Kelly Minter: Some Coins


I worked in the non-profit sector for many years, primarily in reception and administration support. In this role, I have met many generous, giving people. One person stands out for me.

For years, our office was located just outside of downtown Victoria and many of our regular donors would walk to our office and make their yearly donations. I was able to get to know people and develop long-lasting connections.

Early on in my work, a young woman came to the office. Her appearance was disheveled, and she looked as if she needed assistance. To my surprise, she held out a hand with a few coins in it. She did not say anything, as she was very shy, but she was making a donation. I tried to engage with her by asking her name. She did not say a word.

The visits became a regular occurrence. Each time, I would greet her and eventually she told me her name. I would ask her how she was doing and occasionally she would answer, but most times she would say nothing. She would come into the office about once a month or so—in the rain, in the cold, in the scorching heat. It didn’t matter what the weather was like.

After many visits, she eventually asked me my name, and from here she became more comfortable talking to me. She would even ask for me if I was not at the front desk. I learned that she lived in supportive housing and had no job or income. Every month, she would come with a few coins to donate and we would keep a tally recording all of her donations throughout the year.

After several years, our office moved locations and I didn’t see this person for quite some time. Finally, she started coming into the office again but now her donations were $5 and sometimes even $10. She was so very proud to share that she was doing some cleaning work where she lived. Eventually she had a casual job cleaning and her donations increased to $20. It might not seem like a lot of money, but $20 was a fortune to this person and represented so much strength and courage.

What I learned from this wonderful woman is that it does not matter who you are or what you have. You may not always have the words or the confidence to speak loudly, but you can always find a way to give, to be kind and to be grateful.