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World responds with kindness after dad's vindictive final child support payment goes viral

Posted at 2:22 PM, Jun 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-12 14:56:12-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- By now you've seen the story of the Virginia dad who dumped 80,000 pennies outside his 18-year-old daughter's Henrico home and told her mom it was his final child support payment.

"It's not just my mom he's trying to embarrass, it's also me and my sister and it's upsetting that he didn't consider that before he did that," 18-year-old Avery Sanford told CBS 6 reporter Jon Burkett.

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The story went viral after it posted on WTVR.com, not just due to the video of the man dumping the coins, but because of what Avery and her mom did with the money.

They donated the cash to Safe Harbor, a Henrico-based non-profit that helps survivors of sexual and domestic violence and human trafficking.

"Turning around and donating that money to moms and children in need, I feel like that really turns this situation into a positive. You can learn from it," Avery said.

But the story does not end there.

RELATED: Dad dumps 80,000 pennies on mom's lawn as final child support payment. His daughter responds with kindness.

"I've been in fundraising for over 20 years. I've never experienced anything like this. Safe Harbor has never experienced anything like this," Mary Maupai, Development Director at Safe Harbor, said. "This will be one for the books for sure."

As news of the penny dump and subsequent donation made its way from WTVR.com, to national news websites, to cable news networks, Avery's poise and kindness resonated with people around the world.

Those people reached out to Safe Harbor.

"Our online donation page just blew up," Maupai said. "We've gotten over $47,000 worth of donations locally, nationally, internationally as far as England and beyond."

As the story continues to spread, Safe Harbor and the people helped by the nonprofit, continue to benefit.

"It's really been unbelievable. First of all, how the mom and daughter have taken this situation and made such a positive incident out of it. And it's just been a blessing for so many of our survivors, but also the good of humans," Maupai said. "It's neat to see people from all around the world are uplifting this young person and saying this is amazing what you've done."

Safe Harbor's waiting list has grown in length as the pandemic impacted the lives and mental health of so many people. Maupai said the sudden influx of donations will help them help more people.

"The timing of this could not be better," she said about the donations offsetting recent cuts in government funding. "We are just beyond grateful. I'm actually going to meet with the mom on Monday and I can't wait to share with her what her good deed has done and share with her daughter just the wonderful blessings that she's given folks, and the tremendous amount of good that's come out of this."

Avery Sanford's mom, Raven Sickal, also sent CBS 6 statement Friday in response to the outpouring of support:

"When I read about the donations, I sobbed," said Sickal. "It made both of us very emotional. This reach has been amazing and the thoughtfulness and kind gestures have been beyond anything we expected. We just wanted to turn this around and that's exactly what we did."

Here are samples of notes that accompanied the donations:

This is a donation on behalf of Avery Sanford. Way to take the high road. What a strong and beautiful gesture you made.
- CE

I also want to support the Sanford family and their generosity in the face of a very toxic act. Peace!
- BP

Because Avery Sanford is my hero. Congrats on the big birthday and the big heart. From Canada
- RB

Click here to make a donation.