Pick Up Your Pennies - myfoxcarolinas.com

Pick Up Your Pennies

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A penny saved is a penny earned – that’s the philosophy that Marques Broadie lives by.

“Pennies [are] the difference,” Broadie says. It’s the No. 1 coin that people walk over – so I believe we can create an avenue that will encourage people to pick the pennies up.”

That avenue is vending machines. We use them for food, drink and even movie rentals. Broadie wants to fill his vending machines with products the less fortunate need – anything from toothbrushes and deodorant to batteries and lighters. They are items that many people take for granted, he says, but many on the street are in need of.

“I really want the low-social economic to have healthy items at the convenience of on-the-go,” he said.

Broadie is asking the CATS bus system to set the vending machines up at hundreds of stops. He has also met with members of Mecklenburg County government and, so far, says the feedback has been positive.

“The county’s goal is to get us in communities to where we can be present with these machines 27-7,” he said.

It’s not just pennies. Broadie is working on getting Electronic Benefit Transfer cards from those on state welfare to work on his machines. He and his partners have the technology to do so and now it’s just going through the paperwork process – which he says his company Penny Brotherz has been doing diligently.

Broadie, the son of a minister, says he has always been called to help others and his vending machines will do just that.

Lindel Creed and his company customize vending machines. He said Broadie begged him for two years to help him take on his project of accepting pennies and EBT cards for this purchase. Creed says Broadie’s diligence paid off – and he became a part of the movement.

“When Marques first came to me and asked me if we could do pennies I said, “No,” Creed said. “Nobody wants pennies…but after he explained the program to us and things we went to developmental and said, ‘Yeah, it’s a great program. We really do believe in it.’”

Nickels, dimes, quarters and bills – these are the types of currency usually associated with vending machines. But Broadie says, “You can’t get to five…without starting at one.”

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