Pennies for Change

If you love local non-profits as much as we do, then you’ll love this.

The Co-op has reorganized the Community Partner program so we can give back even more to our community. Woohoo! Actually, you’re the one giving back. We’re just making it easy. We call it Pennies for Change.

Our Community Partner program is more than 20 years old and one of the most beloved programs we have. The approach is simple: designate a local non-profit each month as a Community Partner, then place coin boxes at the registers so shoppers can donate their spare change.

Great idea, but times have changed. Few shoppers pay with cash anymore. Even fewer carry coins. (Remember coins? They jingle in your pocket, much like the way credit cards don’t.) 

Donations to our Community Partners have dwindled, and the program needed an overhaul. Often we’ve been lucky to collect $100 for local non-profits that need all the help they can get. 

Through Pennies for Change, you can round up your bill to the next full dollar and we’ll donate the difference. 

Each year, we’ll designate three Food Access Partners that align with the Cooperative Principles and our Cooperative Ends Statements. Food Access Partners will remain the same throughout the year and each will receive 20 percent of what we collect.

We’ll donate the remaining 40 percent to two Community Partners, split 30 and 10 percent, respectively. The Community Partners will change each month, allowing us to cooperatively donate to more Upper Valley non-profit groups each year.

Because Listen, the Haven, and Willing Hands closely align with our Principles and Ends Statements, we’ve chosen them as our Food Access Partners for 2016. 

The Co-op launched Pennies for Change this week. We hope to reach our goal of collecting $10,000 per month by December. 

Want to catch the infectious spirit of Pennies for Change? Talk to Emily Rogers.

Emily is a plucky, powerhouse organizer who works in the Co-op Outreach Department. She’s coordinated the Community Partner program for years, and she helped spearhead Pennies for Change.

On Monday morning, Emily and store staff worked together to roll out Pennies for Change in our White River Junction store. I caught up with her not long after she returned to her desk. 

“We raised ten dollars the first hour!” Emily said. “Shoppers loved it. It’s a big hit already.”

By the end of the first day, Pennies for Change collected more than $125, all from just from one Co-op store. That means that in just one day, and in just one store, Pennies for Change surpassed a typical month’s worth of donations collected from all our stores combined using the previous model. 

Sound awesome? It is! To review, we’ve prepared this handy primer:

Pennies for Change: How It Works
  1. You checkout at the register.
  2. You give the ok to round up your bill to the next dollar.
  3. We give your change to awesome local non-profits.
  4. You say, “Dude! Coolest thing EVER!”
  5. You walk out filled with happiness and joy. 
Talk to Us, People!

Pennies for Change will roll out in all stores soon. Questions about the program? Feedback? We’d love to hear from you! Email comment at coopfoodstore dot com.

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Ken Davis

Ken Davis

Ken is a writer in the Co-op Outreach Department. Email him at kdavis@coopfoodstore.com.