It started with a couple of questions in Mikenzie Helphenstine's sixth-grade math class at Ocean City Intermediate School:
- "Have you ever wondered what 1 million of anything looks like?"
- "How long would it take to collect?"
- "How could you store it?"
It turned into a challenge: to see if the class could collect 1 million pennies and donate the proceeds to local charities. And when Hurricane Sandy struck, the charitable part of the project took on new meaning.
Charities that will benefit from the class project now include:
- Ocean City Ecumenical Council Food Cupboard
- Ocean City Education Foundation
- Long Beach Island School District
Each of the recipient charities needs resources in the aftermath of a storm that left record flooding throughout the region.
The public can help by contributing pennies. Pennies can be dropped off at the Ocean City Intermediate School. Helphenstine and her students are willing to pick pennies at Ocean City locations. And the class plans to place buckets throughout town.
The class will take any type of donation and turn it into pennies with the help of Ocean City Home Bank.
The students' goal is to complete this by May 22, 2013. Celebration Night at the Intermediate School is on May 23, and the class hopes to display 1 million pennies then. Classmates can monitor progress through a pictograph in the sixth hallway or a thermostat diagram in the cafeteria at the school.
Helphenstine said that she participated in a similar project when she was a student (Mikenzie Custer) in the Ocean City School District.
The class response to potential contributors: "Thanks a million."