Memphis teen collects pennies for homeless

(WMC-TV) - M'Lea Scott, a seventh grade honor student, has been collecting pennies all year.  Instead of cashing in to buy the item at the top of her wish list, she made a large donation to an organization she feels could use it the most.

With a large box filled with pennies and cash, Wednesday Scott and her father James Whiting entered SunTrust Bank on Austin Peay Highway to make a deposit.

Grinning from ear to ear, Scott asked the teller if she could have a cashier's check made out to the Memphis Union Mission for $1,000.

Scott said she started collecting pennies last November after she and her grandmother encountered a homeless man in the parking lot of New Allen AME church where they are members.

With no money to give the man, Scott said she was discouraged.

"I got really sad and I asked my grandmother was there anything I could do to help him and she said there was more that we could do together" said Scott. "More than just helping him but helping more people that are homeless like him."

Helping people like him who need it most is what the Memphis Union Mission is about.

On the eve before Thanksgiving, people from around the city where fed a free meal as volunteers from Methodist North hospital, the University of Memphis, Collierville High school and others helped serve.

Scott presented her check to the Memphis Union Mission and got the chance to meet many of the people who will benefit from her pennies.

Development Director at the Memphis Union Mission Steve Carpenter was impressed by Scott's donation and thanked her for the generous donation.

"Frankly I'm impressed that a young lady her age would go through this much effort and raise this much money" said Carpenter.

Although she knew the pennies were of little value, Scott said she decided to ask her family and church members to donate because she knew they would not mind sparing a little change.

"We had little incentives on who could raise the most money" said Scott.

Whiting said his daughter has always had a big heart and plans to do this every year.

"When she started we asked her would this be a one time gift and she said no, she plans to do this for a long time" he said.

With a strong faith, Scott said she is on a mission to make a difference in the world one penny at a time.

"I want God to say to me 'well done my good and faithful servant' and this is part of it".

The Memphis Union Mission says it takes about one dollar and sixty-seven cents to feed one person, so Scott's check will feed nearly 600 people.

To learn how you can help the Memphis Union Mission, click here.

To participate in the Action News 5 Holiday Food Drive, click here.

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