M’lea Scott, a 14-year-old from Raleigh, spent the weekend in Washington D.C. being honored for her work collecting pennies for the homeless. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honor one middle school and one high school student from each state.
Her project started two years ago when she and her grandmother were in their church parking lot. “This man walked up to us and asked if we had any money. And she only had her check for church, and I didn’t have any money at all,” she said. That bothered M’lea, but she knew that even in tough economic times, people would be willing to give up their pennies. She started collecting them, and pretty soon had the support of her school and her family. In one year, she was able to collect $1,000 to donate to the Union Mission at Thanksgiving. The following year, she gave them $1,500.