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Regional independent Bashas has invited elementary school students from grades K through eight throughout Arizona to collect pennies for the statewide CENTennial Penny Drive, which aims to help to resurface, reseal, and polish the State Capitol’s copper dome.
“Due to budgetary constraints, the Copper Dome has not been cleaned in almost 20 years,” said Karen Churchard, executive director of the Arizona Centennial Commission. “The Copper Dome serves as the centerpiece for the state’s Centennial celebrations, and the Penny Drive will help pay to bring it back to its shiny brilliance.”
The Arizona Centennial Commission created the CENTennial Penny Drive to encourage enthusiasm among K-8 students in the celebration of Arizona’s 100th Birthday this month.
“We’re encouraging every Arizonan to help these students with their Penny Drive,” said Edward Basha, VP of retail operations for Bashas. “You can help by rounding up your Bashas’ or Food City grocery bill to the next dollar, or making an open amount donation at any register. The Coinstar machines in our stores also will be available to help students, parents and teachers track how many pennies they’ve collected.”
The school that collects the most pennies will win the grand prize: a visit from Arizona’s beautifully copper-plated motorcycle (the “copper chopper”) and a pizza party for the entire school, hosted by Eddie Basha. Dozens of other prizes will also be awarded, such as visits to a historic copper mine and ice cream socials.
As children throughout the state collect pennies to clean the Copper Dome, they will learn about Arizona’s rich history, including the importance of copper and philanthropy, and other lessons related to statehood and governance.
According to Churchard, the goal of the drive is to collect $65,000 – or 6.5 million pennies. If the fund raising goal is exceeded, additional funds will be endowed to refurbish memorials in Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza and maintain Centennial trees planted on Washington Street.
It’s no coincidence that the Penny Drive runs for 48 school days. Arizona was the 48th State admitted to the Union, and February 9, 1912 was the day in that voters of the Arizona Territory overwhelming approved a new state constitution. Five days later Arizona's statehood bill was signed into law by U.S. President William Howard Taft.
The Arizona Centennial Commission and its non-profit Arizona Centennial 2012 Foundation (www.arizona100.org) is comprised of distinguished Arizonans from public and private life, and is committed to involving all Arizonans to help fulfill the Centennial vision: “To appreciate our state’s rich past, celebrate the present, and together, create a vibrant and sustainable future.”
Chandler, Ariz.-based Bashas’ is a family-owned grocer that operates 132 grocery stores under the banners of Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods, Sportsman’s Wine & Spirits, Eddie’s Country Store, and both Bashas’ and Bashas’ Diné.