Thanks to the generous actions of the woman and her teenage daughter, a Virginia
man's decision to dump thousands of pennies on his ex-wife's lawn as his final child support
payment has resulted in some positive change.
Avery Sanford spoke out about the ordeal this week, telling WTVR that she had just turned 18 when her father rented a trailer
last month to transport his final payment, in the form of more than 80,000 pennies, to her and her mother's house
to dump in front of their yard.
“It’s really hurtful and damaging to your kids when you do things like that,” Sanford said of his actions to the Richmond-based station. “And it doesn’t matter how old your kids are — whether they’re a young child or an adult — the actions of your parents will always have some effect on you.”
Though her father's behavior did not add up, she claimed that donating it all to a local domestic violence
shelter did, thereby turning a sad situation into a positive one.
The donation was described as “just incredible” by Cathy Easter, executive director of Safe Harbor in Richmond, to Stardia on Thursday.
Easter said Safe Harbor received about $850 from the teen and her mother, but once word got out about their ordeal, others began to reach out and donate online as well, and the organization had nearly $5,000 on the women
's behalf as of Thursday.
“A friend of theirs matched the exact amount, and then other people
began making donations
in their honor,” Easter explained, adding, “In the memo line, they say they're doing this in honor of Avery and her mom.”
Easter stated that the donations couldn't have come at a better time for Safe Harbor, which assists victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking.
“During the pandemic
, incidents of domestic violence have increased, people who have been abused, especially since the beginning, were trapped in their homes with their abusers and couldn’t leave,” she said. “Since restrictions began to lift, it’s been like a tsunami wave of people reaching out for help at a time when federal funding has been cut, so this gift for us has been amazing.”
Easter was also astounded by the mother and daughter's ability to maintain a positive attitude in the face of such adversity.
“I think about Avery and her mother turning this really terrible and demeaning experience into something positive,” she said, adding, “To me, it's just a beautiful thing that they have done together as a mother and daughter.”
Sanford's father told WTVR off camera that his emotions got the best of him and that the last thing he wanted to do was widen the chasm between him and his daughter.
stated that she hasn't spoken with her father in years and expressed disappointment in his actions, but added that "you can learn a lesson from it."
Her mother reported the incident to Henrico County police
, who confirmed it to Stardia but said no charges were filed.
If you need assistance, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).