This post originally appeared on The Bloggess.
The past few days have been a whirlwind, and I’m exhausted and have given myself hives so please forgive the typos.
A few days ago I put up a post offering $30 gift cards to the first twenty people who didn’t know how they were going to give their kids Christmas gifts this year. They went frighteningly quickly. When I got to the twentieth person, I saw that there were still a few more people who needed help, and my heart sunk. Then a few comments in, one person said, “I’ll take care of the 21st person.” Then another person offered a card for the 22nd. Then another. Then it avalanched.
In the past few days, that post has gotten over 500 comments and so many heart-breaking requests from people who need a small hand-up to buy food for Christmas dinner or from people who are planning on telling their children that there is no Santa because otherwise they wouldn’t understand why he didn’t come.
It’s hard not to read the comments and not ache a little because so many of us have either been there or see how easy it would be to be in their position one day. But here’s the amazing thing ... every time someone would leave a comment asking for help, someone else would leave a comment asking to help. And that’s why as of Friday morning, every single person who asked for help here is matched up with at least one person who will be sending them a gift card. In fact, so many people offered to help that we were able to give out multiple gift cards to people who had a greater need. And when things seemed dicey and I was about to call for an end to comments, a wonderful man emailed me and told me that he’s so enjoyed the community on this blog that he wanted to donate $1,000, no questions asked. So, ten people who were really struggling woke up this morning to $100 in their PayPal accounts.
Another reader offered $250 to a family in desperate need. A doll-clothes store owner sent sent seven beautiful Madame Alexander/American Girl dolls to wait under the tree for seven little girls who truly needed a single happy surprise in their lives right now.
People getting the gift cards are vowing to pay the gift forward next year. Emails are flooding in from people in shock, in tears and so grateful. And the funny thing is that half of those crying, grateful people are the ones who are donating. They’re so happy to have finally felt something warm and true that they’re feeling a Christmas spirit for the first time since they were children.
I know exactly what they mean.
Thank you. Thank you for donating and thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for asking for help so that others can feel like miracle workers. Thank you for kind words and thoughts and for being you. Thank you.
I’m going out of town for the weekend to pick up my mom and bring her here for Christmas, but if you’ve asked for help and haven’t received it by Monday then just leave me a comment next week and I’ll see if I can find another donor to help you. And if you still want to help, leave a comment, too. There are still people trickling in and we may need some angels to swoop in on Monday in case any of the matches flake out.
PS. I just want to point out that my traffic the last two days has been exactly the same as usual. What that means to me is that the people donating and the people receiving are all part of the usual community of people who regularly read and comment at The Bloggess. That. Is. Amazing. And I’m so proud to be part of this community. You guys are the best minions ever.
UPDATE: So many people have gone on their own blogs to offer up their own gift cards to people in need, and it’s amazing. Thank you! One of those people is the amazing Maureen Johnson who helped a ton of people herself but still has twenty more people in dire need. If you still want to donate, I have their addresses and I can set you up to perform a small Christmas miracle. Just leave a comment. I’ll be here for the next two hours at least if you can donate.
UPDATE AGAIN: A lot of you have asked if you could just PayPal me money to give to the people in need. You totally can, but I’ll have to pay taxes on that money since it goes into my account, so it’s not as ideal as you getting matched with someone and sending them the card directly, but if you’d rather just give money you can PayPal me at email@example.com. Don’t spam me or I will stab you.
SATURDAY UPDATE: As of right now (noon Saturday) I have emailed hundreds of donors and over 500 gift cards are scheduled to go out to people who need help. If everything goes as planned (Please, God, let it go as planned) everyone who has asked for help as of this moment will get at least one gift card and many will get several. Some got cash for medicine. Some got money so they could keep the electricity on and buy food for Christmas dinner. Some only asked for help in buying presents for their brothers or sisters so their moms wouldn’t be so worried. Some received help and then got more help than they needed and decided to turn around and become a donor themselves. I wish I could tell you what this has meant to me, but there aren’t words for it. The emails and comments coming in from people who got a Christmas miracle are incredible, but the ones from people so thankful to be able to help are even more moving. Right now we still have a few more donors available and another 20 are standing by in case someone who asked for a donation hasn’t heard anything from their donor by Monday.
That’s one hell of a Christmas miracle, y’all.
This calls for a theme song.
Thank you for making me believe again.
UPDATE (10 a.m. Sunday morning): As of this minute (barring any mistakes) we’ve matched everyone who asked for help with at least one donor and we still have a few donors on standby for emergencies. So far over 600 gift cards have gone out to provide a Christmas miracle for strangers in need. If you wanted to help but haven’t heard from me please leave another comment. I’m sure by Monday we’ll need more to fill in any gaps. Now if you’ll excuse me, my hands are about to fall off.
Editor's Note: If you want to help donate, please leave comments at The Bloggess to be sure Jenny sees them in time.
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