My name is Jonathan, but I really like to be called "The Penny Man.” I have been collecting pennies for over 15 years and then donating them to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). I first started collecting in high school in 2006 when a classmate of mine passed away from leukemia. My teacher, Mrs. Jean Cassetta, started a schoolwide campaign in partnership with LLS in memory of our friend Andrew, and I never stopped saving pennies since.
I have been able to do some really cool things to celebrate my annual donations. I was on Channel 2 in the Great Kids segment, Spectrum News, and Channel 7 news, I led a team of friends and family on the Light The Night (LTN) walk, and I even went down a big slide into a huge pool of blue jello (I wore goggles for that one!).
So far, I have donated a total of over $10,000, and most of that was in pennies. I like to hand out penny jars to local businesses, my church, my gym, my friends, my support staff, and my family. It takes a lot of time to wrap them up and then deliver them to the bank, and boy they are heavy! I usually use a wagon to get them there. The last two years during the pandemic I had to find a safe way to collect my donations, so I set up a GoFundMe page with my sister-in-law, Brianne Roesser. I was able to raise the most money EVER in 2020 and 2021 with the help of many people. This year you can donate directly to the Light The Night (LTN) campaign. Look for TEAM PENNY MAN.
When people ask me why I collect pennies, I tell them that I remember when my friend Andrew died and that I hope my pennies will help find a cure so no one else will get sick from this cancer . . . "one penny at a time."