Awesome!! They look delicious too.
Such a good idea, and very cool to see the little one involved, too! Love seeing all the happy faces in these pictures
I was so excited to partner with Rockstar Finance and their Giving Card Project. From the moment my card arrived I was contemplating ways to give back in my work environment. I work for a cleaning and restoration company and our guys do some of the dirtiest cleanups! And they’re usually in homes with no AC, in the scorching Texas heat! I admire our mission because we help others in times of disaster: flooding, fires and storm recovery. When I mentioned the idea of a company lunch my coworkers we’re quick to pitch in. So much so, that we we’re able to offer lunch to our employees as well as customers stopping by for supplies.
Thank you Rockstars for brightening everyone’s day and reminding us to pay it forward!
YES - free food for working folks, with pictures to prove it . . . perfect, thank you!
I did one myself this month, too . . . here’s what happened:
I carry one #GivingCard in my wallet at all times, and I was at a meeting in Chicago a couple weeks ago. I drove down to meet a friend on the west side of town, and then took and Uber into the city so I wouldn’t have to worry about looking for or paying for parking for my one-hour meeting downtown. Upon driving back to my car, the Uber driving started chatting with me (talking to people is hard for me - sigh), and we made small talk for a while.
Then he asked what my meeting was about, and it happened to be about #GivingCards, so I told him the story about how we give out these gift cards each month, etc. Then he asked me, “Are you a millionaire?” And I laughed and I laughed.
I did not expect to laugh on that ride, friends. But after I was done I told him that in fact I was not, and neither are most of the people who participate - we just want to give back where and when and how we can. I then told him that I had one more card left, and would he like it to do something positive with in his community. At first he refused, and I said okay, and returned the card to my wallet, but a few minutes later, he said that he did know of a young woman who works at McDonald’s, and they’re closing down her restaurant for two weeks for renovation, so she won’t be working during that time, and she was concerned about making her bills. He said that if possible, he would give the card to her to help buy groceries for her family.
So I pulled the card back out and handed it to him, and told him not to worry about sharing the story in the forums, that I would do it for him. So, Cory, this one’s for you. Thanks for helping out your young, hard-working friend this month.
When will the new one be posted? I keep missing out, and I’d love to join again!
I’m actually working on everything right now, and we’ll kick off April’s mission probably on Monday, I think…
Oh that is a great story, Nate. I’m glad he is going to the young woman at McDonald’s who will be out of work for two weeks .What a great way to use the #givingcards
RCF #GivingCards Project - March 2017: Ping-Pong, Pizza, and The Library
$132 worth of pizza.
Before we knew were going to obtain one of the $100 #GivingCards, my father and I already had a plan in place to support a large group of people. A group of people that, collectively has been a major influence on my life since the time I could read and even more so in the recent months – the staff and patrons of the Monroe County Public Library (MCPL). I lived at the library between sports and work as a kid, and I was always devouring books (still do).
I submitted the form stating my reasons why and how we would use the $100 #GivingCard with the caveat that the only way we would take it is if someone else did not need it more. A few days later, I received an email from Nate stating that I would be getting the $100 #GivingCard in the mail in the coming week.
With our $100 #GivingCard and monthly $40, my father and I now had a total of $140 to spend this month on the MCPL.
Now came the hard part – I had spoken, albeit lightly, to some of the staff at the MCPL about buying pizza for the staff and patrons. I was graciously told that it had been done before, but I would just have to contact the proper people to make sure and follow the correct protocol. So far this was going way too easy so I kept waiting for something to creep up and ruin the master plan down and I would have to explain to Nate, J. Money, and Qoins, how I would not be able to use the #GivingCard as intended.
To quote The Joker, “I’m a man of my word.” So, having to explain that I could not follow through on a task is not something I wanted to do.
I decided to navigate to the MCPL contact page and scanned the names and phone numbers and picked the one I thought would fit best.
