Toy Drive and Nanaimo Boys and Girls Club.
“It’s massively important because those [coins] last year just reverted into dollars that allowed us to purchase food for our emergency food hampers,” said Dawne Anderson, fundraising and promotions coordinator for Nanaimo’s Salvation Army.
Great Nanaimo Toy Drive director Carolyn Iles said while people donate cash to the toy campaign, it often comes in too close to the current year’s deadline and thus can’t be used until the year after. Many years it has been money from the coin campaign that has made the difference, she said.
“The Coins for Kids helps us make sure we have the right number of toys and without the Coins for Kids, we would not be able to do it because some of our donations come in at the very last minute and we need the money before to make sure we have the ability to have the toys on hand when the distribution happens,” Iles said.
The Boys and Girls Club also uses Coins for Kids money to ensure that people have a Merry Christmas. “A lot of our families are struggling and just not able to make ends meet,” said said Sarah Foster, director of operations for Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island. “We give them the money so they can have Christmas.”
Since the campaign began in 1996, the coin drive raised more than $160,000 in Nanaimo alone. Black Press newspapers across the Island organize coin drives in their respective communiies.
Last year the coin drive took in more than $8,100 in donations from the Nanaimo community. The goal this year is to surpass that.
Coin drop locations include the Nanaimo News Bulletin office (777 Poplar St.) InPrint, John’s Bedroom Barn, Northridge Fitness, Sink or Swim Scuba, La-Z-Boy, Royal LePage (Brooks Landing), Coast Realty (Downtown), ICBC Driver Licensing Centre on Metral Drive, Cline Medical Centre, or Quality Foods (University Village).
Coins can be dropped off until Dec. 19. For more information, please call 250-753-3707.