Oswego High School Student Sets Out To Collect One Million Pennies For Pantries

When Christie Hoefer found out that 14 pennies can buy a pound of food at the Food Bank, Pennies for Pantries was born—a campaign to collect one million pennies.

Christie and her mom, Helen Hoefer, were cleaning out their car one day last spring and found some extra change. “We found about 100 pennies that day,” said her mom, Helen Hoefer, the emergency service worker at Catholic Charities in Fulton’s food pantry. At first, Christie was annoyed at the pennies and then her mother told her what that could buy.

“And Christie said, ‘Why don’t we collect one million pennies?’” Helen recalled. In July, Christie launched Pennies for Pantries. To date, she has raised over $1,000—but has a way to go to reach her $10,000 mark.

Assemblyman Will Barclay recently met with Christie to congratulate her on her efforts and presented her with a New York State Assembly citation.

“This is a fantastic idea. When you think about pennies turning into a meal for four, the change under your furniture or in a jar turns into something more much meaningful,” said Barclay. “I’m pleased to present a citation to Christie for her Pennies for Pantries. It’s also great to see a young person stepping up at an early age to serve her community in a meaningful way,” added Barclay.

Christie, a 17-year-old senior at Oswego High School, already has donated some of the pennies to Catholic Charities and Helen says it has helped a lot. Through the Food Bank, Helen can shop for groceries at a steep discount. They work with donors, and the Department of Agriculture. The listed price of food is far different than it is at the grocery store. They also work with local grocery stores, which donate perishable foods that are reaching expiration for freshness; this way, they are able to provide fresh produce that way for their consumers.

Pennies for Pantries will continue for a year and if her daughter cannot continue it because of her academic pursuits, Helen will be looking for someone else who can.