When Stephanie Barker, a teenaged member of the Community Church of Francestown, N.H., read in the news that hunger and starvation threatened nearly 13 million people in southern Africa, she tried to imagine how many persons that was. Then she decided to try to raise 13 million pennies to represent those people and help meet their needs.
The whole town of Francestown and its neighboring communities responded to the big sign outside her house, the bucket at the Francestown Country Story and other penny-gathering efforts. An article in the New Hampshire Conference section of United Church News triggered an outpouring of pennies from First Congregational UCC in Concord and First Congregation UCC of Goffstown. And piles of pennies were dropped off at the Conference office.
Barker learned that it takes lots of pennies to make 13 million. So has the Bank of New Hampshire branch that graciously spent several hours processing the donated pennies.
Barker concluded her effort on Jan. 1, short of her goal. But she raised an amazing total of $1,680 or 168,000 pennies. She sent the funds to Church World Service.
Barker demonstrated that one person can make a difference. Here is an effort that has been a success in the best sense—or should that be cents.
The Rev. Melvin Burrowes, former interim pastor of the Community Church of Francestown, N.H., wrote this article for the New Hampshire Conference edition of United Church News.