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Difference Makers: Making Change

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Seventh-grader Anna Murphy raises money to help keep families in her hometown warm

Anna Murphy’s family always collected pennies to help pay the heating bills of struggling people in their hometown of Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Even when Anna's father lost his job, her parents made sure the practice continued.

"We were trying to teach the kids that giving to other people was still important," says Anna's mom, Rebecca. "It wasn't necessarily what we received, but what we could give to others."

The lesson got through to Anna, who took the idea back to school with her. She led her fourth-grade class in doing chores to fund-raise for more families struggling to pay their heating bills.

Anna, a soccer player, is now 13 years old, and her class project has grown with her into a full-fledged charity called Warming Families Makes Cents. So far, it has managed to raise over $15,000, helping 30 families stay warm over the past four winters.

That success comes from a variety of initiatives, including collection buckets in local businesses and a 5K race. Going forward, Anna hopes to help more families in Stafford Springs (her goal is 100 in the next few years), while expanding Warming Families Makes Cents to other states.

To learn more and donate, visit

Photo courtesy Todd Levesque

difference makers june 2015 anna murphy