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Gerald R. Ford airport will donate coins from security check to homeless people

Coin box at Gerald R. Ford International Airport
Bryce Huffman
/
Michigan Radio
Coin box at Gerald R. Ford International Airport

Airplane passengers in Grand Rapids can get rid of some spare change and fight homelessness at the same time.

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport has added boxes where passengers can drop coins before going through the security checkpoint.

Tara Hernandez, the Marketing and Communications Director for the airport, says that money will be donated to Mel Trotter Ministries, which helps people experiencing homelessness find their footing in West Michigan.

“It’s kind of a win-win for all of us. It helps us expedite the screening process, it’s one less thing to have to go through the checkpoint. And then it benefits a great cause, so all around good for our community,” Hernandez said.

Lake Michigan Credit Union has pledged to match whatever money is donated from the boxes.

The Transportation Security Administration reported that in fiscal year 2016, passengers left nearly $868,000 at security checkpoints nationwide.

Hernandez says she came up with the idea after reading about an airport in Denver doing something similar. She doesn’t know of any other airports in Michigan with a coin box program like this.

“I think if other airports maybe got on board with something like that, it would be cool to see us sort of spread that love,” she said.

Hernandez says the airport sees about 7,000 passengers every day.

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