A campaign begun on the East Coast to raise money for the world's impoverished children is moving West.
As early as Dec. 15, Northwest Airlines travelers returning to Los Angeles from Japan with foreign coins in their pockets will be invited to donate that change to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
The Northwest collection program, announced in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, brings to the West Coast a program started by UNICEF with Virgin Atlantic Airways. The airline, which has two flights a day between London and Newark, has raised $10,000 a month since July by asking passengers to drop foreign coins in envelopes bound into Virgin Atlantic's in-flight magazine. Impressed by the proceeds from Virgin Atlantic, UNICEF officials began to solicit major American airlines for the program. After Northwest announced its participation Tuesday, a Continental Airlines spokesman said his company would also join the program. Continental, however, has not decided whether it will collect money in Los Angeles or Honolulu, which is its Western hub.
The money will be collected in envelopes placed on each passenger's tray at mealtime, according to Lloyd Warren, vice president for in-flight services for Northwest. Preceding distribution of the envelopes, Warren said the airline will screen a short video explaining the program.