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Old parking meters fulfill new mission helping people in need

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 8:04 PM EST
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - You can find one meter at the Lynchburg Community Market, another near the LOVE sign at the Percival’s Island trailhead, others outside the Academy Center of the Arts, along Rivermont Avenue and elsewhere in Lynchburg.

Refurbished and repurposed, the parking meters are no longer marking time. Now they’re collecting spare change to help people in need.

Peggy Nolley proposed the idea, after seeing a similar concept while she was visiting Prince Edward Island.

“Part of the idea of doing the meters was that families, children, anybody could contribute,” Nolley said, “and that they didn’t need a lot to make a difference, that all of these nickels, dimes and quarters add up.”

Libby Fitzgerald quickly signed on to help launch Change for Change Caring Meters in the Lynchburg area.

“I think people wondered what on earth are these lime green meters sitting all over town, " Fitzgerald said, “but thanks to the generosity of passersby who have continued to deposit their spare change in them, we were able to collect $1,000.”

Community partners, including Schewels Home, Bank of the James, NB Handy, CAPTRUST and BB&T Scott & Stringfellow, also made donations. Monday morning, the organizers of Change for Change presented a check for $4,000 to the Interfaith Outreach Association. The money will help people who are hurting because of COVID-19 to pay their electricity and water bills.

“We are seeing more and more people who are unable to work or who are in quarantine because of the virus and will not have income, and they will be getting behind on their bills,” said Interfaith Outreach Association Executive Director Shawne Farmer. And because CARES Act funding expired at the end of December, Farmer said the Change for Change donation will make a difference.

No change? No problem. The meters have a QR code. Scan it with a smartphone, and it sends you to a website, where you can donate online.

And organizers say they’re just getting started.

By distributing the proceeds to a worthy non-profit every quarter, they hope people in the Lynchburg area will see that a little can go a long way.

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