Estranged Dad Dumps 80,000 Child Support Pennies; Daughter Donates Them

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Washington Post and WTVR.

Last month, one estranged Virginian dad dumped 80,000 pennies onto his ex-wife and daughters’ lawn for his “last child support payment”. The dad, who hadn’t spoken to his daughters in years, told WTVR “his actions were the result of 18 years of built-up frustration and his emotions got the best of him”. He also said “the last thing he wanted to do was to put a further wedge between him and his daughter”.

One of his daughters, Avery Sanford, had just turned 18 and was about to graduate from Deep Run High School. She said that her dad was trying to embarrass her mom, as well as her and her sister by proxy.

“It’s really hurtful and damaging to your kids when you do things like that. It doesn’t matter if they’re young or an adult, the actions of your parents will always have some effect on you,” Avery said.

Avery’s mom reported the incident to the police. According to the Washington Post, an officer responded at around 2:30pm and documented the incident. No charges were pressed.

Instead of dwelling on the 80,000 pennies spilled over her lawn, Avery chose to donate them to an emergency shelter called Safe Harbor. The shelter, which has been open since April 2000, is for survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking. According to the Washington Post, Safe Harbor says it has received an uptick in donations since Avery’s initial $800 donation was reported on WTVR. The donations total more than $5,000 and some people cite the family as a reason for donating.

Avery’s mom reportedly has no prior affiliation with Safe Harbor.

YouTube Comments

The comments on WTVR’s initial video are split between amusement at the number of pennies and support for the father in what’s perceived as a biased news report. Child support itself is a hot topic, especially as the dad was estranged.


One user jokingly writes, “80,000 pennies? Wow dude has been planning that ever since she was 3.” Another says, “Maybe its just me, yes its petty but he is paying child support….and we have no idea what his ex wife put him through….he said it himself he put up with it for 18yrs… ????.” Other commenters agree.

Many are commenting on the models of the cars and trying to link that to affluence. Others are jokingly referring to the dad as an ATM.

One user points out the logistics of the donation, saying that “the work required to process that donation in total cost the people involved more than $800. But at least it might help someone.”

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