Lots of charities love pennies
There was a time when Sharon Bass was so sick of pennies
that she wouldn't pick up one that was on the ground.
Bass, a clerk in the traffic section of the St. Lucie
County, Fla., Clerk's Office, was on the job one day when a disgruntled
driver paid his traffic ticket.
The fellow had been nabbed for speeding and driving
with an expired tag. He was fined $1,050; a sum he called "ridiculous."
He decided to pay it with pennies -- 2,100 penny rolls, to be precise.
"We were all in shock," says Bass, who had
to double count the pennies. "I had never seen anyone pay their
fine with pennies."
Paying a fine is one way to get rid of pennies. But
there are better ways to put pennies, or any other coins you've
been tossing in the penny jar, to use.
Many charities depend heavily on spare change.
Mark Weller, of Americans for Common Cents, says pennies
may seem insignificant, but they add up.
"We did an accounting study with many corporations.
At 7-Eleven, they found that one-third of all the money they collected
in those little receptacles on the counter was pennies. They do
$3 million a year through the receptacles; that means $1 million
in pennies. A Salvation Army kettle drive took in $7,000 in pennies
in an eight-day drive."
There are thousands of penny drives throughout the
United States. Of course, they're more than happy to accept other
spare change, too. You won't need to sort or roll the coins; they're
more than happy to do that for you.
So, the next time you're wondering how to get rid
of all that loose change, spend a few minutes checking with local
schools, churches and charities and you'll find a way.
And it will probably make you feel a lot better than
dumping it on a clerk's desk to pay a traffic ticket.