Perth: Travellers’ spare currency is adding up for Lifeline WA

Lifeline WA's Megan Reynolds and Anna Dickie from Perth Airport collect some of the donations. Picture: David Baylis
Lifeline WA's Megan Reynolds and Anna Dickie from Perth Airport collect some of the donations. Picture: David Baylis

IT’S a sight to behold – an international melting pot of money – and this year it all goes to help a charity that helps so many in WA.

The unwanted foreign coins and notes that travellers drop in Perth Airport’s donation boxes at the end of their holiday adds up to a substantial amount of money when it’s sorted and counted.

Staff who empty the six giving boxes at the airport regularly are repeatedly blown away by the size of some of the anonymous individual donations – such as the time they found a wad of US$50 notes that tallied US$1000.

This financial year the money is going to Lifeline WA, the crisis support service that is sadly needed most at this holiday time. It’s hoped the donations might add up to $100,000 for the charity by July.

Lifeline chief executive Lorna MacGregor and Perth Airport chief executive Kevin Brown chief executive urged both people travelling and those seeing off or welcoming family and friends to drop spare coins or notes into the boxes.

“A handful of foreign coins may mean nothing to a traveller but when you add them all up we can make a big contribution to saving lives,” Mr Brown said.

“We take those foreign notes and coins home, put them in a drawer and forget about them so why not drop them in here where they can make a real difference and maybe save someone’s life.”

Sorting the funds from so many denominations is a fair task but has been made easier through assistance from Travelex, which handles the notes, and Global Currency Exchange, which covers the cost of shipping up to a tonne of foreign coins to Queensland and converting it all to Australian tender.