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These kids put in far more than their 2 cents worth

MARTIN, Tenn. (BP)–For a number of years the U.S. Treasury has reported a shortage of pennies due to so many people hoarding them.

Recently, however, 249 children and workers who participated in Vacation Bible School at First Baptist Church, Martin, Tenn., helped put their share of pennies back into circulation.

During their June 5-9 VBS, the children responded to a challenge from Ken Bush, minister of education and administration, to bring in at least 20,000 pennies as their offering for missions and other ministries supported through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ unified giving plan.

“Since our VBS this year had the ‘Ocean Odyssey’ theme, we called our offering emphasis ‘Diving for Pennies,’ ” Bush said. “Our best offering ever during VBS had been about $150, so we thought 20,000 pennies or $200 was a pretty challenging figure.”

But the response was more than anyone anticipated. By the second day the children had already brought in more than 20,000 pennies, and it was then the children became really excited, Bush noted.

“Each day we took the offering during our worship rally and the children who served as ushers really had a hard time carrying the sand buckets we used to take the offerings.

“When we dumped the various sand buckets into a single bucket, the children would cheer to see how much they had brought in that day.”

During the VBS commencement service, participants learned they had collected 52,400 pennies or $524 — more than 300 pounds of pennies.

Bush informed the congregation during the service the offering would be sent to the Southern Baptist Convention in memory of Tommy Frey, a 38-year-old faithful member who died earlier this year.

Frey’s parents, Tom and Thelda Frey, had brought a cookie jar full of pennies their son had been collecting to add to the offering.

“Tommy loved this church, particularly the children, and this thoughtful gift by his parents just put an exclamation point to that love,” Bush said.

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