Lake Milton man donates 40 years of change to Salvation Army

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Richard Jones of Lake Milton began saving pennies as a boy.

Years later, he started saving dimes and quarters, too.

This week, he donated those savings to the Salvation Army Mahoning County Area Services, and it totaled more than $4,000

“I’ve saved pennies all my life, but I always turned them in when the container got full,” said Jones, 75.

The last time he took his pennies to the bank was about 40 years ago, and it totaled $150.

“I bought my first calculator with it,” Jones said Friday night.

He collected the pennies in a 10-gallon antique crock and then about 20 years ago started tossing his dimes and quarters into a 5-gallon water bottle.

“Whenever I had change at night, I would throw the pennies in the crock and the dimes and quarters in the bottle,” Jones said.

When the bottle filled up, Jones knew he had to do something with them. He had no idea what they added up to.

“My friend suggested I donate them to the Salvation Army, and I couldn’t think of anything better to do with them,” he said.

He couldn’t even slide the 10-gallon crock along the floor. He wanted to keep the crock and the bottle, so he transferred the coins into five 5-gallon plastic buckets.

He called the Salvation Army and told them about the coins, estimating they totaled $1,500. Volunteers came to his home to gather the donation.

The Salvation Army counted the coins and called Jones to let him know the total.

“I was very surprised by the amount,” Jones said.

The money became part of the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign.

Maj. Elijah Kahn of the Salvation Army said the organization is blessed by Mahoning Valley residents’ generosity as they drop change into the red kettles.

“But Mr. Jones takes coin collection to an all new level,” Maj. Kahn added. “We cannot thank him enough for giving our kettles more than just a drop in the bucket.”

The Salvation Army of Mahoning County’s kettle campaign goal is $305,000. Funds raised provide for year-round programming. Kettles will be out through Christmas Eve or donations may be made online at

Jones is pleased with his decision to donate to the campaign.

“I think they’re a wonderful organization, and they’ll put it to good use,” he said.

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