Updated: 02/17/2014 7:07 PM
Created: 02/17/2014 6:08 PM KSTP.com
By: Steve Patterson
We've all done it. You're at Mall of America and you see a pond, find a coin and let it fly. But did you ever wonder what happens to all those coins? It turns out, they're going to a good cause, but it takes some work.
"What they do is they drain the pond and then they use good old fashioned shovels,“ explained Tara Niebeling of Mall of America’s public relations department. The shovels help gather the coins into piles. But what do you do with 22 years worth of piled up coins? "It's in buckets, yeah, in a storage room here in the mall,” she said.
The buckets hold an estimated $16,000, weighing in at more than 3,200 pounds.
Mall of America has donated that hefty sum to JDRF, an organization aimed at finding a cure for diabetes. But first, JDRF has to switch gears from raising money to cleaning money. Ross Marcus, who works with JDRF says, "The process is not something that's terribly easy. It takes a couple days."
He and his staff of seven people take turns restoring the coins to a better condition. They start with water rinse in a sifter. From there, it’s on to an overnight bath in vinegar, followed by a six-hour cycle in a rock tumbler. Although the money still doesn’t look too pretty when it’s done, it’s useable, which means it can go toward helping their end goal of curing diabetes.
This year’s JDRF Walk to Cure will take place this Saturday, Feb. 22 at Mall of America. They hope to have more than 23,000 walkers and raise $1.75 million.