What do YOU do with small change?
I’m talking about coins of 1, 2 and 5 euro cents. Whenever you pay with cash, they just keep on piling up. Do you hang on to them, hoping they will come in handy when buying bread from a vending machine? Mind you, even those refuse the smaller coins.
Most likely you are like me and Sofie and keep them in a piggy bank, a box or a “decorative” bottle, assured that one day you will find a good use for them.
Well, I’m here to tell you that day has come! We found the PERFECT use for them, read on!
What if I told you that you can get rid of them AND – true to Christmas – make a difference in people’s lives?
For the sixth year in a row, the Belgian Federation of Food Banks joins forces with the BNP Paribas Fortis Foundation. Between 12 December 2016 and 13 January 2017 all BNP Paribas Fortis and Fintro offices have a box on display where you can drop off your small change. They accept any coins you wish to donate, not only the copper ones. With these donations the Belgian Food Banks are able to provide hot meals to people in need.
Power in numbers
Make no mistake, a few euros may not seem like much but it only takes three to provide a person in need with a hot meal. It’s important to know that DAK (Daklozen Aktie Komité) estimated the total number of homeless people in Belgium around 50.000 in 2011. This number had skyrocketed from only 17.000 in 2003. There are no accurate numbers of 2016 but most likely those numbers went up.
Below figures illustrate that small change can make a difference:
– 2011: 42.000 € – 14.000 hot meals
– 2012: 93.000 € – 31.000 hot meals
– 2013: 116.500 € – 38.500 hot meals
– 2014: 107.000 € – 35.650 hot meals
– 2015: 68.000 € – 22.500 hot meals
Is this not precisely what Christmas is all about? Rather than buying new things for yourself or for people who already own everything, this time of year should be about sharing with those who have less.
Not enough coins!
At the same time way too many of you hang on to your copper coins. Despite the fact that there are about fifteen billion coins out there somewhere, the Netherlands had to press 67 million more, just to keep up with store demand.
Put two and two together and it’s a no brainer: rather than have your small change disappear in a drawer or piggybank, head over to you local BNP Paribas Fortis office right now and give back to your community.
And while your at it, please spread the news and share this story with everyone you suspect of hoarding heaps of small change at home.
Power in numbers, remember?
- All info on the BNP Paribas Fortis “Centjes actie”. (Dutch / French)
- Website of the Belgian Federation of Food Banks (Dutch / French)
- Facebook page of Belgian Federation of Food Banks
Any other ideas to put coins to good use? Did you follow our example and drop off your coins too? Please share in the comments below.
Outside of Belgium
Living outside of Belgium? Make sure you look for similar initiatives near you. Christmas may be the best time to look for charities that accept coins.
Wikipedia on Food banks
A food bank or foodbank is a non-profit, charitable organization that distributes food to those who have difficulty purchasing enough food to avoid hunger.
The world’s first food bank was the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in Arizona, founded by John van Hengel in 1967.
In 1965, while volunteering for a community dining room, van Hengel learned that grocery stores often had to throw away food that had damaged packaging or was near expiration. He started collecting that food for the dining room but soon had too much for that one program. He thought of creating a central location from which any agency can receive donations. Described as a classic case of “if you build it they will come”,the first food bank was created with the help of St. Mary’s Basilica. Food banks spread across the United States, and to Canada.
The first European food bank was founded in France during 1984. In the 1990s and early 2000s, food banks were established in South America, Africa and Asia, in several cases with van Hengel acting as a consultant. In 2007, The Global FoodBanking Network was formed.