I have spent many hours reviewing the entries for our Pay It Forward giveaway. I really wish I could hand out over $29,000 to give out so that everyone could pay it forward who entered. But I’m not Oprah. Just a guy trying to influence others to help out those in need. Below are the 3 winning entries. They have a huge task ahead of them, and were picked based on many prayers put forth to pick appropriate winners. I might offend some, or hurt some ones feelings. But if you were not picked, or simply never entered, you can still be a “winner”, by finding any way you can to help someone in need. We are all in need but there is ALWAYS some one else in more of a need. You don’t need to spend money to help. Just simply give of yourself. We would love to hear how you helped, and will put a post on weekends showing the others you helped.
I involve myself in the project of “Any Soldier.com”. It is an organization that sends packages to our soldiers in the war areas of Iraq and Afghanistan. They provide an avenue to get our letters and packages to the soldiers in these area of combat. It has the highest rating from a watchdog group for non-profit organizations. The idea behind this is to go to their site read their letters and their needs and then write or send them packages with lots of love. The items they request are usually the simple comforts of home. I like to coupon and get free items such as shower gel, BABY WIPES, q-tips (to keep their guns clean) toilet paper, lotion, chap-stick, fragrance so they can have a simple sleep without all the odors that are present, SNACKS, anything that is easy to throw in a microwave and eat after an 18 hour shift and the chow hall is closed, shampoo etc., etc. The FOB’s (Forward Operating Bases) are the most severely deserving. They only get supplies delivered on a spasmodic time schedule and of course the greatest needs are sent first. The supply helo has to go into very high risk areas to deliver their cargo. Weather, combatants, landing conditions, etc. are always great concerns. I have read the most heart breaking stories from these men and women on the line. They are so very grateful for the smallest of things.
I stash away my items I get free or for little cost and when I have the money and enough to fill I box I send it. The hardest thing is to chose which Any Soldier contact to send it to. They are all so deserving of my time, effort, and encouragement. Because of financial hardships that we have had in our family, it has been very hard to find the extra $15 dollars to send the package once it is full. So if you were to choose me and my idea I would be able to send approximately 7 packages for the holiday season the cheer up those that are around the world helping to keep America free from enemy terrorists. Those 7 packages might mean dozens and dozens of smiles and thankful hearts. In fact, I’m sure it will. They sometime write back to me and those letters have become treasures.
Please take the time to check out the site, Any Soldier.com, it will change your life. As their slogan says, “Freedom Isn’t Free, Just Ask any Soldier”.
I appreciate all you do to keep me afloat. You are truly a special person that has been blessed with a compassionate heart.
On the second saturday of every month, our college group at church goes downtown and cooks a meal for the homeless and takes clothes and supplies for them. We do this completely on our own, and money is tight on a college student budget. We feed almost 100 people each time we go. Cooking a hot meal on a bugdet is difficult for that many people, but from the tips I have learned from this site, we are able to stretch it a lot further. We try to budget $50 a month on food. This $100 would allow us to not have to worry about the food and use the money to buy some material to make blankets for them for winter. Some of the children need shoes and we can get them discounted if we have just $20. It would be such a blessing to have this money and would touch the lives of so many people for more than just one day. Thank you for your sweet spirit and willingness to help others.
I’ve been thinking on this for a while now, and as couponers we know the best way to save isn’t to go and spend $100 all at once it’s all about patience and stocking up on sales. That said I think I could help a LOT of people by using it at Walgreens toward register rewards. If I spent $25 on RR deals the first week and got $17 back in RR. The next week I could spend $10 cash and $17 RR. This way the giving could happen for many many weeks, I would say at least 10 weeks of giving. I wouldn’t have to depleat coupons I honestly need for my family and with just a little extra each week make a big impact. This is something someone who doesn’t win the money could even do with whatever amount of money they feel comfortable starting with (even $10 at walgreens used wisly could turn into $60 worth of needed goods for shelters.) Anyway we have a family homeless shelter called “The Haven” less than a mile from my house and each week I could take my giving envelope with the cash and RR from this $100 and get as many “free” items and new RR to put back in the giving envelope. That way the giving might never have to end. Each week my girls and I could drop off much needed goods to the shelter (I may not need more toothpaste and bandaids, but I know they do 🙂 ) What a lesson on giving I could teach them by giving once a week to those in need. It is something I think we could all do to one extent or another. (We have a batered womens shelter I’ve been saving items for this year and it feels good to have curling irons, tampons, razors etc that will mean much more to them than the $2 or $.75 they cost me.) Anyway I would use it to help the couponer way and wait till I could make it go the farthest to help as many people as possible. Each week I could send a photo of what we got and what we spent and what RR we added to it. It would be such a lesson for my girls on giving and it would be so fun to watch the shelter and see how excited they’d be to get their weekly delivery thanks to “A Thrifty Mom.” I would love to do this on my own more than I am already but couldn’t do it on this level or scale with out the $100 to start. We can all do this on some level though. Hopefully I will at least inspire others to give this a try. THanks for this cool givaway. It is so much more fullfilling to give than recieve and we would definately get more back by doing our weekly Walgreens giving than by spending it on us. I hope I explained my plan well enough, but I really think this would be fun and it would be neat to check in each week and remind everyone how much a little can do for others. Congratulations on your blog-you do a great job!