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Mother, daughter donate 80,000 pennies dumped outside home to abuse center

Mother, daughter donate thousands of dumped pennies to domestic abuse center
Posted at 6:12 PM, Jun 09, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. — One Richmond family got a shocking delivery last month when 80,000 pennies were dumped on their front lawn. Now, they're using the money to help those in need.

"I just turned 18. When I was in the middle of class, my dad came by. He had rented a trailer," Avery Sanford, a Deep Run High School senior, said. "He pulled up in front of the house and turned the trailer on so it dumped out all the pennies on the grass, and my mom came out and was like, 'What are you dumping in my yard?' She didn't know who it was until he shouted, 'It's your final child support payment."

The act had an impact on the teenager.

"It's not just my mom he's trying to embarrass; it's also my sister and me, and it's upsetting that he didn't consider that before he did that," Sanford said.

Once the pennies were picked up, Sanford and her mom decided to turn a bad situation into a positive one.

Every penny of Avery's last child support payment will be donated to Safe Harbor, a domestic abuse center.

"Turning around and donating that money to moms and children in need, I feel like that really turns this situation into a positive. You can learn from it," Avery said.

Avery hasn't spoken to her father in years.

She said that the penny incident proved to her that she made the tough but right decision to stay clear. She said she had no interest in having a relationship with anyone who disrespected her mother.

"It's really hurtful and damaging to your kids when you do things like that. It doesn't matter if they're young or an adult; the actions of your parents will always have some effect on you," Avery said.

Avery's mother said she reported the incident to Henrico Police.

When reached by phone Tuesday, Avery's father said his actions resulted from 18 years of built-up frustration, and his emotions got the best of him.

He said the last thing he wanted to do was to put a further wedge between him and his daughter.

Jon Burkett at WTVR first reported this story.