The Town of Berwick and the Berwick and District Lions Club have partnered on the Kindness Meter Program. Berwick community development director Debbie Elliott said this isn’t a new idea, as several Maritime communities including Truro, Moncton and Fredericton already have similar meters.
“It actually is a parking meter but it isn’t used for parking, it actually isn’t even near the curb,” Elliott said.
The town provided the two retired meters and installation by the public works department. A New Glasgow company retooled the interior mechanisms so the meters can now accept any denomination of change from nickels to toonies.
After depositing coins, a sign displays at the top of the meters thanking the donor. The meters have signs explaining their purpose and are painted red for the Town of Berwick and gold and purple for the Lions Club.
Members of the Berwick and District Lions Club collect the donations and manage the allocation and distribution of the funds to charitable causes in the community.
The first of two meters was installed recently in front of Wilson’s Pharmasave on the west side of Commercial Street. Elliott said the second would be installed on Sept. 6 or 7 in front of the Serenity Funeral Home at the corner of Union and Commercial streets near the Harley Lawrence Memorial Garden. Both businesses have contributed space on their respective properties for the meters.
“Here in Berwick, the people in general are huge on volunteering and we certainly like to help everybody and anybody,” Elliott said.
She said they were pleased that donations began accumulating in the first meter before the initiative received any publicity. The idea has been successful in other areas and Elliott believes it will be well received in Berwick, where residents have a strong collective social conscience.
King Lion Garnet Francis of the Berwick and District Lions Club said in a news release that they appreciate the opportunity to work in conjunction with the town on the project and look forward to playing an essential role. He said they see it as an innovative idea and worthwhile undertaking.
“As Lions, we are always happy to step up – especially when the initiative is anticipated to have such a positive outcome for our community,” Francis said.
Mayor Don Clarke said in a news release that the town is very pleased to be participating in the program, which will benefit local charitable groups.
“Not all charitable donations have to be large,” Clarke said. “Your small change can provide a big change in someone else’s life.”