I’m sure that most of us are familiar with the concept behind ‘take a penny, leave a penny.’ We may have seen it in a local convenience store or gas station growing up, and may have even used or contributed to it at one point or another.

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For those who aren’t familiar with it, the concept behind it is quite simple: any customer who receives small change they do not want can leave it behind in the designated container, and any customer who finds themselves short by a small amount when purchasing something can borrow from the existing pot.

Despite its inherent simplicity, the notion is both helpful and surprisingly profound, as it is a small example of the community-based environment many of us would love to be a part of.

But what if we took it to a bigger scale? That’s exactly what the group at The Toolbox did as part of a social experiment. The group built their own standing bulletin board, pinned it with $40 of small bills, and left it to the populace of LA to use and contribute to. Check it out:

Give What You Can, Take What You Need

I believe the title of ‘Give What You Can, Take What You Need’ really set the stage for an incredible social experiment that seemed to touch the lives of many LA residents. We often forget how much of a disparity exists between the various economic classes of the world, and how easy it can be for us to help close that gap, even through small measures.

I particularly appreciated how even those who found themselves in the position of needing to take from the board always left something behind, truly only taking what they personally needed in that moment. They didn’t let their own hardship destroy their empathy towards the needs of others, knowing that the money could also serve more individuals who, like themselves, are currently faced with hard times.

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Seeing how many people interacted with the board shows how impactful social experiments can be in both raising awareness and lifting spirits. Despite having done many before through our work at CE, seeing videos such as this further inspires me to make them an even more regular part of our organization.


What are your thoughts on the social experiment? Do you believe it would work just as effectively in your own community? Let us know via the comment section below!

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