Chilliwack students create change with pennies

Promontory elementary teacher Richard Krahn, along with (from left) Hannah Rachey, Mackenzie Lenz, Mia Wieler, Kalie Holford and Kira Atleo all took part in the school
Promontory elementary teacher Richard Krahn, along with (from left) Hannah Rachey, Mackenzie Lenz, Mia Wieler, Kalie Holford and Kira Atleo all took part in the school's penny drive during the month of November.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

When teacher Richard Krahn and a group of students came back from We Day in Vancouver on Oct. 18 they wanted to help change the lives of other people.

And when they found out that $25 can change one person's life forever, they wanted to start raising money.

We Create Change is a campaign organized by international charity Free The Children where kids collect pennies to provide clean water for people living mainly in Africa and China. The money goes toward building wells, and a donation of $25 gives one person water for the rest of his or her life.

Krahn, along with fellow Promontory Heights elementary teachers Jody Holford and Lisa vanDalfsen, organized the school-wide event. For three weeks in November, each class collected thousands of pennies. The students asked their friends and families for donations, picked up dropped pennies off the ground and around their homes, and raided their siblings' piggy banks.

The work paid off.

Last week the school had collected 25 four-litre milks jugs full of pennies. That's about 750 pounds of one-cent pieces. Approximately 132,000 copper coins. An impressive $1,320.

By taking part in the We Create Change campaign, the school will have helped provide clean water for around 53 people. They will get to choose which country their donation goes towards.

But this is not the first time that Promontory Heights has helped others in need.

"We try to help local, global, and national people," says Krahn.

Since the start of September, they have already raised $900 for the Chilliwack Salvation Army by selling Entertainment Coupon Books. And during the month of December, they'll be doing a food and coat drive for the Sally Ann, as well as providing Christmas for three local families in need.

"You have to be proactive. People often don't want their needs to be known, so we have to actively search them out," says Krahn.

Now that the students have gathered all the pennies together, they will be brought to the Royal Bank where the coins will be weighed and then donated to the campaign.

Those wanting to take part in We Create Change themselves, both groups and individuals, can donate their pennies to the campaign at any Royal Bank branch.

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