Decommissioned pennies saved for the Ponoka Food Bank

Pennies are on the way out and some groups are taking advantage of this to create a greater awareness for their cause.

Sharlene Campbell of Servus Credit Union drops a penny into a box Jan. 31 for the Ponoka Food Bank as part of a campaign to raise awareness for the organization.

Sharlene Campbell of Servus Credit Union drops a penny into a box Jan. 31 for the Ponoka Food Bank as part of a campaign to raise awareness for the organization.

Pennies are on the way out and some groups are taking advantage of this to create a greater awareness for their cause.

The Edmonton Food Bank initially approached Servus Credit Union branches in the city to see if the bank would save pennies for the non-profit group, explained Dennis Jones, Ponoka Servus Credit Union branch manager. “It was such a hit it actually hit the national news.”

The company adopted the program and Ponoka’s branch is working with the Ponoka Food Bank for the same idea.

After Feb. 4 banks will no longer give pennies back to customers; for example if a client cashes a cheque for $100.03, the extra three cents can either be deposited into their account or they won’t receive the pennies. In the case someone does not want the pennies, Servus Credit Union employees will save them for the food bank.

Jones feels there might be some surprise to customers but he hopes the program will help with the food bank’s goals. Before Christmas the food bank is busy accepting food and money for their programs but their need is to feed people throughout the year, said Jones.

From Jan. 23 to March 4 the credit union will save those pennies for the food bank as it is still legal tender.

Other companies adopting the same idea

Tim Hortons is also saving pennies for its Children’s Foundation, which raises almost $1 million each year in pennies. The company is asking customers to donate the last of their pennies to the collection boxes found at Tim Hortons. The pennies will help send more people to camps over the summer.

The Tim Hortons Children’s Foundation sent more than 15,000 kids to camp last year.

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Activities announced pennies from customers will go to help kids across the country participate in organized sports. The goal of the association is to financially assist kids who want to become involved in sports but don’t have the funds. Every single penny donated stays in the community.

According to Canadian Tire, one in three Canadian families cannot afford to have their children in organized sports. Since 2005 the organization has 500,000 children become more involved.

Fair rounding

The Government of Canada gives rounding guidelines with regard to cash transactions. As an example if a person’s change is $1.01 or $1.02, or $1.06 or $1.07 vendors will round down to either zero or 5 cents. If the change is $1.03 or $1.04, or $1.08 or $1.09 companies will round up to the nearest 10 or 5 cents.