Sunday, August 19, 2012

Your Spare Change Feeds Hungry Families in Massachusetts Towns, Including PTown

This odd looking barrel is helping to feed Provincetown families as well as many others in a dozen Massachusetts towns. In the autumn of 2007 Plymouth resident Wendy Hindon came to two very stark realizations: that there were many people going to bed hungry in Massachusetts, and that the pennies that most of us find annoying to deal with could add up to provide meals for many hungry people. Wendy began a project to gather those annoying pennies and put them to good use, and American Pennies For Hunger was born. In their first year they raised $10,000 dollars to fight hunger in southeastern Massachusetts.
In this country, more than one person in six lives in a household where someone goes to bed hungry. According to the USDA, more than 16 million American Children face the prospect of hunger on a regular basis. On their website, the APFH quotes Mother Theresa, who said "Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you."
APFH is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization run entirely by volunteers. There is no paid staff, and all operating expenses are met with private donations, so virtually every penny raised goes to help feed people who need a little assistance to make ends meet. Last year they raised $12,000, making a total of over $40,000 raised and donated over the years to more than 20 emergency food providers such as local food banks, soup kitchens, warehouses and emergency pantries. Donations have gone to a dozen towns including Provincetown, Plymouth and Boston.
This coin collecting barrel is on the sidewalk in front of Womencrafts, near the corner of Pearl Street, at 376 Commercial. There are two coin slots at the top, so you can roll a coin down either chute and watch it roll many times around this big red cone, finally dropping into the barrel below. Roll a coin down each chute and one will roll clockwise while the other rolls counterclockwise around the cone at the same time. It may sound pretty hokey, but it's actually kinda fun to watch them rolling into the barrel. Release several coins at once and see what happens.
 Many people throw away pennies, but now you have a place to put them, and other coins, and you can help raise the next $40,000 to help the hungry, some of them right here in Provincetown, where the seasonal unemployment rate is more than five times the national average, and the poverty rate is 15.5%. So as you walk by this spot reach into your pocket and throw a handful of change into this contraption. You could also push some paper money or a check down the hole, or you could mail them a tax-deductible contribution. Visit the website for American Pennies For Hunger and find out more.

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