'Pennies From Heaven' Drive Raises $318.42

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Amanda Brown valued the penny so much that she had saved 20,000 of them by the time she was 21.

Her personal penny drive was an inspiration for others in her family. Her aunt, Payson resident Nora Martin, set up a penny drive in Amanda's memory after she was killed by a drunken driver little more than a year ago.

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Sisters JoAnne Brown and Nora Martin collect the donations from the "Pennies from Heaven" drive that Martin set up in honor of her niece, Amanda Brown. The penny drive lasted two months and raised more than 31,800 pennies.

The drive, called "Pennies from Heaven," was Martin's way of doing something positive in the midst of tragic circumstances.

"Payson is so tight-knit," Martin said. "I thought, ‘I want to do this for Amanda.'"

Martin distributed canisters that were decorated with Amanda's picture to several businesses around town.

The results of the drive that lasted from November to January were better than Martin expected.

More than 31,800 pennies were raised for a total of $318.42. The largest individual donation came from Linda Dyer who donated $42.42 -- all in pennies.

"I couldn't believe it when I counted it," Martin said. Canisters were placed in businesses in the Swiss Village Shops, including Anderson Dental, Beeline Business, Candle Factory, Central Arizona Supply, Fireside Espresso, Payson Roundup, Sugar Shack and Swiss Beauty and at the Maverik gas station.

Maverik had the highest total of pennies raised, Martin said.

"It was a lot more money than I thought," Martin said.

Martin said she is going to give the money raised in Payson to her sister, JoAnne Brown, Amanda's mother, who is going to combine the money with the $200 that Amanda had saved and donate the total to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization in Phoenix.

Brown said she's been attending MADD meetings and they don't have enough funding for all their programs.

"It's sad because people don't donate to MADD unless something bad happens to someone they know," she said. "I pray that this doesn't happen to anyone else.

"I want to thank Payson for donating so much money. This means a lot."

If you are interested in donating to the MADD organization in honor of Amanda and the "Pennies from Heaven" drive, call executive director Ericka Espino at (602) 240-6505.

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