West Windsor, N.J. – Who knew pennies could be such a goldmine? “Penny Wars,” a student fund-raising project organized by Student Activities at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) during the month of March, proved a success by every measure.
In just four weeks, students collected 110,000 pennies -- that's $1,100, folks! -- to be donated to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which funds cutting edge research and provides support to children with cancer and their families.
Says Nicole McIntire, events coordinator in the Student Activities office, “The students have donated to Alex’s Lemonade Stand in the past, but this year we decided to broaden it out to get more people involved.” Fifteen student clubs, along with many individuals, donated to the cause.
“Students stopped by our office to pick up their jar and start collecting pennies, and it really took off. There’s a novelty in that and everyone has pennies lying around,” McIntire said. She adds that the total collected way surpassed the expectations of the Student Activities staff.
McIntire notes that it’s important to provide students with opportunities to give back. “Our students are so busy. A lot of them want to help but they don’t always know how. This project made community service available to them,” she said.
Students who led the effort attended a pizza party on April 8 to celebrate the weighty results – some 660 lbs. of pennies in total. A special treat was delivered by Lissette Rivera, who studied at Mercer in the late 1990s and now owns a gourmet baking business “Sweet Cakes by Lissette” in addition to a full-time job in corporate legal services. The yummy chocolate and vanilla cupcakes were decorated with tiny lemons made out of sugar and topped with Alex’s Lemonade Stand flags that Rivera designed on the computer, who says she was happy to add the festive dessert to an all-round, feel-good student project.