The Hanover Co-op Food Stores' Winning Just One Thing Story, Pennies for Change, is Improving the World a Penny at a Time


Throughout the year New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility collects "Just One Thing" stories of sustainability initiatives from across the state, in the areas of community, environment and workplace. These leading efforts are then showcased as part of NHBSR's Sustainability Slam in the fall. Last year the Hanover Co-op Food Stores' Pennies for Change program won NHBSR's 2017 Sustainability Slam for its incredible contributions to New Hampshire communities.


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Pennies for Change is a round-up program where members and shoppers at the Hanover Co-op Food Stores (Hanover and Lebanon, and White River Junction, Vermont) can add to the total amount of their purchases up to the next whole dollar. The Co-op then donates 100% of the extra money collected each month to local nonprofits. On average, Pennies for Change raises around a quarter million dollars each year (approximately $20,000 a month) towards helping feed the hungry and support other vital community needs.**

Because of Pennies for Change, local nonprofits which generally work under very tight budgets to meet ever-increasing demands are able to actually grow their programs and services. For example: 

  • Willing Hands collects and redistributes surplus food from the Hanover Co-op, farms, bakeries, and other stores to people in need. Pennies for Change donations financed both a new truck and increased staffing for Willing Hands to expand its services, allowing it to serve more hungry neighbors.
  • Upper Valley Haven offers another example of the Co-op's high community impact. This nonprofit, which provides housing, food and counseling services to families and individuals experiencing poverty, used Pennies for Change donations to redesign their Food Shelf so that their clients had more freedom and choice in food options.
  • Furthermore, LISTEN out of Lebanon, New Hampshire added Saturday meals to their weekly community dinner calendar, serving and additional 5,000 meals per year. A host of 25 other rotating nonprofits were similarly able to increase the impact and reach of their work because of Pennies for Change.

You can learn more about Pennies for Change and other great sustainability initiatives throughout the state by attending NHBSR's Sustainability Slam in the fall. Allan Reetz, Director of Public Relations at the Hanover Co-op Food Stores said, "NHBSR's Sustainability Slam was well-worth the nearly four-hour roundtrip it took me to attend. I got to see firsthand the range of work being done by sharp New Hampshire business people. Learning from and collaborating with socially responsible leaders is good for our cooperative. Plus, attending the Slam is another easy way I commit to being an active member of the NHBSR network."

Connect with Allan at our Sustainability Slam on Nov 1 in Amherst or reach out to him by email at AReetz@coopfoodstore.com!!

**By encouraging rounding up on electronic payment transactions, the Hanover Co-op Food Stores is able to dramatically increase the amount of funds they can donate to community projects.