My weekday morning minyan recently merged into another one, so we're seeing some minor changes in customs. One that is new to me is: at the end of the torah service, as the torah is being carried through the congregation, somebody follows with a tzedakah box and most people contribute something. By the sound, most people drop in coins.
I haven't seen this before and asked somebody why we do it, and that person shrugged and said "it seems like an auspicious time". I agree with that assessment, but I still wonder about the custom. Is this one local community's innovation, or is it more widespread (and just not in my pre-merger minyan)? Is it based on anything specific?
I'm particularly curious about collecting tzedakah during any part of the torah service (not during the actual reading, of course). I wondered this morning if it was somehow tied to us just having said mi sheberach for healing. A comment suggests that it's the first opportunity so that might be why.