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The annual Pennies by the Inch charity drive has been around for decades, but now the fifth- and sixth-grade classes at Mount Olympus Presbyterian Church, 3280 E. 3900 South, are aiming for "pennies by the mile."

The students are trying to collect 86,000 pennies by mid-July — enough to pay for one solar cell at a new hospital in the Solomon Islands.

It is 8,600 miles from Salt Lake to the Solomon Islands, so that's 10 pennies per mile.

The hospital there needs to meet electricity standards with 60 more solar panels (about $800 each) in order to be assigned a doctor.

According to Stefanie Shumaker, director of the children's ministry at the church, the kids have collected around 40,000 pennies so far.

"We would love to challenge the community to participate in this," she wrote in an e-mail. "They could send or drop pennies/money by the church office. ... It would be great to see how many solar panels we can purchase for this awesome project!"

The collection deadline is July 15.

"If our kids reach this goal before then, I will challenge them to keep going ... to raise enough for one or two more solar panels," Shumaker reported. "The Solomon Islands team has thus far raised enough money for 30 of the 60 panels."

A team of doctors and engineers will travel to the Solomon Islands this November to install the solar panels.