By CLAIRE ST. JOHN
A large, water-filled glass jar with a shot glass at the bottom sits squarely on the Twain Harte 7-Eleven counter.
All year long, the jar fills with spare change. Some people aim a quarter for that shot glass to get free Slurpees.
Others throw in more, knowing the money will clothe disadvantaged children right when they need it the most in the cold of winter and the warmth of the holidays.
The jar first hit the counter in 1992, when Thomas and Patsy Moebs moved to Twain Harte to take over the local 7-Eleven. Twain Harte proved a good business opportunity for the couple who have run 7-Elevens for 25 years, and they wanted to give something in return.
That first year, $850 worth of change tumbled into the jar, and the Moebs took a group of eight children to K-Mart to buy new clothes.
Last Saturday, 44 children split $6,000 between them for a trip to Wal-Mart and dinner at the Pizza Factory, where they met Santa over pies. The children are nominated by teachers in the Twain Harte-Long Barn School District.
This kind of contribution to the Twain Harte community impressed local resident and 7-Eleven shopper Charlene Heller enough that she wrote a letter to Family Circle, a national magazine that recognizes local do-gooders during the holiday season.
"It took about six months for it all to transpire, but they were chosen," said Stu Heller. "I'm pretty sure they were one of four (to be featured.) That's pretty special."
The Moebs were interviewed from New York and photographed by a photojournalist from San Francisco who took more than 70 pictures of the couple with their jar.
"I'm all pictured out," Patsy said.
The Hellers are two of many people who contribute more than just change to the jar. The Moebs only fish out about $1,200 in change. The bulk of the $6,000 came via checks and cash that the Moebs deposit in a separate account.
"There is tremendous enthusiasm from volunteers from the community," Patsy said.