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The power of pennies, nickels and dimes

Staff Writer | December 9, 2020 1:00 AM

In just four days, $2,448.44 of pennies, nickels and dimes were rounded up by North Idaho STEM Charter Academy students determined to help families get back on their feet through Family Promise of North Idaho.

Each Fall, North Idaho STEM's National Honor Society students sponsor a Coins For a Cause drive to raise money. Over the last six years, the donations have aided nonprofits like the Humane Society and The Salvation Army. This year, the students chose Family Promise.

"They wanted something that their donation would have a long-term effect for people in need," said Deb Pence, North Idaho STEM's academic adviser for 7th through 12th-graders. "That's why they chose Family Promise because it would take families and get them to the point where they could secure permanent housing."

Even though the students are under the age of 18, Pence said it was apparent that they were conscious of COVID-19's impact on families. Family Promise of North Idaho is a nonprofit organization that assists adults with children in securing stable housing and personal health.

"I think because of all the information about how many families have been impacted by COVID, jobs, and businesses, the conversation was more in depth than usual," Pence said. "It was really clear in their decision making that they wanted to do something that would impact families."

Usually, the students only raise about $1,000, but they almost tripled that donation amount this year.

"Kids seem to be really aware that there is a lot of need right now," Pence said.

The donation couldn't have come at a better time, said, Stephanie Wood, Family Promise program director, as the nonprofit kicks off its annual fundraiser, Avenues for Hope.

"We are always so excited when the community reaches out to our organization and to the families that we serve," Wood said.