ShareThis Page
News

Pennies add up in giant kettle in Westmoreland

| Sunday, June 10, 2012, 6:54 p.m.

Lt. Bryan DeMichael of the Greensburg Salvation Army sat in a doctor's office waiting room Wednesday afternoon in anticipation of getting his broken finger examined.

DeMichael hurt his finger while unloading pennies from the "World's Largest Red Kettle," which the organization used for fundraising in addition to its 2010 Red Kettle Campaign.

Even with the broken finger -- and torn fingernail -- DeMichael was in good spirits. His unit of the Salvation Army exceeded its fundraising goal by $11,000 this holiday season, raising about $76,000 through the Red Kettle Campaign.

The kettle -- measured at 8 feet and 2 inches tall -- held donations of an estimated $14,000 worth of pennies, which brought the fundraising total to $90,000.

"This was just a fantastic season," DeMichael said. "The support we received from the community was just phenomenal."

DeMichael said the original goal was to fill the large kettle with pennies, which would have raised about $54,000. The money from the large kettle will support the emergency services the organization provides to city and Hempfield residents.

The organization sent small kettles out to local businesses on Nov. 1, which returned about $1,700 toward filling the large kettle, DeMichael said. A trip to Wendover Middle School added $1,500, while most of the $14,000 was raised on Dec. 18 at the Westmoreland Mall.

Last year, the Greensburg unit raised $65,000, which was down from the $71,000 it raised in 2008, DeMichael said. He said the organization has seen an uptick in fundraising since DeMichael and his wife, Laura, took over in 2008.

"Prior to that, the (Greensburg Salvation Army) was raising $35,000 to $40,000 a year," DeMichael said, adding that he wasn't sure of the reason that donations have increased.

DeMichael said about 1.4 million pennies are now in several dozen five-gallon buckets and are being counted by employees at the First Commonwealth Bank. Each bucket weighs about 150 to 200 pounds, he said.

While he still gets the occasional donor walking through the door with bags full of pennies -- money he said the organization will never turn down -- he is fine with not filling the large kettle with the 5.4 million pennies it can hold -- this year.

"When we sat down and looked at it, it was our first year doing it. Considering the majority of (donations) basically came in one day, I'd say $14,000 is pretty cool," DeMichael said. "We thought about making it a one-year thing, but we may bring it back next year.

"It's a true blessing to live and to be in a community where people care."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me