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Free The Children raises 140m pennies, provides clean water to 56,000 people

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Free The Children and RBC announced today hundreds of thousands of youth and their schools across Canada through the "We Create Change" penny drive raised 140 million pennies ($1.4 million), which outweighs approximately 64 elephants and more than five empty Boeing 747's, providing permanent sources of clean water to 56,000 people in developing countries.

Gord Nixon, president and CEO of RBC, stated,

"Our long-term commitment with Free the Children supports two very important issues - financial literacy and access to clean water. Today's results demonstrate how a large-scale, positive impact can be made when we work together — no matter how small or simple those acts may seem."

Marc Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children, said,

"We are so incredibly humbled by the amount of change Canada's youth were able to achieve this year, and we can't thank RBC enough for opening up their branches to accept the more than 56,000 penny bags that were dropped off throughout the year. [when full, each penny bag held $25 in pennies] On average, 80 percent of illnesses in the developing world can be linked to poor water and sanitation. Thanks to the incredible efforts of youth across Canada, the "We Create Change" penny drive will provide 56,000 people in our developing countries, clean water for life."

Given the fact Royal Canadian Mint has ceased distribution of pennies to financial institutions on February 4, 2013 and businesses have been encouraged to begin rounding cash transactions, it is wonderful to see 140 million pennies put into good use.

In case you are wondering if you can still use pennies to buy goods and services, the Mint makes it clear that the penny will retain its value indefinitely and consumers can use pennies for cash transactions with businesses that choose to accept them.