Kyla Devito pours out pennies and other coins that she has been saving since last Christmas for the Alberni Valley News’ Pennies for Presents campaign.

Direct your pennies to a good cause

The Alberni Valley News 'Pennies for Presents' campaign has kicked off and the News needs your help to make it successful.

Last November, six-year-old Kyla Devito brought a jar full of pennies into the Alberni Valley News office for our Pennies for Presents campaign. It was a new campaign for us, and Kyla wanted to support it because the money we collect goes toward helping children in our community.

Well, Kyla went home that same day and immediately recruited half a dozen family members to begin collecting pennies and other coins for our 2012 campaign. The jar she is emptying in our front page photo is only part of her effort. We can’t wait to see what she brings in to us.

At Christmastime every year, Vancouver Island-based papers in the Black Press newspaper chain promote the charitable Pennies for Presents campaign. Each newspaper chooses an organization to benefit from this fundraising, and for the second year in a row we are supporting Port Alberni Toy Run.

The Pennies for Presents campaign was the brainchild of the late Frank Legh, a classified advertising consultant with Black Press. In 1996, Legh launched Pennies for Presents with the simple goal that no child should be left empty-handed on Christmas morning.

In the 16 years since, the Pennies for Presents campaign has raised close to $700,000 in pennies, nickels, dimes and other change for various Island charities.

We kicked off our campaign last year with a modest goal of raising $1,000, and we managed to beat it by more than $200. This year we would like to beat our total. We’re asking community members to donate their spare change—we’ll take every denomination—over the next five weeks to help provide children with happy memories on Christmas morning.

“The people of the Valley were so generous and we know the money went to good use right here at home,” News publisher Teresa Bird said.

“It is a privilege to work with the people from the Toy Run, who do so much for children in the community.”

Coins can be dropped off at the Alberni Valley News office, 4656 Margaret St., beside Big Pig Subs. You don’t have to roll them, we’ll take care of that for you.

For more information on Pennies for Presents, or for those wishing to become a drop-off location, please call publisher Teresa Bird or editor Susie Quinn at 250-723-6399 or e-mail us at publisher@albernivalleynews.com or editor@albernivalleynews.com.

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