1.08.2013

The 26th Act of Kindness

It started with a Facebook Status on Monday, December 17th just 3 days after the terrible tragedy in Newtown. 
Earlier that day, I had emailed my friend Laura (who lives in Newtown and who's youngest 2 kids attend Sandy Hook Elementary) I asked Laura what their favorite pizza place was in Newtown. For one of my 26 Acts of Kindness, I wanted to call the pizza place and pay for a pizza to be delivered Laura's house that week so that one night she didn't have to worry about what was for dinner. Laura wrote me back letting me know that I didn't need to to that, and that they were taken care of for the week. 
Well, I didn't want to take no for answer....I was feeling helpless about the tradegy in Newtown and I wanted to do SOMETHING that would directly help the people/families/community of Sandy Hook.
I got an idea & posted it on FB to see if any of my friends could help.

This is what my status update said:
“Like some of you have heard, my friend Laura lives is Newtown & her 2 youngest kids go to Sandy Hook Elementary. Thankfully, her kids survived because their teachers hid them and kept them safe. Her daughter is a 4th grader & her son is a 1st grader and they both saw a lot of horror that day and lost friends & classmates. I want to do something nice for Laura & her kids. I was thinking about sending them some giftcards to Coldstone, Starbucks, Panera Bread, etc, so that they can enjoy a fun treat like ice cream or a hot coco or she take her kids out to lunch and not worry about the cost. I know that the ice cream or treat won't make the situation better for them, but thought it might be a nice gesture knowing that we are thinking of them here in California. Here is where you come in. If you would like to donate a couple dollars, a small gift card or a even a note, please let me know. I am hoping to send them to her in the next week so that they can use some of them during their Winter Break.”

What happened in the minutes, hours & days after my status update completely AMAZED me. People started commenting and wanting to donate. That night, within 3 hours I had over $500 in paypal donations. Then, my FB friends started sharing my status & more donations kept coming in.

On the days that followed this week, I had friends, neighbors & fellow teachers at my school giving me Gift cards. People just wanted to give & help out.  The money, the gift cards, they just kept rolling in. 
 
My friend Heidi, who was one of my soccer teammates at University of Colorado (and now works for Nike) sent Laura's kids new Nike's. The note she included with the shoes said this, 
"New shoes for the many wonderful steps forward that you will take in these shoes. God Bless You!"
 
 My friend Jon’s father in law is best friends with NFL Hall of Famer John Madden, and got John Madden to sign a football for Laura's husband (who is obsessed with football)
 
Jon's dad gave me his FedEx account number to use for shipping the package which ensured that every single penny that people donated went to the people of Sandy Hook.

People just kept giving & giving & giving. 
Why? 
Because what happened in Newtown could have happened in any of our towns. 
Their tears are our tears. 
Their heartbreak is being felt across the country. 
People just wanted to help.



The donations kept coming in that week…$5 here, $10 there, some $50 donations, a $75 donation. $5 gift cards, $10 gift cards, $15 gift cards, $25 gift cards, $30 and $40 gift cards.

 PEOPLE JUST KEPT GIVING.



I WAS OVERWHELMED.



On Friday December 21, 2012  I had gotten $1305 in cash donations.
  I decided to do some Christmas shopping for her family in the form of gift cards.

I also got 2 big gift cards to Lakeshore Learning Store for her kid's teachers so that they could get things for their new classrooms (Sandy Hook Elementary has been relocated to a new school site). I thought they would like to get some things for their new classrooms. 


In addition to the cash donations, there were also $280 in various gift cards that were donated.


So, on Friday, the 21st, my friend Jon came over to my house and helped me package up all the items and get them to FedEx in time.
GIFT CARD MADNESS!!!!
 

The box was filled with gift cards, notes, a burlap "Shine" bunting, the John Madden football & teddy bears
We wanted to make sure that Laura & family got the package by Christmas Eve, so we sent it overnight via FedEx using Jon's dad's account.
 
We made it to FedEx at 4:53 pm...just in time for the 5:00pm cutoff. We decided to do Overnight delivery, so that it would get there ASAP.
 
 That night, I couldn't sleep. I woke up every hour. I kept having dreams/nightmares that the package got lost or stolen
Laura had NO idea this was going on. (She deleted her FB last year and I didn't post it on my blog because she reads my blog. Hi Laura!!!!!)
 All I told her was that there would be a FedEx package delivered to her house on Saturday.
All day Saturday, I kept checking the tracking number to see if it was delivered.
Finally, it was safe in the hands of Laura & Family. Delivered.
 

 We got SO many gift cards donated, so I told Laura to use & keep whichever ones you want. For the ones you won’t need, just give them away to other families in your community and at Sandy Hook School.


It's all about Spreading the LOVE.
I wrote a letter & added this at the end of the letter to Laura:
Despite the tradgey in your town, May you feel and know the HOPE  and JOY that CHRISTmas is all about. JESUS…we LOVE because HE first LOVED us. Here to save us and give us PEACE.  

Laura wrote me the nicest email & is so thankful. 
This was part of her note:
"To all your friends who donated to this most awesome package, THANK YOU from the bottom of our broken hearts. You have put smiles on some very sad faces. God Bless you all. You have given & shown us the true meaning of Christmas"  

But, the 26th Act of Kindness didn't end there....after that package was sent on the 21st, people still kept giving me things to send to Newtown. Homemade cards & notes. More gift cards.
I will be sending out a second package to Laura in the nex week, filled with more gift card & goodies.

