Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Donate your copper coins to kids' charity via RBC

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TOO lazy to roll up the pennies in that giant beer stein beside your bed?

Then why not put them to work for charity?

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The Royal Bank, the largest financial institution in Canada, is having a "loose penny drop-off" event at all of its branches across the country in support of Free the Children.

The request for Winnipeggers to drop their loose pennies off -- any amount in any container -- coincides with the Royal Canadian Mint's decision to stop providing pennies to businesses for change, effective today.

RBC and Free the Children are hoping to use the removal of the penny from circulation to boost the more than 70 million pennies that have been donated so far this academic year -- that's $700,000 -- or enough to provide 28,000 people with clean water for life.

As impressive as that sounds, it only meets a fraction of the charity's goal of providing a permanent source of clean water to 100,000 people.

Dave McKay, group head of personal and commercial banking at the Royal Bank, said it wanted to do something it had never done before to support the tremendous effort put forth by Canada's young people.

"We're encouraging Canadians to be creative with their pennies this week -- hold office penny drives, dip into coin jars and piggy banks, look under the couch -- and then drop by any RBC branch to contribute to this penny drive and we'll take care of the rest," he said.

Free The Children is an international charity and educational partner that has more than 1.7 million young people involved in its programs in 45 countries. Founded in 1995 by activist Craig Kielburger, it is the group behind We Day, a motivational roadshow for youth, which came to the MTS Centre in Winnipeg in October.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

2,100 schools

join fundraiser

More than 2,100 schools across Canada are participating in the We Create Change fundraising drive. Throughout the year, Canadian youth and educators -- as well as other individual donors, businesses and organizations -- have filled special Free The Children/RBC $25 penny bags.

Each full bag is enough to provide one person with clean water for life. Thus far, more than 28,000 bags have been dropped off at RBC branches.

The campaign will continue until the end of the school year. (The exact date is still to be determined.)

Heavier than 32 elephants

How much is 70 million pennies? The math is pretty straightforward -- it's $700,000.

That many pennies would outweigh 32 elephants and fill 15 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 4, 2013 A8

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