Owen Sanders knows every penny counts.
He started by bringing a few rolls of pennies he had saved to contribute to the Lumby Community Thrift Store. People who heard about it started to give him their pennies and before he had even graduated from kindergarten, he had collected 50,000 pennies, as well as $200 in other coins.
His prize-winning entry in the Lumby Days parade helped bring the total up.
“We got the pennies here. We made it before the bad guys,” said Owen, as he, with help from his aunt, Victoria Bosk, eight, brought the wagon full of pennies which they pulled from the thrift store into the Lumby Scotiabank to be deposited.
“It’s awesome. I kind of feel like I’m famous.”
Owen, whose sixth birthday was June 28, is now a hometown hero and Lumby’s official penny marshall.
“Lumby needs a hero, so why not Owen? It’s very uplifting to see young people who care about their community,” said Janet Green, a thrift store volunteer.
The thrift store is entirely run by volunteers and supports local food banks, provides breakfast at Crossroads Adult Education Centre, helps stock Cherryville and Edgewood thrift stores and helps families in need after being burned out or through other circumstances.
“This is about providing for the community,” said Green.
“We have a penny jar and Owen brought a donation and it grew from there. Last year, we used the penny jar money, $165, to have a Royal Wedding Tea for seniors and others in the community. People liked it so much that they wanted to do it again.”
This year, some of the money from the penny collection will go to the Royal Diamond Jubilee Tea, which will be hosted in part by Okanagan-Shuswap MP Colin Mayes, who will be distributing Diamond Jubilee Medals then.
The tea takes place today at the White Valley Hall. Admission is free but people are asked to bring a donation to the food bank.
When Owen delivered the pennies to the bank, Tina LaRiviere, Scotia Bank Lumby manager, told his mother, Amber Sanders, that the bank was opening a $50 savings account in his name.
“We’re so appreciative of Owen doing this and being a good citizen,” said LaRiviere.
Owen doesn’t know if he is going to officially keep collecting pennies.
“If someone gives me some, I’ll take them and give them to the store,” he promised.