Pennies stack up for the hungry

November 07, 1997


Staff Writer

Ever wonder how many pennies, lined up side by side, it would take to make a mile?

It's 85,000, just ask the United Methodist Men of John Wesley United Methodist Church in Hagerstown.

The pennies are being collected, along with other forms of currency, for Pennies For Potatoes, a project first started by the Society of Saint Andrew and joined by the UM men nationwide in 1983.

"As of Nov. 4, we have collected $1,001.89 and money is still coming in," said Michael Easterday, secretary of the John Wesley UM men.


Part of that was $14.61 brought in by the kindergarten Sunday school class. "It was in a 13-ounce coffee can," Easterday said.

All of the money will be presented to Ken Bradford of the Society of Saint Andrew at the 9:30 and 11 a.m. services on Nov. 16, according to Clyde Tate, John Wesley UM men president.

Bradford will present two certificates at those services - one for church and the UM men and one for those kindergarten kids who filled the coffee can, Tate said.

Money has come in not only from congregation members and all the Sunday school classes but from people all up and down the East Coast, Easterday said.

"We told people we know, from New Jersey, Ohio, West Virginia and four other states about the project and they sent money," he said.

All of the money stays in the continental U.S. Checks may be made payable to John Wesley United Methodist Church with a notation of Pennies for Potatoes.

Started by several pastors in Virginia, Pennies for Potatoes was an alternative to farmers plowing potatoes under in their fields. Instead, those potatoes are now given to the hungry.

"This effort is actually part of a restart for us. We were renewed last December at John Wesley," Tate said.

Nearly 9,000 UM men groups are being challenged in the Pennies for Potatoes project in the continental U.S., Tate said.

The UM men at John Wesley got interested in the Pennies for Potatoes after hearing the disturbing news that 32 million people go to bed hungry every night.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the project can contact John Wesley United Methodist Church on North Potomac Street at 301-733-0391.

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