alms box

Mite box

The term mite box (also alms box or poor box) refers to a box that is used to save coins for charitable purposes. Contemporary mite boxes are usually made of cardboard and given out to church congregations during the Lenten season. The mite boxes are collected by the church and donations are given to the poor. Mite boxes are popular with children because they can fill them with small change and it teaches them the principle of giving to the poor. The Mite box giving promotes the spirit of contributing based on the intent to help others and not on the monetary amount.

The term mite, according to the dictionary, is defined as one of the following:

  • 1. a very small contribution or amount of money, such as a widow's mite.
  • 2. a very small object, creature, or particle.
  • 3. a coin of very small value, especially an obsolete British coin worth half a farthing.

The etymology of the word mite comes through Middle English and Middle Dutch from the Middle Low German mīte, a small Flemish coin or tiny animal. In biblical times a mite or lepton was a small coin of almost no worth.

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