The Value of a Penny

One essential experience of the Cover Indiana Habitat for Humanity Bike Ride is that you get to see, hear and understand what Habitat does in various communities across the state. 
The Cover Indiana Ride has gone thru Linton, IN each and every of the past 7 years.  Linton, as far as I can tell is just your average tiny town in southwest Indiana.  Home of nothing amazing, birthplace of no one important, and origin of, well, just your slightly below average people.  In fact 75 percent of the kids in Linton elementary are on free or reduced lunch benefits, and the median income of households in Linton is about $30,000.

But, Linton is amazing.  You see, because of their experience hosting the Cover Indiana Habitat for Humanity Bike Ride, they got excited to do something.  So over the course of 2 years, 2007-2009, the elementary school had a “Penny War.”  Now, granted, I am included in those who would like to do away with the penny altogether because it’s not really worth anything these days in our economy, but this Penny War in the small town of Linton, IN, raised $40,000 so that elementary school could build a Habitat House in their community!!!

As we sat in that elementary school cafeteria, eating our biscuits and gravy and drinking from those little milk boxes, we chatted with John, Bryanne, Michelle and other kids, and we were overcome with joy because of their pride.  They were so excited we were there.  They wanted autographs and told us stories about how they raised their pennies.  The smiles on the faces of some of “the least of these” were some of the greatest smiles I have ever seen. 

Then later in the gym we were treated to a slideshow of them raising the money and building the house.  They were so proud.  We presented them with a framed Cover Indiana Bicycle Jersey in honor of their accomplishment, and then they presented us with their send-off as well.  They all scattered around the outside of their building, lined up along the sidewalks to cheer us and give us high 5’s as we departed for that days ride.  It was truly inspiring- that we were so much to these kids, who were just kids, doing unbelievable things!

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