The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'Pennies from heaven'

Youth challenge their congregation to help a local charity

Fifth- and sixth-graders at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., discovered their fundraising project made a lot of sense—and cents.

Youth at Mount Olive Lutheran, Lake
Youth at Mount Olive Lutheran, Lake Havasu City, Ariz. (above), begin to line up pennies on the walkwaybehind their church. With 40,000 pennies (below), the Sunday school students were able to reach their goal—the top of the hill—to help a local agency serve families with newborns.

Many people have pennies that end up in drawers, pockets, purses, jars, etc. Was there a way to use those pennies?

The Sunday school students had a plan: The Penny Challenge.

The youth challenged parishioners to help collect enough pennies to climb the hill behind Mount Olive’s building. They wanted the rolls of pennies to reach the three crosses at the top of the hill.

Parishioners stepped up to the challenge, and it was “like pennies from heaven,” said Kathie Hanacik, minister of administration. One Sunday the youth made a path from the church to the top of the hill with more than 40,000 pennies.

The funds were given to the Interagency Council of Lake Havasu, a social service provider. The pennies will help support Healthy Families of Arizona, a home-visitation program that serves families during pregnancy and after the birth of the baby. This program has been the students’ mission focus since the start of the Sunday school year.

“The power of the penny in this challenge proved to be glorious as it brought to focus the realization of how united we become when we are working toward the same goal and how God showers us with blessing when we do his will,” Hanacik wrote to The Lutheran.


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