Coins tossed by people into the pool in the atrium at the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis aren’t just for making a wish.

Four times a year, crews clean out the reflecting pool in the center of the government center’s skyway level and collect the coins, donating the money to local charities.

On Tuesday, crews emptied the pool and collected the coins for Minneapolis nonprofit the Link and its Passageways program, which provides emergency shelter beds for teens and housing for youths ages 16 to 23 who have been sexually exploited.

Lorraine White, Passageways program manager, said in an e-mail that the money will help buy hygiene items, blankets and sheets, towels and craft items, and also pay for bus and cab fares.

A commissioner on the seven-member County Board picks a charity to support each quarter; this time, Commissioner Marion Greene designated the Link to receive the money because it helps youths countywide.

“It’s helping out in little ways,” she said.

Hennepin County has donated the pool’s coins since 1988. While the collection usually comes to little more than $400 at a time, the total over 28 years has amounted to $18,000 for charities across Minneapolis and west metro suburbs.

Recipients in 2016 included Plymouth Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, We Can Ride Therapeutic Horseback Riding in Minnetonka and Mobile Hope in Corcoran.