Veterinarian Jim Laurita has kicked off the Hope Elephants fundraising campaign after depositing nearly $1,700 worth of change collected over the past decade at the Laurita household into the bank.

Laurita, his son Louis Laurita and his niece Esme Power arrived at The First in Camden on May 17 with a dolly carrying a heavy jug of coins. The elephant jug has been at the Laurita house for more than 10 years and has been filled gradually with contributions from friends and family.

The campaign is to bring Rosie, a 42-year-old Asian elephant from a circus in Oklahoma to the Laurita’s home in Hope. The plan is to build a facility to perform high-end physical therapy on the elephant, who suffers from arthritis.

They were welcomed at The First in Camden by Vice President Steve Staples, and the crew proceeded in to the coin counting machine. The machine tray was filled and refilled, jamming along the way because of various golf tees, squashed pennies and an occasional button or piece of sea glass. After more than an hour of excitement, the final total, adding the paper money to the coin counting slip, was $1684.17.

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