100-Year-Old Peoria Woman Collects Change to Donate to Charities

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Every coin counts for the 100-year-old Peoria woman.

“I found a quarter, a dime, and a penny this morning,” Shirley Meagher, a 100-year-old woman, says.

Shirley Meagher works every day to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

For 12 years, she has walked from her apartment at Buehler Home to local restaurant drive-throughs and collects dropped change.

She started this hobby when she lived in Arizona in her 70s and would donate it to a charity there. When she moved back to Peoria and into Buehler Home, she continued to collect loose change.

While living at Buehler Home, Meagher met a staff member who was very involved with St. Jude Children’s Hospital. She learned more and decided the money would go there.

“When I came here, and I found out that Kevin was saving, I thought that’s where it’s going to go, and of course, I think it’s a wonderful cause,” Meagher says.

Kevin Rezac is a waiter at Buehler Home. He also has worked on the phone panel at St. Jude Children’s Hospital for the annual telethon for 18 years. Before that, he would donate to the hospital too.

“It’s a cause that has grown close to my heart because I had a childhood friend who had leukemia, so that’s how it all started.”

Rezac recalls being surprised when Meagher asked him about donating her collection to St. Jude. He considers himself fortunate that Meagher chose to contribute her money there.

Meagher will save all loose change in a drawer in her room, and when the time comes to contribute the money, she will take the change to the bank, where it will be counted. She then writes a cheque to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and presents it to Rezac.

The fund has grown over the years thanks to Meagher and Rezac, and today residents and staff at Buehler now donate to Meagher’s fundraising.

“I don’t pick up that much money at the drive-through, but people save money, and there are a couple of pots around the building that people put money in for St. Jude Hospital,” Meagher says.

Employees in the drive-through have been acquainted with Meagher and wish to contribute as well. She claims that once, a man stepped out of Steak n’ Shake and handed her a $5 cash.

Meagher signed a cheque to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for roughly $600 last year, entirely from stray change and occasional dollar bills.

Meagher walks every day after sunrise mass and claims she has no intentions to stop. She claims she will only miss a day if the weather is too cold and icy in the winter.

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