• Last modified 907 days ago (Jan. 25, 2017)


Be the "change" you wish to see: Grandfather saves loose change to give to grandchildren

Staff writer

A popular Bible verse states, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” One Hillsboro resident is taking that to heart by saving up loose change for his grandkids.

Eldon Wiens started saving change for his 12 grandkids more than 20 years ago. He drew inspiration from a Mennonite Central Committee sale where they were collecting pennies.

“I kind of enjoyed dropping a jar full of pennies in there,” Wiens said. “I’d save them all year, and it takes a while to get a jar full.”

Wiens is working on his eight jar for his grandkids. The jars weighed in at 70 pounds, but he is not sure how much he has collected.

“I don’t have time to count it now,” Wiens said, “but when I get to Parkside, I’ll have all the time in the world.”

Wiens said he would never break a dollar bill just to get change into the jar. The change is always leftover from a purchase he has made.

“I never break a dollar to get the change,” Wiens said. “If my total is $7.01, I will never put a penny out to avoid getting the change.”

Wiens also does not take change from his wife, who knows the project is something he is doing on his own.

“When she washes my jeans, I know the change in my jeans will be on the washer or dryer because she knows I have this project and I want to stick with it,” Wiens said. “It’s a simple thing, but it’s been a lot of fun.”

Wiens said that some days he may put 50 cents into the jar, and other days he might not have any change left, which can sometimes feel disappointing.

“In a way, it’s kind of discouraging because you think to yourself, ‘It’ll never get full!’” Wiens said. “But if you stick with something, a small thing can become something large.”

Wiens said that saving up change is a lot easier than trying to save up dollar bills.

“Try it sometime,” he said. “Fill a jar with dimes. It’ll take you 15 years, so don’t get discouraged.”

Though Wiens is saving up change in jars for his grandchildren, he also likes giving to the community as well.

“I gave a couple one time some money and I received a letter from them saying how grateful they were that I thought about them,” Wiens said. “I do that a lot of the time when I see someone really struggling.”

He also once helped Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church’s youth group 15 years ago in exchange to count out a couple of his jars.

“The youth group had a project and I told them, ‘I’ll give you all my change, but I want it all back,’” he said. “’You count it at the meeting, but I want it all back, and I’ll give you a check for the amount.’”

Wiens helps others, he said, to show people that someone cares.

“I know I’m not a wealthy person, but I enjoy doing things where I can,” Wiens said.

Wiens suggested that more people try to save up loose change in a jar for a year and then give it to someone in need.

“I’m sure they’d like that and remember you for a lifetime,” Wiens said. “It’s taught me a lot in a lifetime to think of others and not yourself.”

Last modified Jan. 25, 2017