Well, the federal government said it would do it and it has done it.
The penny, the backbone of our annual Pennies from Heaven campaign, is toast. The final pennies were minted in April and their distribution will stop in February.
Unfortunately, our local hungry, whom our campaign helps through the Christmas Cheer Board and Winnipeg Harvest, continue to grow in numbers.
That's why we need your help.
We know there are still millions of pennies out there. We just need you to look for those pennies and donate them our way.
We need the children, teens and adults in our community to know that, on its own, a penny is not worth much. But put them together with thousands of others and they can help the Cheer Board's Kai Madsen and his army of volunteers buy a Christmas dinner for a family. They can help give what may be a child's only toy this Christmas. They can offer hope for the hungry.
We also still need people to dig deep and look for other denominations of coins, folding money and cheques. We know the students in the Louis Riel School Division are onside in a big way: Their own pennies campaign annually raises about one-quarter of our total donations.
A recent study showed food bank use here went up 14.2 per cent this year from last. Many of those people and others will need the help of the Cheer Board during the festive season.
But, as has been said many times before, because hunger doesn't take a holiday, Winnipeg Harvest needs help, too. Currently, Harvest feeds almost 65,000 Manitobans per month.
As I told Harvest head David Northcott a few years ago -- and he has used the comparison since -- hunger is this province's second-largest community.
Pennies is officially an adult now. It was 18 campaigns ago that former editor Mike Ward realized donations to the Christmas Cheer Board were down, so he asked people to bring in their pennies. They did and an annual fundraising campaign was born. In later years, we began helping Harvest as well.
To start things off right, on Friday we had our Pennies launch at the Sage Creek branch of the RBC, one of our Pennies partners. We had Jared Funk, holding his three Paralympic medals in wheelchair rugby -- the most recent from the London Games -- helping our cause through the RBC's Olympian program. We had Bruce Gehlen, RBC's regional vice-president for Greater Winnipeg, speaking on why the RBC is thrilled to be part of the Pennies campaign once again.
And we also had a kid -- a very cute and wide-eyed two-year-old Connel McGavock -- he brought a big container full of pennies and poured them in. He had so much fun the first time that luckily another person came in with a bag full of pennies -- so he was able to do it again a couple more times.
I -- along with the rest of my angel team, daughters Sarah and Mary -- hope you want to have that fun, too. We'll have even more fun during our annual draw, which we'll tell you about soon.
But for now, please donate generously.
Where to donate
THERE are giant collection bins inside all of our city's Walmart stores. Look for the bin featuring a winged me with my two daughters.
All RBC branches in the city have our collection bins.
Our giant penny is once again on the second floor of Portage Place facing Edmonton Court.
There is a bin at the Winnipeg Free Press at 1355 Mountain Ave.
Cheques can be sent to Pennies from Heaven, c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Tax receipts will be issued.