Frazier Elementary’s Penny Drive against Poverty

Frazier Elementary School showed that a penny may be small, but pennies – plural – can be powerful … and heavy.

From March to May of this year, students in Frazier’s ACES (Afterschool Care Enrichment Services) program enthusiastically collected coins as part of a penny drive for the homeless. Each student made a personal bank out of a water bottle and filled it with pennies. Eagerly competing to best their best buds, some kids brought in more than one water bottle full of coins – and one girl brought in seven or eight bottles.

They looked under couch cushions, peered between car seats – and looked in every other nook and cranny they could find. The result? 18,250 pennies.

“The pennies were extremely heavy,” said LaPhelia Wiggins, Frazier Elementary’s ACES coordinator.  “We had to break them up into two bins and roll them in a cart to the bank to pour in the machine to count them.”

Wiggins said lifting the pennies in and out of the car was the hardest part.

“We thought about taking them along the way as we collected them,” she said, “but then we wouldn’t have enjoyed seeing them all together in the bottles and piles!”

Greensboro Urban Ministry Director of Special Events Cheryl Ledford met with Wiggins, Frazier Elementary Principal Nicole Hill-Avery and ACES group leaders Hayley Crowe and Tycorrie Smith to accept – in cash – the $182.50 collected during the drive.

Students were already out for summer break when the exchange took place, but the ACES students had their own celebration before school let out.

“They were extremely proud that they could do something to help others!” said Wiggins.

Next year, the whole school will take part in the penny drive.