In January, Teresa Saucier (twitter/texaslovesya) mobilized other Jimmy Wayne fans and started the Loose Change project. Teresa came up with the idea of collecting and donating Loose Change while thinking about what she could do to help. Unable to make a significant financial donation, Teresa realized that many, many others were in the same situation. She was determined to find a way she, and all Jimmy Wayne fans, could help. As she was thinking, she remembered a photograph that Jimmy tweeted this summer while on the American Saturday Night tour. In the photo, Jimmy was holding his "treasures" which included loose change with the message “I’m parking lot treasure hunting.”
As Teresa says,
Remembering the picture, I realized that EVERYONE has loose change somewhere, whether on your floorboard, at the bottom of purses, in the washing machine, left over from purchases, etc. What if people donated their loose change? I was looking down while deep in thought and there it was -- a penny, then two more. I knew that I should do this!
Teresa connected with the Nixa online radio stationand they were excited to assist with the project. She decided to designate HomeBase Youth Services in Phoenix as the recipient of her Loose Change. She and Nixa began working together to promote the Loose Change campaign and to encourage others to donate. Nixa added a Loose Change page to their web site that is linked directly to HomeBase. HomeBase – realizing that they would be receiving Loose Change – added a pull down tab on their donation page. This partnership makes it easy for folks to donate their Loose Change.
To launch the Loose Change campaign, Nixacountry.com invited Rachel from HomBase to join them on air to talk about the project. As Teresa says,
The importance of Loose Change REALLY hit me when Rachel from HomeBase said that $1 is enough to feed one meal to one homeless youth. And some youth may only get that one meal for the day! I was inspired to keep collecting my Loose Change and committed to getting others to start collecting theirs.
The beauty of Loose Change is that anyone can participate – no donation is too small. If you think it may not be worth the effort to go online and donate just $5 or to mail a check for just $5, remember $5 is a meal for 5 children. Jimmy has over 11,000 followers on Twitter – imagine what would happen if half of us donated our Loose Change!! Wow – that’s a lot of meals for a lot of young people.
Teresa suggests that we get children involved in the Loose Change project. We can use it as an opportunity to teach children about homelessness. It is a great way for children to see that they can make a difference. She convinced me. I have talked with my two boys – age 5 and 10 - and they have decided to have a Loose Change fundraiser at the local roller skating rink. All their friends will be invited and the invitation to the party will be sent with a Ziploc baggie. The “price” of admission will be a Ziploc baggie filled with Loose Change. They are excited about their project! I’ll let you know how it goes.
Get Creative! Team up with friends to make collecting Loose Change easier and more fun. Collect your change together. Put a contribution bowl in a visible place and give a small prize to the one who guesses the amount of change in the bowl at the end of the week. Or, bake cookies for the person that collects the most change. Take turns taking counting the change and sending it in. A little time spent will mean a difference for a child who is hungry.
There are many ways to get involved in Project Meet Me Halfway – Loose Change is an excellent example. Let me know what you are doing in your community to create awareness and raise funds for organizations that serve homeless teens and those teens aging out of foster care.
Of course, I gotta end with some Jimmy Wayne pics.