Every Penny Counts

By Brad Grammer, Case Manager/Resource Coordinator

Sometimes the needs of the world can seem so overwhelming. When Outreach shares an estimate of 29,000 youth being homeless in Indiana, there may be a feeling of ‘what can I do?’ Perhaps you feel overwhelmed by your own financial needs, your own bills and expenses each month. I understand that feeling. When my sons’ college expenses are in the tens of thousands, do I feel like I can possibly afford to give that much to others?

My hope is to encourage you that no matter how little you give, it can make a difference. The method of how I save is also very simple and easy. Even your children can participate in this simple practice.

Last year, I chose to save every penny, nickel and dime that I would find on the ground, in unexpected places. You know how you go through the course of a week and you’ll find a penny on the sidewalk while walking to work. I pick up each coin and collect it in a jar. At the end of last year, I emptied the jar, counted it out and gave it to Outreach. The grand total: $19.62.

That may not seem like much but consider a youth who needs a birth certificate because his family won’t aid him by helping out or there is no birth certificate that’s been saved. Birth certificates are sometimes needed to enter housing programs, employment programs or even education programs. Just yesterday I drove a young man to get his birth certificate so he can complete the process of getting a job. The birth certificate cost $15.00 and today this young man told me he is good to go for this weekend’s job. Fifteen dollars may not seem like much too many of us but to this young man, it changed his circumstances significantly.

When I made this commitment to save every coin I find, I believe God blessed me with ample opportunities to collect from the world. I took one youth to court one day and before he needed to be inside, he stood outside and had a quick cigarette. While we were talking, I noticed there was a dime just sitting on the windowsill of the building. Since when do you find a dime on the windowsill?! Walking my dog is a daily routine and one block away, at the local gas station, I found a ten dollar bill just lying on the ground. What a gift!

The opportunities abound to find loose change around the city and around the country. Consider making the same kind of commitment as I. Perhaps $19.62 may not change the world but it can make a huge difference in the life of a young man or woman who literally does not have a penny to spare. If one hundred of us saved money in this manner, there would be $1,962.00 that could be given to the homeless. I think most of us would agree that this would have a great impact on one life. My hope is that we all could make financial sacrifices to give to others in need but if we feel like we aren’t even in the position to give much at all, making this commitment of saving money you find can still be a significant contribution in helping us minister to the young men and women in our care.

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