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$165 'jar of coins' donation turns into $50,000+ after Tribune writer's tweet

More than 600 additional donations pour in
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Posted at 10:52 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 01:17:39-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Andy Larsen didn't set out to raise tens of thousands of dollars for families in need on Monday night, but that's exactly what happened.

The Utah Jazz and NBA writer — who also calls himself a "data journalist" since the COVID-19 pandemic hit — for The Salt Lake Tribune was just looking for someone who could use some help around the holiday season when he tweeted about the $165.84 donation he wanted to make after having a "big jar of coins" counted at the bank.

While some responded with individuals or organizations that would appreciate the assistance, an overwhelming number of people began chipping into, growing the donation exponentially.

It started with a few of his Twitter followers saying they'd like to add their similar amount to his once he found the right person or family who could use it. Then, more and more said the same thing and asked where they could send their money.

By midday Tuesday, more than 800 people had sent a total of over $50,000 to Larsen's Venmo account.

Larsen said he and the others chipping in had found plenty of Utah families who need help — mostly people who are out of work and struggling to afford their bills or Christmas presents, he said. Hundreds of families are expected to benefit from the donations.

"This started with my loose change ... and now it's like thousands of dinners/Christmas gifts," he added in a tweet.

His Venmo username is @andylarsen for anyone who would like to add to the growing fund.