When you think about it, pennies are a real nuisance. They’re small and seemingly almost worthless, and despite putting them safely in your wallet or purse, they always seem to wind up blocking the filter on your washing machine, slipping down the sides of the cushions on your favourite armchair, or getting sucked up the vacuum cleaner.
Nevertheless, on one special day each year we can take the time to gather up those ever-wandering coins and finally do something more useful with them that we usually do by donating them to a charity of our choice. National Lost Penny Day is the perfect day to take a moment to recognize that despite the fact that pennies may not seem like they are worth much, they can still be found and used to help those in need to whom each and every penny counts and adds up.
History of National Lost Penny Day
The first penny ever was designed by Benjamin Franklin and minted in 1787. The penny we’re familiar with today, however, adorned with the bust of late American president Abraham Lincoln, was first minted in 1909 and released on February 12th to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth. The founder of National Lost Penny Day, Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith, wrote a log post about her idea, explaining that what she was trying to demonstrate was: “Petty change can make an astounding difference”, which is a positive message indeed, and one we can suspect Honest Abe himself would have supported. In fact, one of Lincoln’s most well-known quotes was, “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward”.
How to celebrate National Lost Penny Day
National Lost Penny Day is the perfect time to go through your home—your sofa, the pockets of old coats you haven’t worn in ages, and every other nook and cranny you can think of — in order to find as many pennies (or loose change altogether) as possible. If you have children, you could even turn the search into an elaborate game, a competition to see who can find the most coins laying about the home collecting dust. Once you’ve turned your home upside-down, it will be time to count up all of the change you and your children have found, and see who won.
The fun doesn’t there, though. The next step is to decide what to do with the money you’ve found, and this could be a chance to teach your children an important lesson or two about life. You could help the winner search for a charity that could use the money, and then write a check out to that charity for the amount you found—even if it is only a few dollars, make sure your children understand just how many hot bowls of soup that could buy for the homeless, or how much dog or cat food that could buy for the animals at the animal shelter.
Alternately, if you feel that your children are mature enough for it, you could go as far as taking them downtown to buy a cup of coffee and a sandwich for that homeless man or woman who always sits on the same bench. Whatever way you and your children choose to spend the money you’ve found, make sure that they understand just how much small gestures can mean to those in need. It is definitely a lesson they will never forget.