If the generosity of students from all 40 schools in the Louis Riel School Division is an indication, then the next generation of philanthropy is in good hands.
Students in the southeast area of the city completed their LRSD for Pennies campaign with a bang, delivering tons of coins in boxes, bottles, bags and pails to the division's administrative offices on Monday.
From there, a panel truck -- riding low because of all the weight -- drove across the city to the North Pole.
Well, actually Christmas Cheer Board headquarters, but at this time of year it's hard to tell the difference with all of the volunteer "elves" there rolling coins, packing hampers and delivering donations.
The donations from the LRSD are essential if our own Pennies from Heaven campaign is to be a success: about one-quarter of our campaign comes from the students. We won't know for sure how much was collected until some weeks down the road after it is all rolled and counted.
Put another way, there would be a lot of hungry people both the Cheer Board and Winnipeg Harvest wouldn't be able to get to if these students didn't have a few weeks set aside each year to amass coins and other donations.
But it's also a fun campaign wrap-up with administration staff singing carols -- led by superintendent Terry Borys -- as the students and teachers showed up with the coins, before getting a quick snack.
Mercedes Desrochers, 10, came with a group of students and teachers holding her speech-generating device.
"I am here to drop off pennies from General Vanier School," the machine said after Desrochers pressed the correct button on the device.
Lisa McLellan-Bowes, a student services teacher, said Desrochers had fun going into classes throughout the school using her device to ask for pennies.
"She had an awesome time," McLellan-Bowes said.
"We have weighed the coins and there were 67 pounds."
Not far behind Desrochers, and dressed as a large bee, Colin Prenovault of École Van Belleghem showed up with other students and teachers carrying boxes of coins.
"They were very heavy," Prenovault said. "I felt proud to bring them."
Ricky Persaud, a Grade 8 student at Highbury School, was dressed with both angel wings and a halo and had a poster of a penny.
"The whole school had a competition to see who could get the most pennies," Persaud said. "I think our class got more than the whole school -- we got 60,000 pennies."
Thanks to these generous people:
Marilyn and Edwin McMullan
Elizabeth and Leonard Denyer
Etienne and Simone Parent-Aubry
In memory of Jack Herd
Metro and Anne Mandryk
Carol and Kelly Blatz
PCO Chapter L
M.D. and M. Fortier
MEANWHILE -- and this is a big meanwhile -- do not trust Canada Post to get your ballot to us in time for the draw on Friday at noon.
If you want to make sure you have a chance to get a guitar autographed by Doc Walker or a more than $500 amethyst and diamond ring donated to our campaign by Ben Moss Jewellers, you will have to come to the Winnipeg Free Press building at 1355 Mountain Ave.
Where to take donations for Pennies from Heaven?
There are large collection bins inside each of the city's Walmart stores. Look for the bin with the photo of myself and Doc Walker near the front entrance (hint: I'm the one with the wings.)
All RBC branches in the city have our collection bins.
Our giant penny can once again be found on the second floor of Portage Place across from Customer Service.
The Free Press News Café at 237 McDermot Ave. is a new drop off spot this year. You can grab a coffee or sandwich while there.
The 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.