September 27, 2018

Airport Staff Turns Discarded Pocket Change, Items Into Meals, Care Bags For Mission Residents

Regional Airport staff prepare and serve meals monthly at the Mission, using the discarded pocket change from travelers for meals and care bags for residents. Regional Airport staff prepare and serve meals monthly at the Mission, using the discarded pocket change from travelers for meals and care bags for residents.

WHAT TO DO WITH THAT PESKY POCKET CHANGE AT THE AIRPORT?

Regional Airport Staff Turns Discarded Pocket Change, Items

Into Meals, Donations of Care Bags to Cornerstone Mission Residents

RAPID CITY, SD--Anyone who travels by air knows one of the constants is emptying your pockets of coins so as to not set off the metal detectors. 

            As you put on your shoes, belt and anything else sensor-sensitive, you patiently wait for the plastic bucket to pass through security sensors.  You grab your keys and your phone but that pesky pocket change is more trouble than it's worth sometimes.

            So many travelers just leave the change in the bucket.

            The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) collects over $800,000 a year in pocket change at airport checkpoints.  Many airports, including Rapid City Regional Airport, have been collecting that loose, troublesome change and donating it to charities.

            For the past year, Rapid City Regional Airport staff has collected just over $4,000 in pocket change left at the TSA security checkpoint, using the funds to provide needed items to the Cornerstone Rescue Mission. 

                "Passengers have really embraced the idea and have often left large bills in the receptacle.  We’ve received at least two $100 bills this past year," said Toni Broom, deputy director of finance and administration at Regional Airport. 

            "For years, Airport and tenant employees, and their families, have pooled our personal resources and purchased food items then cooked and served hot breakfasts at the Mission. We try and do it monthly, always on a Saturday morning," Broom said.

            Broom says the effort to utilize the pocket change was spearheaded about a year ago by Doug Curry, deputy airport director for facilities and maintenance. 

                “We knew of a need, put our heads together and found a solution and put some horsepower behind it,” stated Curry.  “We continue to look for other ways to build upon the successes we’ve already had and hopefully can do more in the future.”

            Serving a monthly hot breakfast is just one of many volunteer activities the airport staff provides to the Mission on a regular basis.  In addition to providing breakfast, Broom says airport staff used the donated funds to make care bags and handed them out to Mission residents last December--something they plan to do each year.  Most recently, pocket change funds were used to purchase additional hygiene and laundry items for the Mission.

And it isn't just the pocket change left at the security checkpoints that goes to help the Mission.  Broom says airport staff also collect the prohibited items discarded or removed at the airport's security checkpoints -- lotions, shampoos, etc. -- and donate those items to the Mission as well.

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Thank you,

Darrell W. Shoemaker | Communications Coordinator

T: 605.721.6686 | M: 605.939.8551

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W: www.rcgov.org

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