You often see cut up coffee cans, peanut butter jars or other containers nestled at the cash register of stores in Nanaimo.
They have our Pennies for Presents stickers with the stuffed stocking logo attached and invite customers to toss their change – the latest being Quality Foods in University Village.
The store is one of many drop-off points for donations to the News Bulletin’s annual Pennies for Presents campaign.
“We just feel it’s a good support system for the community,” said Randy Henson, store manager at Quality Foods University Village. “We have a lot of customers coming through our store and we wanted to get on board with another local charity.”
Through readers’ penny and coin donations, the News Bulletin collects, rolls and deposits the money at TD Canada Trust in Terminal Park mall and donates the money to three charities – the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, the Salvation Army and the Nanaimo Boys and Girls Club – to buy gifts for children at Christmas.
In addition to Quality Foods in Harewood, donations can also be dropped off at InPrint downtown, John’s Bedroom Barn, Northridge Fitness, Canadian Tire, Sink or Swim Scuba, La-Z-Boy, Royal LePage at Brooks Landing and Coast Realty downtown.
Many of the businesses have been part of the campaign since its inception in 1996.
Black Press, the News Bulletin’s parent company, sponsors advertising and staff resources to the campaign, which runs in most of our papers across Vancouver Island.
Quality Foods also participates in Hamperville, which is a partnership between the Salvation Army and the Loaves and Fishes community food bank to provide food for families at Christmas; they help load up the Big Boys Toys motorhome with food; and promote the buy a bag program, where people can donate to the food bank throughout the year.
The store also sponsors festive dinners for students and their families in Harewood schools, where staff also help serve the food.
“There’s lots of different ways we try to help,” Henson said.
Through community involvement, as well as day-to-day activity in the store, Henson said he sees an increasing need for charity services in Nanaimo this year, but heartening is the increase in support for less privileged people as well.
“There’s more demand but there’s more support, too,” Henson said.
Pennies for Presents accepts all monetary donations at community drop-off points listed above, as well as the News Bulletin office at 777 Poplar St.
For more information, please call 250-734-4627.