Girl takes on role of 'Penny Lady'

Danette Dooley
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Predecessor, 84, steps down as volunteer coin collector

When Emma Greening heard her parents say the Arthritis Society's "Penny Lady" was worried she hadn't found anyone to take over her penny cans, the seven-year-old went into her room, drew and coloured a picture of the society's Blue Bird and announced she was going to be the new "Penny Girl."

"I wanted to do it because I wanted to make that lady happy. I want everyone in the world to be happy," Emma said during a recent interview.

Emma Greening, 7, holds a fundraising can for the Arthritis Society. Photo by Danette Dooley/Special to The Telegram

When Emma Greening heard her parents say the Arthritis Society's "Penny Lady" was worried she hadn't found anyone to take over her penny cans, the seven-year-old went into her room, drew and coloured a picture of the society's Blue Bird and announced she was going to be the new "Penny Girl."

"I wanted to do it because I wanted to make that lady happy. I want everyone in the world to be happy," Emma said during a recent interview.

The lady in question is 84-year-old Ann Rice who, due to her age and some health issues, felt it was time to step aside as the Penny Lady.

From selling tickets to baking and selling cookies, Rice has spent more than two decades raising money for worthy causes.

Her efforts have brought in $30,000 for various charities in this province, including $10,000 from her penny cans which went directly to the Arthritis Society.

Holding one of her penny cans in her hand, Emma says there's another reason she wanted to raise money for the Arthritis Society.

"I want to help my daddy because he has arthritis. My daddy is a policeman. We take Buddy for a walk a lot," she said of the family's pet beagle.

Emma's father, Steven Greening, is with the RCMP.

He has a rare form of arthritis called polychondritis that causes inflammation and swelling of the cartilage. He often needs a cane to get around.

Emma's mother, Christine Greening, works for the Arthritis Society.

She met Rice during a recent volunteer event.

"Even though the luncheon was to honour our volunteers, Ann came in and placed her penny can on the table and said this would be her last time collecting pennies. She was just so inspiring," Greening said.

It was later in the evening when Greening was telling her husband how Rice was searching for a replacement that Emma put herself forward for the job.

A Grade 2 student at Paradise Elementary, Emma asked her mother to make sure "the lady" knew she was going to take over.

The Penny Lady and the Penny Girl recently met at Rice's home.

Rice is delighted that Emma has agreed to be the keeper of the cans and has started her off with the $68.50 that she recently collected.

"I can't go collecting the pennies anymore, but I'll help this little one all I can. I made her a batch of cookies. She's coming back to see me again, you know," Rice said.

She hopes Emma gets as much enjoyment out of collecting, counting and rolling pennies and change as she has.

"I'm full of arthritis and (the society) has done a lot for me. I met some wonderful people through my penny cans. Some of my customers have been with me for the past 23 years."

Emma's parents are placing Emma's cans in various locations throughout the province.

"Daddy and me already put one in the (Paradise) North Atlantic gas station. So, now when you go in to get gas, you can put your pennies in my penny can, 'cause every penny helps," Emma said.

Organizations: Arthritis Society, Blue Bird, RCMP Grade 2

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  • karen
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Hi Emma i'll be sure to save all my pennies and drop them off at North Atlantic. My brother has Arthritis and this such a great thing for a little girl to do

  • Judy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Good for Emma! No greater reward than doing for others. I certainly will contribute to her cause!

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Great Emma....just 77 years to retirement!

  • Jackie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    The Arthritis Society is such a worthy cause. It's heart-warming to see people of all ages doing what they can to help out. Way to go, Emma!! And I think Ann deserves a big THAN YOU for all she's done. What a lifetime accomplishment!

  • joan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Congratulations to Emma for her interest in stepping up to be the next coin lady. I'm sure she will do good.

    Ann, a job well done. Take it easy and all the best to you, a wonderful lady!

  • karen
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Hi Emma i'll be sure to save all my pennies and drop them off at North Atlantic. My brother has Arthritis and this such a great thing for a little girl to do

  • Judy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Good for Emma! No greater reward than doing for others. I certainly will contribute to her cause!

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Great Emma....just 77 years to retirement!

  • Jackie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    The Arthritis Society is such a worthy cause. It's heart-warming to see people of all ages doing what they can to help out. Way to go, Emma!! And I think Ann deserves a big THAN YOU for all she's done. What a lifetime accomplishment!

  • joan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Congratulations to Emma for her interest in stepping up to be the next coin lady. I'm sure she will do good.

    Ann, a job well done. Take it easy and all the best to you, a wonderful lady!