It's the time of year once again for Wayland residents to dig into their pockets, between their sofa cushions, under their car seats and through their piggy banks for the third annual Loose Change campaign in support of Wayland nonprofit Hatun Runa.
Hatun Runa is dedicated to improving the education and health care of children and others in remote villages located in the northeast Andes Mountains of Peru, according to a press release.
"Loose Change is dedicated exclusively to our educational arm," said Hatun Runa co-founder Sally Ourieff, adding that Loose Change collections have helped the organization rebuild a school room as well as provide books, teaching materials and some everyday supplies. "It's really our primary and our only fundraiser [for education]. Without the support of Wayland, we basically wouldn’t be able to do this. Our other funds are used for medical resource development and medical support.”
In 2012, Wayland rounded up $12,000 during the Loose Change campaign, an amount that Ourieff said Hatun Runa hopes to collect again in 2013.
"The main message is just that literally a handful of coins gathered together from the entire town dramatically changes the lives of children in one of the most remote areas in the world,” Ourieff explained.
Since Hatun Runa was founded in 2009, multiple projects have been undertaken and realized, including the region's first library in Leymebamba and building a new school room in the village of Atuen.
"We try to focus on sustainable contributions," Ourieff said, explaining that Hatun Runa returns to villages year after year to create accountability and build relationships. "We work very closely with the teachers and the village leaders. When we first make contact, we bring sort of a goodwill gesture of books and supplies, but it’s not a huge commitment. We need to learn what they need."
Antonia Hieronymus organizes the Loose Change campaign and last spring submitted an article to Patch outlining what the 2012 donations accomplished.
All those pennies that Wayland residents found in their pockets, under car seats and dropped into corners have together amounted to a significant contribution which made a huge impact on the educational opportunities in villages far away from here, and this is the result of everyone collaborating together with small coins.
The Loose Change campaign runs from Jan. 26-Feb. 3. Collection jars will be located in all Wayland schools as well as many stores, churches, temples and offices throughout town.