Folks, in case you haven’t noticed, I have a real scientific method to my madness.
THE INITIAL CALL
The fortunate individual who was lucky enough to be picked by me was Mr. Josh Wolf – Community Engagement and Learning Services Manager at the MCPL.
His title seemed the most appropriate so I thought ‘What the hell? That is a good place to start.”
Josh was excited about the idea when he called me back and said he needed to run it past the other staff members before moving forward.
Fast forward to the next day, and I have an email in my inbox from Mr. Kevin MacDowell stating that he is the Teen and Digital Creativity Specialist (if that is not a bad ass job title, I do not know what it is).
Kevin and his son.
From the very beginning, I could tell Kevin was going to be a great person to work with. I gave him a call to tell him more about the RCF Community, the #GivingCard Project, my blog, and reassured him that I was not some scumbag trying to buy my way into the MCPL. Which, unfortunately, tends to happen from time to time. Kevin never said it, but if you know me well enough (or read my blog long enough) I can start rambling, especially when I am nervous. I explained the whole idea behind this project in a matter of about 62 seconds (Sorry, Kevin).
But, he trusted me and stated it was awesome how there were still the people in the world who just wanted to good things for people. He explained that by donating lunch to the library, we would allow the MCPL to save money in their budget and utilize it for more library activities within the Bloomington community.
He stated that we could not technically just “buy” pizza for patrons and staff, but we could donate it to a library program and he just so happened to have one coming up – one that involved a spring break ping-pong tournament. The event is for all ages, with a focus on teenagers, as a local activity during the spring break time period of community schools. According to Kevin, it is planned through their Ping Pong Palooza Club, which is also all ages and meets to play twice monthly.
I always try to shop locally. However, for this project, I was wrestling with the idea of purchasing pizza through a chain restaurant, simply because we wanted to make sure we had enough pizza to feed as many people as possible. Thankfully, Kevin suggested a local place, Cafe Pizzaria, who was gracious enough to work with us, and even gave us a great discount to make sure we stayed under our $140 budget. Seriously, I cannot stress enough how cool these guys were - I called, explained to them what we were doing, and they hooked us up.
Cafe Pizzaria - We owe you a huge thanks!
I walked into the library and was led to the room where Kevin and the participants of the spring break ping-pong tournament were being held. I was met with classic rock blaring from speakers, the rapid voracity of teenagers recreating scenes of Forrest Gump’s ping-pong career with the speed and precision of semi-pro players on two very nice ping-pong tables, and a large whiteboard detailed with the winners and losers of the double-elimination tournament that would rival the best of any NCAA tourney bracket challenge.
I totally dug this.
There was some intense ping-pong going on that day.Kevin greeted me with a large and loud introduction, and for everyone in the room stopped and stared and yelled a very vibrant and welcoming “thank you!”
Any fears that I had about screwing up or interacting on a large-scale were quickly diminished by the feeling of open-arms that I received while being greeted.
THE MAIN EVENT
I am not sure if you have ever walked into a room full of hungry teenagers, but we were almost bowled over by the stampede of everyone rushing for the pizza.
As patrons, teenagers, and staff made their way in and out of the room, I had the lovely opportunity to chat with almost everyone. I was able to play multiple games of ping-pong, meet with a very entertaining group of teenagers, listened to a variety of different music, and time literally flew by we were having so much fun.
The most common question I received was, “So…How does financial independence (personal finance) and giving back to the community go together?”
It is an excellent question. I explained to everyone that the personal finance blogging community and the RCF are some of the most intelligent, intuitive, driven, and giving people I have never met (see what I did there). I made clear to those that asked that most of the bloggers I follow who are seeking financial independence or have achieved it, do not stare at their bank accounts, but want to get out of the 9-5 grind and their confined cubicles. They want to have time to dedicate to greater causes such as volunteering at the library, shelters, or a number of ways to make the world a better place.
There was some intense ping-pong going on that day. Photo credit: Monroe County Public Library.
