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Mountain of Hope

Goal: 100,000,000 pennies

Currently: 606,312 / 3,553 pounds of pennies
(updated 7/2011)

By Rev. Rand O'Donnell

Retired Senior Pastor, Mount Vernon First United Methodist Church 


The ‘Mountain of Hope” idea flows from my experience with people who find themselves in need.  People in critical need search for places of compassion and a way forward.  Their needs are many but often they are simply on the edge: out of gasoline, out of food, out of shelter, or the power and gas to their house or apartment is being turned off.  They and their family are facing a critical need.


Many if not most of the churches and helping organizations across Skagit County offer help on a daily basis.  Compassion after all is a good thing.  It heals, lifts and provides strength to neighbors and community alike.  “Mountain of Hope” offers longstanding compassion for critical need.  Just think of it, thousands who already know the joy of helping others will be joined with thousands who are waiting for the opportunity.  Anyone with a penny can become part of a great story of hope.     


The idea is to build a mountain, a mountain of 100,000,000 pennies.


The number 100 million came into my mind so strongly I couldn’t push it away.  I thought at first it was meant for the church I was serving but then as the idea grew I began to realize it needed to be part of something larger.  Because of a trusted association with Skagit Community Action, and the agency’s positive track record for cooperating with the churches and wider community, it seemed a natural fit.  I presented the idea to the Community Action leadership and “Mountain of Hope” was born.   


All the pennies going into the mountain stay in the mountain and its revenue flows out as a river of life to those in need.


Allow me to share a story.

I was helping a man whose house had burned to the ground.  He had nothing left and needed a room for the night.  I listened to his story.  I said I would make a call to see if I could get a room.   I do not typically write checks or give cash.  My practice is to meet the person I am helping at the gas station, the bus depot, the motel, or the grocery store and there secure their need.  As we were walking toward his room for the night, I said “do you have a penny?” 


Standing at my side was a person in critical need who had lost nearly everything in a fire.  He instinctively reached into his pocket and in his open hand, still blackened from sifting through the ashes of his home, he held a quarter, a nickel, and two pennies. I said “Could I have a penny?”  He asked, “Why?”   I said, “You will find out later.”


I went back to my church office and taped it to a piece of yellow note paper and dated it 4-29-10.  It was the first penny in the mountain. 

What I like about the idea is that anyone and everyone can participate. All ages, all incomes, persons anywhere and everywhere can add a penny to this mountain, "Mountain of Hope". The person being helped can give back. I even have my grandchildren looking for pennies, on my walks I find pennies. I have a jar at my home and it is growing as a result of this idea. Click here to print off a Mountain of Hope label to put on a jar or soup can and start saving today!

Please email for more information or if you would like Pastor Rand to come and speak to any you or your group. 

To make an on-line tax-deductible donation, please click here.

Thank you.