Six years ago, Mary Hance, better known to Middle Tennesseans as Ms. Cheap, read a statistic: 46% of people walking down the street wouldn’t pick up a penny laying on the ground. Known far and wide through our area for her frugal tips and tricks, Ms. Cheap was appalled, and began to ponder what could be done with just a penny.
Just a penny is what started her partnership with The Second Harvest Food Bank and began The Ms. Cheap Penny Drive, now in it’s sixth year. Over the last five years, our community has collected $160,000 worth of pennies (and nickels, dimes, quarters, dollars, and checks) to feed our local hungry children, adults, and seniors. Nashville estimates show that one in every six people in our area regularly goes hungry and that one in four of those are children. A whopping one million people across our beautiful state are hungry.
Ms. Cheap’s challenge is simple: drop your loose change into one of her cans (or your own). Not only are there cans at various locations all around Nashville (including every checkout lane at all area Kroger stores!) but there are also cans available for you to pick up and take to your home, your office, church, or business. Drop by any Avenue Bank, Wilson Bank & Trust, The Tennessean office, or Second Harvest’s office at Metro Center. You can even donate online! Collect your loose change throughout the end of January, then turn your can back in. It’s that easy to make an impact!
In addition, Nissan has pledged to match all donations raised between now and Dec 14, and various branches of Wilson Bank & Trust have some games and contests going for Penny Drive participants.
So what can a penny do? When added to other pennies, it can make a HUGE dent in the number of hungry people across Middle Tennessee. The Second Harvest Food Bank can feed a family of FOUR for $1. How many dollars can be raised with spare change?
It’s no secret that Middle Tennessee has many, many people going to bed every night hungry. Let me reiterate the estimate: ONE IN SIX! That means someone in your church, a co-worker, a classmate of your child’s…chances are there are more people around you than you think that are struggling to put food on the table for themselves and their families. No one deserves to be hungry, and something as small as a penny can help! Your spare change CAN make a difference. Pick up your can today, and make a positive change in Middle Tennessee.
Ms. Cheap says it best: “The beauty of this Penny Drive is that doing something, giving something—even just a little bit—is infinitely better than doing nothing and giving nothing. This is the one time each year that I say to NOT stay cheap!”
For more information, including online donation, check out www.secondharvestmidtn.org/pennydrive