Casey Mitchell

Casey Mitchell

Small change adds up to big donation

NANAIMO – Big Coins for Kids donations come from change tricking in throughout the year.

Small Coins for Kids donations collections throughout the year add up to a trickle down theory that actually works.

The News Bulletin’s annual Coins for Kids – formerly Pennies for Presents – campaign has had some long-time supporting businesses that generate some sizeable contributions presented to the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive and the Nanaimo Boys and Girls Club each year.

Grocery store chains, such as Quality Foods, rely on high traffic to keep coins clinking into checkout collection jars. Canadian Tire is another strong supporter, as is John’s Bedroom Barn, that never fail to help make certain the children of Nanaimo’s financially challenged families have something special under the tree come Christmas morning.

While bigger is arguably better when it comes to gathering donations, more than 20 small businesses and organizations quietly collect a steady trickle of change that flows into a sizeable stream of cash at the end of the coin drive.

Island Natural Market in north Nanaimo has been collecting coins at its checkout counters for well over a decade.

Casey Mitchell, store co-owner, guesses the store has been collecting for the cause for at least 12 years.

For Mitchell it’s a way of focusing on help needed at home instead of sending aid overseas.

“At lot of times people focus on things outside of their communities, like World Vision, which isn’t bad, but I think it’s nice to keep it in your community,” Mitchell said. “I think, with our kids in school, we’ve all seen families where the kids aren’t getting the same as other kids, so it’s nice for people to able to share that around.”

Jeff Ross operates three businesses in Nanaimo – including two The Gold and Silver Guy outlets and Your Neighbourhood Book Store at 621 Townsite Rd., which closed this year and will reopen as Leah’s Tea and Fashion Boutique – and has supported the fundraising drive since 2008. The new store will continue the Coins for Kids collection tradition.

“I know there are so many people in this world that are less fortunate than I am and it’s just a small way of giving back to the community,” Ross said. “We get positive feedback, but we’re in no way a high traffic area.”

Most businesses don’t keep track of amounts collected and often the only times store staff even notice a collection is ongoing is when Coins for Kids volunteers Ian Thorpe and Pete MacDonald stop by to collect the jars.

“People put money in it consistently,” said Lynette Burns, Lucky’s Liquor Store manager.

“We have a lot of traffic through our store and it’s a good opportunity for the public to support a local initiative in a very moderate and affordable manner. We get so many people through our store each day it’s the perfect place.”