You used to be able to buy stuff with just one penny?
As hard as that is for the grades 7 and 8 students at Holy Cross School to grasp, they know if they collect 2,500 of the moribund copper coins, wonderful things will happen.
"That will give one person clean water," student Nicole Drouin explained. "It's called We Create Change."
Collecting pennies throughout November will be the major We Day project this year for the students at the Catholic school in north St. Boniface.
The 19 students involved at Holy Cross will be among 18,000 students from more than 380 schools attending We Day at the MTS Centre on Oct. 30.
"We call it the We Day Team at our school," explained student Ronald Zacharias, a veteran member who last year learned "We can do little things to help the world."
Angelique Pangilinan can't sit idly by, given the daily realities in other parts of the world: "Some people walk, like, two miles to get a bucket of water, and the water is dirty, and then they get sick," she said.
So what's a penny worth?
"Not much," said Bryner Danan.
At least not individually.
But a bunch of pennies, a whole lot of pennies?
"I have lots," Bryner said. "I have two (two-litre) Coke bottles, big ones, full of pennies.
"Loose change is cool."
The kids won't be going door-to-door to collect pennies, but they will ask everyone in the school, nearby residents, friends, family and parishioners at the church next door to bring pennies to the school next month.
"We had the idea of taking water jugs from the supermarket and putting them by our house banners," Ronald said.
How many pennies will it take to fill a 20-litres jug?
They hope to find out.
And who's going to lift those ginormous jugs of pennies, then roll them and take them to the bank?
The first item is still unclear, but the kids will do the rolling and teacher Cheryl Munro will transport them to the bank in slightly more manageable bundles of penny rolls.
Like most We Day participants, the Holy Cross children carry out several projects through the school year.
Austin Mattes recalled the success of a pancake breakfast last Christmas that will be repeated this year.
"We raised over $500, and we donated it to the Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg," he said.
Mary Masangkay said she was most inspired by Winnipeg's Hannah Taylor, whose Ladybug Foundation helps the homeless -- a project Taylor started at the age of eight.
"She talked about no matter how old you are, you can make a difference," Mary said.