02/05/2013 08:23 EST | Updated 04/07/2013 05:12 EDT

How Your Pennies Can Make Change


It's time to dig deep, Canada.

We're not talking deep into your pockets. Unless your pockets are strangely filled with pennies, in which case we're talking about your pockets.

But we're really talking about digging deep into your underwear drawers, the gaps between your couch cushions, and behind your kitchen appliances. Your sister's closet, your boyfriend's musty old wallet, and your dad's long-forgotten "workbench" covered with jars of nails, screws and parts of G.I. Joe.

We're talking about digging up every last, lost penny you and everyone you know has ever tossed aside. Sure, at the time these tiny pieces of copper, and more recently steel coated in copper, weren't worth enough to buy so much as a string of delicious candy licorice.

But for one week -- this week, Monday February 4 to Friday February 9 -- those precious discarded coins are worth the world.

As part of Free The Children and RBC's We Create Change campaign to provide 100,000 people in the developing world with life-saving access to clean water, the Canadian penny has a renewed lease on life.

RBC branches across Canada will accept all your found pennies -- no matter how many you have, no matter what kind of container you bring them in, no matter where you found them -- and donate them directly to Free The Children's water programs overseas.

For every $25 worth of pennies collected, Free The Children estimates that one person can be given clean water for the rest of their life.

Last year alone, the Royal Canadian Mint made over 662-million pennies. So we know they're out there. And we know that you know where they are.

So, sure, the government has now officially stopped making pennies, sending this maple-leafed icon into a well-deserved retirement after 155 years in active circulation. But the great Canadian penny can still make change.

We have a cent-imental story from Bill Brulée and Sandy Quarters of how you can say farewell to all those pennies you find in the couch cushions.

Craig and Marc Kielburger are founders of international charity and educational partner, Free The Children. Its youth empowerment event, We Day, is in eight cities across Canada this year, inspiring more than 100,000 attendees. For more information, visit

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