Picayune residents collect more than 10 million pennies for park makeover

Kids Kingdom
Kids Kingdom

PICAYUNE, MS (WLOX) - How much difference can a penny make? Well, when the entire community is collecting them for a common cause, pennies do pay off. Just ask the residents who turned out at Friendship Park in Picayune.

"We're rebuilding a park we built in 1995. We're adding to it, we're doing some new things and refurbishing the older parts," said Allen Hickman, Organizer of Pennies For Your Park.

Hickman said the children who like playing at Kids Kingdom have a lot to look forward to.

"There's going to be a new tree house with a slide going out. Over on that side is going to be a splash pad where water squirts out. There are several other things, there are more wheel-chair accessible things."

A fundraising drive called Pennies For Your Park brought in more than $100,000. That's more than 10 million pennies! Now volunteers from churches, school and civic groups and businesses will spend the next five days working.

"The last time, it was a hard sell because nobody had ever seen a park like this around here 16 years ago. But this time, everybody saw it, everybody knew what was going on and everybody went, 'Yes, we're in,'" Hickman explained.

Employees of First National Bank of Picayune said, 'Count us in.'

"Most of us have grown up here in Picayune all of our lives and we played here as children, so this is the least we can do to give a little bit back," said bank volunteer Deborah Randall.

Some of the bank volunteers were there when the playground first went up.

"This project right here is near and dear to my heart. My mom, I can remember her helping growing up and running around and playing while she was painting boards and hanging boards," said Katie Ouder.

Nearly 700 volunteers are expected show up before the end of the community build Saturday. A grand re-opening ceremony will be held for the playground Sunday at 3pm.

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