The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 25, 2012

Kentucky church cashes in a million coins


CNHI News Service

ASHLAND, Ky. — It started with a sermon about the value of a penny, and ended this week when three tons of them were delivered to a bank.

The Rev. Jim Varney, with the help of the Grayson Freewell Baptist Church and others, delivered one million pennies to a local bank.

The two-year effort netted $10,000 and a valuable lesson about the power of perseverance. Varney said the message of his sermon was that things like pennies might seem worthless and insignificant when there’s only a few of them, but they can add up to a lot.

The fact the goal was reached was all the more rewarding because about six months into the project, the church was burglarized and the approximately $500 in pennies that had collected were stolen.

The burglars were caught and order to make restitution, but not in pennies.

Cashing in that much change presented a logistical problem. A bank agreed to take the coins but asked that they be taken to various branches for counting. Transporting the many, many sacks of money also required the teamwork of a small army.

A bank spokesman said the money would be stored in a vault and then sent to the Federal Reserve.

Varney said the $10,000 would be deposited in the building fund and used to refurbish the steeple of the church, which was built in 1976.

Varney said Grayson Freewill Baptist would next try to amass 10,000 $1 bills, a task he doesn’t think will be as difficult as working with pennies. “Dollars are a lot easier to handle than pennies,” he said.

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Details for this story were provided by The Independent in Ashland, Ky.