The Orange County Peace Coalition conducted its annual "Penny Poll" in front of the Franklin Street post office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Peace Coalition, which works to educate people about peace and justice issues, consists of 11 different organizations including UNC's Students United for a Responsible Global Environment.
The group set out six glass jars marked for education, environment, health care, housing, military and transportation. Another jar was marked "other," for administration, Congress, foreign affairs and the judiciary.
Passers-by were given 10 pennies and asked, "How would you like to spend your tax money?"
Participants placed pennies in the jars of their choice, indicating how they would spend tax dollars if they had the authority.
After "spending" their tax dollars, participants were shown how the federal government allocates spending.
Coalition member Margaret Misch said the goal of the Penny Poll is to educate the public. "People seem unaware of where their money goes," she said. "We feel there's excessive military spending at the expense of social causes nationally as well as internationally."
Many participants agreed that the government doesn't always fairly represent the American public.
"It seems like what everybody wants and what the government wants is different," said Mary Paden, 28, of Durham. "The government is allocating funds for the present rather than looking to the future."