Penny Trays

The penny is small and seemingly useless. One can no longer buy a gumball with it. A newspaper no longer costs a penny. Canada gave up altogether and stopped minting them in 2013. Somehow, in the United States, Abraham Lincoln continues to circulate.


So often one runs across trays with pennies that are free for the taking. Sometimes they are mass-made vacuum-formed boxes with “Take a Penny, Leave a Penny” stamped on the side. Even more often are handmade trays, homespun sentiments from the storeowner.


I love the notion that this is an unwritten law…a small gesture towards the common good. When I need a penny, I take one with a split second of gratitude. I don’t question what type of person left the penny or how I’m supposed to use it. In kind, I don’t leave a penny to be used for only “certain” kind of people. The tray is the great equalizer. Everybody wins. Kindness prevails. 


By elevating this simple ritual, I’m hoping others will be inspired to take the spirit of this gesture and convert it into greater deeds in their communities and the world at large.