S(p)ending Money to Make Money
Mothers Against Drunk Driving's explanation of the nickel offer is unique, as well as poignant. It begins at the bottom of the first page of the letter after several paragraphs telling the story of a young woman killed by a drunken driver:
"As painful as it is, Jerry and Paula want me to tell you their story — because they know if they can stop one person from driving drunk or save someone else's daughter, son or loved one from becoming a victim, it will be worth it.
"That's why I have enclosed the nickel. I sent it to make a point.
"You see, powerful opponents of tough drunk driving laws — like the alcohol industry's lobbyists — talk about Alisa Celentano and other victims of drunk driving as if their lives were just nickels and dimes, or columns on some accounting ledger."
The letter goes on to say that you wouldn't think much about losing a nickel, but if you lost 12,000 of them, or $600, you'd notice. Then it asks you to imagine that each of the 12,000 lost coins represents the life of someone killed by a drunken driver, because that's how many people drunken driving kills annually. It's a nice tie-in with Alisa's story and helps make the nickel meaningful beyond its monetary value.
Brother, can you spare a dime?
Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) affixed two nickels to a beautifully written letter that begins, "Maybe you've been through a time in your life when you felt you didn't have two nickels to rub together. I think we all have. Brenda, a CAP participant, has lived that way every day for many years."
Then a bit later in the letter, "I hope you'll pray with me today for Brenda and all those who struggle to get by in Appalachia. The two nickels I attached to this letter are a symbol of their plight, and a reminder that it takes so little to improve their lives."