A west-side woman raised 500,000 pennies to donate toward her goddaughters college tuition.
In 1997, Faith Hammock, 40, began saving spare change in an effort she called Pennies From Heaven so that her goddaughter, Kyla Gilbert, could someday attend college. Hammock was born with a brain condition and is mentally disabled.
When Gilbert was just 3-years-old, Hammock began collecting rolls, baskets and fists full of pennies, and once she spread the word, more donations began pouring in.
"Faith even had us picking up pennies off the street. If we see pennies on the street, you got to pick them up, said Hammocks mother, Janice Mays.
The years of hard work and determination by her family have paid off for Gilbert, RTV6s Chance Walser reported.
"All this hard work that they've put in to me, I had to put it into something else and show them that I'm a good student. They are investing in me and they are investing in something good, Gilbert said.
On Sunday, Hammock presented Gilbert with a check for $5,000, the culmination of a nearly two-decade penny collection.
"She is about to go to college in the fall, and I'm going to be happy for her," Hammock said.
As an honors high school graduate, Hammock will be attending Indiana University in the fall with hopes of one day becoming a nurse.
"She's kept me going for years and years. I just don't know what I would do without her. I'm so happy to have her. I wouldn't want any other godmother, Gilbert said.
Along with the pennies from heaven, Gilbert has earned other scholarships and said her entire college tuition is nearly paid in full.
Gilbert said she plans to use Hammocks donation for room and board.
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