By Francis Baker
Members of the Fergus and District Kinsmen Club can tell you exactly where they were on the evening of May 1, 1993 - placing coins on the floor of the Fergus arena.
That night was the culmination of the 1993 “Coins for Change” project, which raised more than $45,000 to aid research and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis. Turning the donations into pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, the Kinsmen created the Coins for Change logo on the arena floor as a coin mosaic covering 13,441 square feet.
Members of the club at the time had no idea of the legacy they would create or the inspiration they would provoke.
This spring, a new generation of Kinsmen Club and Kinette Club members has revived the project with Coins for Change - The Next Generation.
“I remember the excitement as the coins were laid into the design on the day of the event,” says project co-chair Christopher Lloyd, who was seven when the first project finished. “We want to build on the legacy and inspire our community again.”
His father, Bruce Lloyd, was co-chair of the project 20 years ago, and is still a club member today. “This new generation of Kin hope to honour the legacy with the work we do now,” Christopher says. “The project was the brain-child of past members and it will benefit everyone in Centre Wellington.”
This year, members of the Fergus and District Kinsmen and Centre Wellington Kinettes are hoping to benefit three groups. Cystic Fibrosis Canada raises money for research into the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. The Elma and David Jack Youth Recreation Fund assists financially challenged youth to access recreation, sports, arts and cultural programs by contributing to registration costs, and the Groves Hospital Foundation which buys needed equipment for the community hospital.
They’re hoping to raise $50,000 this year - and set a Guinness world record for the largest coin display as well.
“Having the opportunity to participate in the resurrection of such a monumental project is thrilling,” says co-chair Lyndsay Warrington. “There’s no better way to raise awareness, and support these causes than with a family friendly project that will both engage and benefit our Centre Wellington Community.
There are many ways people can get involved. The Kin clubs are planning some fundraising activities through the spring, leading up to the big coin-laying event itself, scheduled for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 5 at the CW Sportsplex.
The coin-placing is being planned as a family event, and people are invited to come out and help set up the display - 20 years ago, 250 volunteers put the mosaic together on the first weekend in May.
Corporate sponsorships are available from $250 to $1,500. The public can personally sponsor a square foot of coins, can donate “in-kind” sponsorships, donate cash or loose coins, or volunteer during the event.
Donations, sponsorships and change can be dropped off at Unit 1 at 181 St. Andrew St. East in Fergus, phone 519-843-4852 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.