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Hanover family's KindCoins 'inspire kindness and good in the community'
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Hanover family's KindCoins 'inspire kindness and good in the community'

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The small wooden coins aren’t flashy or high-tech, they’re not embedded with digital features and they surely can’t be confused with any sort of real currency.

At first glance, they’re not worth much. Their intrinsic value, however, is priceless.

KindCoins were created by the Parsons family of Hanover County, and the idea behind them is simple: Buy a KindCoin at one of three Hanover establishments — The Local Cup coffee shop, 360 Donuts or Little Bean Coffee Company — and give it to someone deserving or someone in need. The recipients redeem the coins at those businesses for coffee and other menu items.

Kevin Parsons and his sons, Brendon, 17, and Ethan, 15, are woodworking enthusiasts who often sell their wooden items — such wood blocks engraved with inspirational messages, Christmas ornaments and other items — inside the Local Cup.

But as a parent, Kevin Parsons said he’s become more keenly aware in recent years of how his kids view their turbulent world, and the coins were their way of working against that negativity. For now they buy the wooden coins, and use a laser engraver to add the company logos or messaging on one side, and the redeeming value on the other.

The simplicity of a wooden coin was intentional, in that it “goes opposite to the digital age,” Kevin Parsons said. “It’s something that’s tangible, that people can actually hand from one person to the next, for a reason or no reason at all.”

The response has been overwhelmingly positive — but maybe a little too much.

Local Cup Owner Christian Adams said he bought 250 coins and he’s mostly sold out — which is the idea, except that many people haven’t redeemed the coins yet. He said he’s hoping many of the coins will come back after the holidays if people have bought them as gifts. That way they can be sold again, and the kindness continues, which was the plan all along.

“You buy this coin, you look for the good in the community or a random act of kindness, or if you see someone need, you can hand this off to them,” Adams said, and that small act inspires others to do the same.

“We want to support local people as much as possible,” he added. “If you’re trying to inspire kindness and good in the community, that can never go wrong.”

While this is mostly a hobby for Kevin Parsons — and a way for his sons to make some money — he said he’s open to working with new businesses who want to sell the coins. He created a website — www.spaltlife.com — to take orders. Spalt, he said, is a white fungus that grows within trees when they fall and if cut in the proper time, gives the wood pieces some character.

Their Facebook page is The KindCoin Project.

“Based on what my kids have told me, how they feel out in the community, we just wanted to do something locally to try to promote change around us,” Kevin Parsons said. “With all the problems in the world out there, we wanted to do something … that counteracts that, even if it’s just a little bit.”

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