Log in Subscribe

Making Cents

Hudson Cooper - Columnist
Posted 3/4/21

Ben Franklin was one of our most well-known founding fathers. Known throughout the colonies and eventually in Europe he was a scientist, writer, statesman, inventor and politician.

Although not a …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Making Cents

Posted

Ben Franklin was one of our most well-known founding fathers. Known throughout the colonies and eventually in Europe he was a scientist, writer, statesman, inventor and politician.

Although not a banker he is credited to having “coined” the phrase “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Now although my readers did not “ask for my two cents” I have a suggestion of what we all can do with our loose change. I have an easy philanthropic way to feed the hungry in Sullivan County.

Last week, tired of watching hours of television on Netflix and going on Facebook to see pictures of what my friends had for dinner or videos of their pets, I opened my cigar box that holds my loose change.

Finding my collection of cylindrical coin holders, I spent over 2 hours rolling up my pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. The coins were collectively acquired whenever I made a purchase at the myriad of stores, supermarkets and restaurants in our county.

I took the now full coin holders and lined them up in the cigar box to wait for the day I go into a bank instead of using the drive-thru teller. Years ago, we would leave the house with some pocket change to add to our folding money purchases. But today, with the use of debit or credit cards, the necessity of loose change has diminished.

Instead of holding on to those nickels and dimes I suggest we come up with a way to easily amass enough money so nobody in our county ever goes hungry. Here is my concept.

Occasionally supermarkets and stores present an opportunity to allow customers at checkout to add a dollar to the bill. That money is designated for a charity such as the heart fund or cancer research. We keep that in place for those worthy causes.

My suggestion is year-round. At checkout, the cashiers at all our businesses could ask if the customer would like to round up their total to the nearest dollar. So, if your total at the supermarket or gas station came to say $37.56 and you agreed to the round up, you would be contributing 44 cents to the local food banks.

Regardless of the round up amount, imagine the total of all the contributions that would benefit the hungry. The cumulative result would mean that no child or adult in our county would ever go to bed hungry. And for tax reasons, your checkout receipt would reflect how much money you gave to charity with each purchase.

It is also surprising what happens to the coin change we currently get at checkout. Most of us stuff it in our pockets until we get home. During the pandemic when many of us frequent the drive thru at fast food restaurants the loose change we get often winds up in the car's cup holders or glove boxes.

But for most of us, the change never gets recycled. In fact, a recent study showed that Americans lose over $5,000 in change during their lifetime. Considering that there are over 331 million of us, that is a lot of unaccounted for nickels, dimes and quarters.

Nowadays Sullivan County is traditionally one of the most economically challenged areas of New York State. Years ago, you could not drive a mile in any direction without passing a flourishing bungalow colony or one of the hundreds of hotels. I remember when you had to get a parking spot behind the buildings on Broadway in Monticello because of the crowds out front.

We were known worldwide for our year-round resort hospitality. Imagine the publicity we would get if we were known as the year-round “Round Up” county. Our efforts to donate some of the change at checkout would put us on the map again!

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here