Eight-year-old Vijay Sheth has a lot going on: he just started third-grade at Chestatee Elementary School, he’s planning to buy a computer and, over the last month, he has exchanged more than $9,000 in change and opened a savings account after hearing about the ongoing national coin shortage.
“When we heard about the change shortage, we told Vijay,” said his mom, Brandy Ponder, “and Vijay was like, ‘I’ve got change. I want to help.’”
It total, the family brought in four water cooler jugs filled with change, which took nine years to collect, starting before Vijay was born, and a month of work between Ponder being the counter, Vijay’s dad, Amar Sheth, being the main roller, some help from his cousin Landon and Vijay in charge of sorting change “until Fortnite became involved, he had to take breaks,” Ponder said.
“If we see pennies or dimes or anything on the ground, we pick them up, so does he,” she said.
While most of the money is staying in the bank, there are a few things Vijay wants to spend some of it on, notably a new PC and monitor to help with his goal of being n online streamer.
When asked his plans, Vijay said he would “Probably buy stuff that I want and donate some to charity.”
“He likes to do charity things, so with some of his money, he actually wants to do bag lunches for the homeless people,” Ponder said.
After she heard rumors about the coin shortage and talked to Vijay, Ponder reached out to Parker King with Regions Bank at 3270 Dahlonega Highway, to see if there was a shortage and how bad it was.
“My answer to her was, ‘Yes, it absolutely is real,” he said. “We were getting to where we weren’t able to get change from the federal reserve at all, so I said, ‘If you’ve got change, go ahead and roll it, we’ll give you some rollers.”
King said the exchange meant “the North Forsyth area has been able to keep running based off of a kid’s savings, which is pretty awesome.”
He said while some other customers had been bringing in change, but not in this big of amounts.
“We’ve seen a little bit, but nothing this size,” he said. “We’ve seen a little bit where people have started to roll their coins, bring them by. A lot of people will make a point to roll it now because they know it’s a shortage.”
Ponder said Vijay has some other, collectible coins and bills that he did not exchange and is already saving up even more money.
“He’s very smart, like, he doesn’t spend his money, he puts it in the jars,” she said. “We’ve already started another one, but we’re not going to let it get to where this point was.”