HAZARD – Nick Hoskins is always on the lookout for pennies and other coins, and when he finds them he makes sure they’re put to good use.
A sixth grader at R.W. Combs Elementary in Perry County, Hoskins has, over the past five years, donated nearly $2,000 to the Greg and Noreen Wells Hospice Care Center in Hazard. All of it was in the form of hard currency, mostly pennies, he has collected, found, or earned. He made his latest donation to hospice on Monday, where he left two coffee cans filled with one-cent pieces.
In 2008 at the age of eight, Hoskins got his start turning in pennies for his church. And when he found out about hospice, he said collecting money for the care center was simply something that he thought he should do.
“It’s a good cause, and makes me feel happy inside just to know you’re helping people who really need it,” he said this week.
The hospice center, which opened its new building less than two years ago, provides end-of-life care and routinely receives donations from the community. But it’s not often that these donations will come from someone as young and dedicated, noted Kim Livesay, the center’s director of annual giving.
“We do have a lot of young people who are affected by hospice because of grandparents or someone in, but Nick has been pretty amazing because he’s been doing this since 2008,” Livesay said. “In fact, when we had the ground opening for this building he brought in a lot of pennies, and he’s kept at it ever since. So he really has a heart for what we do here, and that’s very unusual for someone so young.”
Hoskins was also recognized on Monday by Sen. Brandon Smith and Rep. Fitz Steele for his dedication to hospice. Sen. Smith presented the 13-year-old with a Kentucky Senate proclamation, and it wasn’t the first time Smith recognized Hoskins for his work.
In 2011, as the new hospice care center was set to open, Smith told the Herald that Hoskins is setting an example for the younger generation to follow.
“Nick is a young man who decided he wanted to do something on his own,” Smith said then. “I encourage all of you to be a Nick.”