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United Airlines Turns Spare Change into Habitat Houses

Wanted: Spare Change

August 27, 1997 - United Airlines will turn spare change into houses over the next five years through its Habitat for Humanity Onboard Coin Collection Program.

The effort invites passengers on trans-Atlantic flights to donate spare international and domestic coins toward Habitat houses to be built by United Airlines employees. The first three houses are scheduled for construction this fall in London, England; Oakland, Calif.; and Newark, N.J. United hopes to collect enough money to fund several employee-built Habitat homes through 2001.

The coin collection program takes place on all of United’s daily trans-Atlantic flights between San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Newark, Washington, D.C. (Dulles), and London, Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Milan, Dusseldorf and Brussels. Flight attendants distribute donation envelopes in which passengers may place foreign or domestic currency.

“Many passengers flying home consider foreign change a nuisance since it can’t be converted back to domestic currency at a bank,” said Eileen Sweeney, manager of civic affairs for United. “We’re putting the money to good use for a good cause. It’s a unique combination of money and muscle.”