Effects of federal coin shortage felt in East Texas

How some East Texas businesses are adapting to a national coin shortage

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Most of us have a wealth of change hidden in our cars and between couch cushions, but some local businesses in East Texas have been seeing the effects of the federal coin shortage.

On Monday mornings, you can find Judy West at her bank picking up change for the cash registers at Bethesda clinic stores,' Hangers of Hope, but last Monday she left empty-handed. West explains that “the bank was not able to give us change. They said this was because of a federal change shortage due to the COVID shutdown and that they would not be able to issue us coin change.”

The Federal Reserve released a statement stating there’s been a significant decline in both the production of coins and the amount people have used them in recent months. With a shortage of coins means you might not get exact change at check out or you’ll have to pay with a card. West explains why this isn’t the ideal, “we were very concerned. To have our customers pay all by credit card and no cash would be a concern because some people don’t have the credit card.”

To stay ahead of the shortage, West and others reached out to the Bethesda Clinic for help promoting their spontaneous need of change. They sent a blast email out to volunteers and posted on Facebook asking people to come in and either donate change or trade their cash bills for coins. The response was faster and bigger than she could’ve imagined.

“It was immediate. Within two hours we had people coming through our door that had rolled changed for us,” West tells us.

In less than a week, Hangers of Hope raised two thousand dollars and they’re thankful the community was there when they needed it. In fact, only four hundred out of the two thousand dollars they raised was traded in from customers -- the rest was simply donated by loyal volunteers and members of the East Texas community.

Other retailers haven’t seen an impact of the coin shortage but CEO of Hand Up Network, Sam Smith, is convinced this tricky time won’t last.

“We need to really focus back on the moral compass and realize that our community is a community. We’re here to support each other and if we all work together and stop the political back and forth, we’re gonna find a way to get through this and we’re gonna find a way to make sure everyone in this community is taken care of,” Smith said.

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