Pennies for the Poor

Story and Photo by Barb Liggett, Global Strategy Office Intern

Eugine is an 8-year-old from Kenya who wants to be a teacher when he grows up. Compassion believes that he — and all kids with big dreams — can do it. So does Katie Peters. This 15-year-old, from Colorado Springs’ The Classical Academy, has been raising money for Compassion since 2002 to help kids like Eugine reach their goals. Katie places jars with the slogan “Pennies for the Poor” in classrooms and hallways around her campus, about a mile from Compassion’s Global Ministry Center.


Katie posted signs around the school encouraging students and teachers to drop loose change into these jars. This simple act has gone a long way.

To date, Katie has raised more than $880 to help children across the world. Although Katie humbly claims she “was not a huge part, and it wasn’t all [her] money,” she organized this effort to raise money out of a caring and pure heart. She took the initiative to get permission from her principal to set the jars out, and at the end of each day she collects the jars and locks them in cabinets for safekeeping.

Despite all this work, Katie hopes her efforts go unnoticed by peers. She says that “I don’t try and tell people that I am doing it … I almost hope they don’t know it is me doing it. I hope they just know somebody cares.”

This is the servant’s heart Compassion seeks, the type of heart that is so powerful when embodied in a young person.

Katie chose Compassion from a long list of organizations, but for her the choice was simple. Her family began sponsoring a boy when she was 5, so she was already familiar with Compassion’s ministry.

About her family’s Compassion child, she explains that “he had graduated about the time I started Pennies for the Poor, so I decided there were still others like him who needed [help] through Compassion.”

Her family’s sponsorship was not the only experience that influenced her. When asked what provoked her to start collecting change, Katie says that “I started thinking I wanted to do something after my class had a character lesson about giving.” This, along with understanding the results of child sponsorship firsthand, inspired Katie to become an advocate for impoverished children around the world.

8 Comments |Add a comment

  1. annabelle June 4, 2010

    this is actually a GREAT fundraiser. when i was in high school, i put jars in all the K-12 classes and we ended up with over 1000 in less than 2 weeks from a school of just 300 (i think it was for World Vision but I am not sure) the elementary kids gave over half of what we ended up with. it was amazing! I love to see kids so passionate!

  2. Sarah July 22, 2008

    Thats is amazing u go Katie!

  3. Compassion dave July 20, 2008

    The world needs more Katie Peters!

  4. Lisa Miles July 20, 2008

    Katie, you are amazing!!!!

    Did I read right that you have been doing this since 2002 — since you were nine years old???

    What a blessing you are — and a true example for the rest of us!

    p.s. I’m curious to know what Katie’s career goals are — it seems like she has such a heart for others — and the ability to put a plan into action. Does she have a career path in mind?

  5. Import from China July 19, 2008

    I came across this blog the other day and you got some great info here – thanks.

  6. Vicki Small July 19, 2008

    Great story! And I wouldn’t be surprised to see that young lady join the Advocates Network, in a few years!

  7. Juli Jarvis July 19, 2008

    Wow–What a great example & inspiration!

  8. Rebecca July 19, 2008

    What a pure servant’s heart. I love it.

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