One of my FB friend's daughter's birthday party is next week and in lieu of presents for her daughter, she is having guests bring a book that will be sent to Laura and donated to the new Sandy Hook Elementary.
Another friend is having a necklace made for Laura.
 People just want to give and I am humbled.
Thankful that God used me in this project.
All I did was a status update. Everyone else responded.
To God be the Glory.  
  Are you ready for some totals?
 $1790 cash was donated that was used to purchase gift cards
$1150 in various giftcards to Stabucks, Coldstone, Barnes & Noble, Subway and Target (to name a few) were donated.

For a grand total of  $2940
 Almost $3000 in donations. 

UNBELIEVABLE.
This total doesn't include the Nike Shoes, the signed John Madden Football, the banner, the books & the necklace that were donated

All for the people & families of Newtown.
Laura will be spreading the love and  handing out the cards to the community of Sandy Hook.
Specifically to families of the victims (who Laura's children were friends with)
 Also, to their clergy at Saint Rose who have worked 24/7 with the entire community..spending nights at the homes of the victims, and leading them all through this horrible time. 
Laura will also be handing out the extra gift cards to the teachers at Sandy Hook School.
  

I have had many tears over the past few weeks, streaming down my face…overwhelmed by my friends willingness to spread Love to Laura's family and the other families of Newtown & Sandy Hook.
So there you have it....the 26th Act of Kindness, aka GIFT CARD MADNESS!
 I told you this needed it's own post!!!!! 


Again, I will say it......TO GOD be the GLORY!
All I did was post a status update. 
God did the rest.
Way, Way, WAY more than I ever thought or imagined.
All because Laura didn't let me order her a damn pizza :) 

27 comments:

  1. Goosebumps! What a wonderful story!

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  2. Wow. Sitting here with tears running down my face. That is so AWESOME. What a special heart you have and God bless all the people that helped and especially your friend Laura and her family. Great great job!!!!!

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  3. It is absolutely amazing to see God's work. This post has my spirit feeling so uplifted to hear about so much kindness. And I love your last line about all bc she didn't let you order a pizza. Clearly God had bigger things planned.

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  4. Okay that was so sweet! It is 6:30 in the morning and I am bawling my eyes out my poor husband thought something was wrong! It is so amazing the work of God! God bless you!

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  5. To GOD be the glory. Oh how incredible! love this, love people's hearts, and love you friend!

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  6. as if I could not like you anymore! Great work. Our God is amazing and worked great things thru you dear!

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  7. I have chills! This is beautiful beyond words! I pray that YOU are blessed for being such a blessing to others!

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  8. I am bawling... I wish I would've known Mel, I don't have FB otherwise I would have sent you something also. I would love to still help :)
    so awesome to see the love of Jesus shown! Love your heart Mel!!

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  9. Amazing.
    I am now sitting in my office at work with tears streaming down my face.
    Our God is an awesome God.

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  10. Wow, that is such an amazing person. I seriously don't know how you do it. You do so much neat stuff for your kids, blog, work, and still have time to amazing stuff for others like this. You are TRULY an inspiration for me to be less selfish and think of others.

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  11. Wow! What an amazing post! Your are such an amazing women and will be bringing joy to some very sad people!

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  12. God is Good. I cannot comprehend His amazing loving kindness. Thank you for being willing to be used by God!!

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  13. Love this...in fact it touched my heart in such a way that I just had to do my own post about it.

    Thank you for being YOU!

    Hugs,
    Trisha

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  14. Tears, tears and more tears. On my knees in praise of Him. He knew exactly who to work through...bless your loving heart Mel! And all of your friends and followers who met the call too! Thank You Heavenly Father for showing us the good in something so horribly wrong. Amen.

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  15. Wow. That is absolutely incredible. Just. Wow.

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  16. That is amazing! Brought tears to my eyes being a teacher like yourself.
    Erika

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  17. What an amazing story! It's wonderful to see the kindness of others!

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  18. Wow! This totally made me cry. God is so good....even when people are bad. God bless

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  19. Wow amazing!! Just one more reason why I just love your blog...
    Hope you are having a good week and getting some sleep!!

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  20. Love this! So cool how God works. Ephesians 3:20 is one of my favorite verses!

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  21. I would have loved to be a part of this! Like you, I felt so helpless when the tragedy occurred. I know that the residents of that community felt your love.

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  22. God works in the worst of circumstances to bring incredible blessings. What an overwhelming amount of generosity and kindness. It was really a moment of re-prioritization for us all. My husband's coworker (in their CT office) lost his daughter that day. I've hugged my children harder and appreciated each moment even more. Thanks for sharing this with us.

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  24. I am just amazed and so inspired. When we allow God to use us, just by being obedient and taking one step forward, he totally honors and blesses it, doesn't he?
    thank you for taking the step and for allowing him to use you like this. i am sure it was a huge blessing for you as well to see how many people came together for laura and her family.
    amazing. again... so inspiring.

    {p.s, accidentally posted under my husbands before this ;)}

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