Daughter Graciously Donates 80,000 Pennies Her Dad Dumped On Her Lawn As Child Support

Every child naturally wants to look up to their parents, but sometimes the people in our lives who are supposed to set a good example end up failing us. This was the case for one teenage girl who should have been having a celebration and instead got a rude surprise.

Avery Sanford from Richmond, Virginia, turned 18 in June 2021. She was working on schoolwork in an online class setting when her father pulled up to her house and dropped 80,000 pennies in front of her yard, claiming that it was his final child support payment. With no love or kindness to show his daughter on her birthday, Avery’s father left.

This was when Avery did something incredible. Instead of wallowing in grief for her lost relationship with her father, which she has every right to do, the teenage girl decided to do something that would help change the lives of those who desperately need it. Avery and her mother scooped up every penny they could and donated the money to a charity called Safe Harbor, which is a domestic abuse shelter in the area.

Avery has a bright future. At the time of this story, she had plans to start as a freshman at Virginia Tech in the Fall of 2021. The teenager has decided not to have a relationship with her father and said that she does not talk to him. When speaking with a reporter over the phone, Avery’s father claimed his emotions got the best of him, and he was not trying to bring about more conflict with his daughter. Keep reading to hear the rest of this story.


Avery and her family spoke about the incident with WTVR CBS 6. “I just turned 18,” she said. “When I was in the middle of class, my dad came by. He had rented a trailer.”

The teenage girl explained what happened next, saying, “He pulled up in front of our house, like turned the trailer on so it dumped out all the pennies in the street in front of our house. And my mom walked outside while it was happening. She didn’t recognize them at first. And she asked, what are you dumping on my lawn? And he said it’s your final child support payment. And that’s when she realized who it was,” Avery said.

Avery, being a smart girl, realized that her father was doing this in an attempt to get back at her mother. However, that does not mean the event did not affect her. Avery shared, “It’s not just her that he’d be trying to embarrass. It’s also me, it’s also my sister. And it’s upsetting that he didn’t really consider that before he did this.”

It was Avery and her mother’s idea to donate the money to charity. The daughter explained, “Turning around and donating that money to moms and children in need, like I feel like, that just really turns the situation into a positive one. You can learn a lesson from it.”

For only being 18, Avery had a very mature outlook on the situation. “It is really hurtful and damaging to your kids when you do things like that. And it doesn’t matter how old your kids are. It doesn’t matter if they’re a young child or an adult,” Avery said. “The actions of your parents will always have some effect on you.”


“They were able to turn such a negative experience, and what her daughter witnessed, into a positive,” Cathy Easter, executive director of Safe Harbor, told The Washington Post in June 2021. “They found a way to turn this around and not feel devastated about it.”

“The fact that these gifts are coming in at this time is just like a godsend,” Easter added. “I’m very sorry the family experienced this, but so grateful they reached out and chose to do this and share their story.” Safe Harbor Shelter offers lodging and help for survivors of sexual and domestic violence.

The Post further reported that since local media outlets picked up Avery’s story, donations had been pouring into Safe Harbor. In one week, the organization saw a $5,000 spike in donations, some of which specifically mentioned Avery and her mother’s story.

Video footage of Avery’s father on May 21, which you can watch below, showed the man pull up in an SUV and the trailer full of pennies. He then proceeded to dump the coins onto the lawn and the sidewalk before driving away.

“What are you dropping in my … yard?” Sanford’s mother said, according to The Post, which obtained home-security footage of the incident. The man replied, “It’s your last child-support payment.”

The Post added that an officer responded to the “domestic-related incident.”

“Henrico police documented the incident, however no charges were filed,” said Matt Pecka, Henrico County Police Lt.

Less than a week later, Mary Maupai of Safe Harbor received an email from a stranger: Avery’s mother. She explained that her daughter had to “witness this spectacle from her estranged father,” but also that she planned to donate to the shelter.

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What would you do if something like this happened to you? Would you also donate the money to those in need? Let us know your thoughts, and be sure to send this to your loved ones.

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