I have spoken about the RCF and Cafe Pizzaria, but one thing I have not spoken much about is the MCPL and the staff.
Working in public service through my 20’s, I understand what it is like to interact with the public on a day-to-day basis. I have mentioned many times my love of books and libraries, but what inspired the idea to give something back to the MCPL was ‘the heart of the library’ aka, the wonderful staff members that make up this archive of knowledge and public service.
I have touched briefly on this in a previous article I had written about one of my earlier experiences at the MCPL. Every, single staff member I interacted with talked about how much they loved the library and how thankful they were to be part of such a great community.
However, most of all, I need to speak of Kevin who plays a vital role in the shaping and forming of such young minds. He is a man who is truly passionate and lives for his job. The excitement that streams from his mouth when he speaks about the teenagers that he influences cannot be placed into words. Kevin has focused on one thing - creating the best environment he can for the young people of tomorrow. He brings a fervent joy to his job discussing music with the teenagers or the way he actively engages the other staff members. If anyone is passionate about their job, it is Kevin MacDowell.
I stated to Kevin and the staff and patrons of the MCPL multiple times that the RCF is amazing in the fact that it is not “just about writing a check or throwing cash at something” and calling it a day. To quote the RCF #GivingCard page, it is about “the REAL benefit has nothing to do with the money and everything to do with the LIVES we’re affecting.”
When I left the MCPL that day not only did I feel simply wonderful, but I had that continued motivation of the “Why” that many of us wonder when we speak of being financially independent. Not because we dislike our current jobs, but rest assured folks, spending our days volunteering at places like the MCPL, surrounded by people wanting to learn and a great environment, beats a cubicle any day.
RCF, this was given to us a few days later when I stopped by MCPL.
The “Thank You” card envelope was made out of dyed shaving cream by the teenagers at MCPL. Isn’t that awesome?
Awww, I love this! I can totally relate to small talk. This goes to show how much connection is out there waiting to be shared
Aww, this is great!! And I love Kevin’s card… too cute!
It was a great surprise! They are such a great group of people!
So WAY back in January, I bought a $50 gift card at my fav local coffee shop. I let the awesome baristas there know that I wanted it to be used for free drinks whenever people needed 1. Celebration 2. Comfort or 3. Encouragement. They just finished using it up.
Each time they gave away a drink, they let the person know that someone had bought a gift card to cover just these kinds of moments.
They covered drinks for people’s birthdays. They covered drinks when people came in having a really hard day. One lady came in on the verge of tears because her little sister had just relapsed and was heading back to drug rehab that day. She was overwhelmed with grief and disappointment, and the fact that a stranger had set aside a gift card so she could get a free drink at that specific moment was HUGE for her.
Small gifts can’t change circumstances, but sometimes all people need to know is that there are other people who hear their story, that they aren’t alone, and someone cares.
A BIG shout out to my awesome coffee shop baristas, who were awesome at leaning into people’s stories and being able to meet people where ever they were.
This is a really good idea - I dig it.
Thanks for another great month, guys! You can see all the stories shared below, and also make sure to check out the highlight pages on the website (these are easier links to share from your website or social platforms, etc):
#GivingCards Mission #4 Highlights:
Total Given: http://giving.rockstarfinance.com/total/#march2017
How to Support: http://giving.rockstarfinance.com/get-involved/
P.S. In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s April’s #GivingCards mission.
Sorry mine was late, I was traveling at the end of the month and didn’t get a chance to post my round up til this week!
Thank you for the GivingCard. I donated mine to Lexi’s LAMB, a non-profit founded in memory of granddaughter, Lexi. We’ll be delivering Easter treats to sick & injured kiddoes in a local hospital late Friday afternoon. Thank you for helping us put a smile on their faces. And if I haven’t goofed up the uploading process, here’s a picture of what we bought with the GivingCard.
All good, thank you!
Beautiful, thank you!