80K pennies for child support: Dad’s act of spite inspires kindness around world

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 12:01 PM CDT
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HENRICO, CO., Va. (WTVR) - What started as an act of spite has triggered a domino effect of kindness.

“He pulled in front of our house, like turned the trailer on so it dumped out all the pennies,” said Avery Sanford, 18, the man’s daughter.

Her dad made his final child support payment in the form of 80,000 pennies dumped on their lawn. Donations have poured in from across the world to a Henrico nonprofit, thanks to the reaction of Sanford and her mother, Raven Sickal.

They took the money and donated every penny to Safe Harbor, a domestic abuse center.

“Next thing we know it’s on CNN,” said Mary Maupai of Safe Harbor.

From there, Maupai said their online donations “just blew up.”

“And we’ve gotten over $47,000 worth of donations from locally, nationally, internationally as far as England and beyond,” she said.

Maupai, the group’s development director, says the outpouring of support is like nothing she has ever seen.

“People from all around the world are uplifting this young person and saying, ‘You know what this is? This is amazing what you’ve done,’” she said.

She says the money comes as the nonprofit is seeing an uptick in demand and a reduction in government funds.

“The timing of this could not be better,” Maupai said. “And we are just beyond grateful.”

Sanford and her mother also said they have felt the impact of the generous gestures.

“When I read about the donations I sobbed,” Sickal said in a statement. “It made both of us very emotional. This reach has been amazing, and the thoughtfulness and kind gestures have been beyond anything we expected. We just wanted to turn this around, and that’s exactly what we did.”

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