RCF December 2016: An Unexpected Gift


I decided to combine my RCF #GivingCard monthly mission with @DerekOlsen’s weekly challenge, and kill two birds with one stone :wink:

(here’s the challenge, for reference: This week’s money challenge: Thank the forgotten)

I decided to use my $20 to give an unexpected gift and a smile to Diane, my mail carrier. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for nearly four years, and have always had great interactions with her. I didn’t even know that people giving gifts to their mail carrier was a thing until last year, and needless to say, I’ve never actually done it.

I come from a baking family, and I know how to make some killer chocolate chip cookies from scratch (you put the love in there, that’s the secret ingredient). But I haven’t baked in probably six months, and I had no ingredients. So I used my Giving Card to buy the eggs, butter, baking soda, salt, flour, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla to whip up a batch of cookies to leave in my mailbox as a gift.

Here’s what it looked like:

Hopefully when she opens up my mailbox, seeing this inside rather than another stack of work to do will put a big smile on her face . . . especially since it’s been well below zero here for the past week, with -20 to -30 wind chills, and her job can be brutal.

I’ll let you know if I receive a response of any kind, though I don’t need or expect one.

This week's money challenge: Thank the forgotten

Those cookies look amazing.


I was able to give my Gift Card to a colleague today. I had a number of other ideas of who to give it too - but yesterday I had my “aha” about where I thought it would do the most good to make someone smile. I work in a Primary School with over 750 kids. Many kids come to school each day and laugh and play and learn. Some kids struggle with learning and get help from our amazing teachers and support staff.
Other kids come to school and struggle with behaviors. These are the kids who many parents want their kids separated from. You know - those kids in the “special” class. Well the person I picked has chosen to work with this group of kids and that takes a very special person. She is not a teacher (and doesn’t get the salary of a teacher). She is a paraprofessional. In our district, paraprofessionals start around $10 an hour. She has been here for many years, so I know she makes more than that now - but she never asks for anything. She comes to work with patience and kindness each day and she will do anything she needs to do to help her students learn and make safe choices.
When she came into work today, I was able to borrow her for a minute and give her the gift. She smiled, thanked me, hugged me and cried. There are a lot of amazing people who work in schools - in challenging positions. I feel thankful that I know this person and appreciate all she does for some of our most challenging and wonderful little ones.
Thanks for letting me share the Christmas spirit with her!


I’m seeing a lot of people physically giving others this gift, then hugging, then crying. I think that’s the really human stuff right there. I love it. Great way to use it - thank you!


That is SO awesome! Way cool project. I’m hoping to get on board, too. Thanks for brightening her day!


I really hopped on the opportunity to snag one of these gift cards — I had one place I knew I wanted to reach out to and see what they needed. I live in Lincoln, Nebraska, and we’re a hub for refugee resettlement — so many cultures and families find themselves here!

A new Syrian refugee family is moving here TOMORROW (Friday). My friend is on a Refugee Resettlement team, and she’s been planning their arrival for a couple months. They’ve found a house for them to move into, furniture to furnish the home, supplies to get them started — the works. I reached out to her to ask if there was anything the new family would need (I was thinking boring things like toilet paper and whatnot haha), but she texted back immediately:

“That is so awesome, thank you!!! A wooden mortar and pestle would be so great.”

Boom. Specific need being = soon to be met.

I ordered one on Amazon, it arrived two days later and I got to drop off the mortar and pestle at their NEW HOME last night!

Here’s the gift + a welcome sign in their own language. This home will be occupied in less than 24 hours. I’m so excited!

What a timely gift for this new family! I was told that a mortar and pestle are absolute staples in Syrian families, so I’m glad to give them something useful. I wouldn’t have even reached out with such generosity if it hadn’t been for the gift card challenge. It’s amazing how far $20 can go to help others!

Thanks again for your generosity, RCF!



That is WAY beyond awesome! Love the Secret Santa thing you pulled. I’ll bet you’re on the real Santa’s super nice list, for shore!

Merry Christmas!


Another awesome story!

Man, y’all are doing some great stuff. Congrats on the retirement. I’m with you in the older than average Rockstar Finance and Budgets are Sexy follower.

Where David Carlson, of Young Adult Money, and others of his age are Young Adult Money, I’m in the Older Adult Money crowd. :slight_smile:

All the best to you, PaulM!


That’s SO cool!

I’ll bet that mom of 5 was definitely grateful. I was a counselor at a college with a nursing program and I know how hard those students work and how many of them were single parents.

You done good, girl!

As soon as I heard that I might get in on this gig, I thought of a special program at the college I worked at. The students have to have financial hardships or disabilities to participate. Yeppers, I think I’m gonna follow in your footsteps.



I worked as a counselor with a program such as the one you mentioned and know what great Paraprofessionals do. You’re awesome to think of this Angel, in your gift giving. I have a feeling I kind of know how she felt when you gave her the card.

Thanks for thinking of her!


Way cool, Nate!

Cookies and money! What a thoughtful gift. I’ll bet she’ll really appreciated the gifts, and most especially, your thoughts.


Hi Shin, Nice to see another mature guy hanging around this place. Have a prosperous and healthy 201!.


You just gave me a reason to get to MIlwaukee soon! :slight_smile:


I was so happy to have the opportunity to give away this RCF gift! As a Canadian, I couldn’t use one of the Visa gift cards, but Jay sent $20 USD to me via Paypal, and it ended up being $26 Canadian : )

I gave the $26 to Glodie, a student at the high school where I work. One of ten children, Glodie came to Ottawa as a refugee from the Congo two years ago. She and her family live with so little, but they feel completely blessed. I recently had the chance to see just how authentic, unspoiled, grateful, and gracious Glodie is. You can read about it here: http://www.fruclassity.com/2194-2/

I won’t forget Glodie’s moved-to-tears joy at receiving that $26. “Our goal is to show that even a small amount of money can make a huge impact.” Mission accomplished! Thank you, Jay and Nate : )


Now that you have all the ingredients, you should feel free to send me some cookies :wink:


When I got my gift card, I had a lot of thoughts in my head, a lot of quirky things (things my kids and I may still go do tomorrow since I have the day off, like buy flowers and randomly hand them out to strangers)… but then ultimately, I started thinking I wanted to have a meaningful impact on families in my community.

I took that gift card… and added some money of my own… and sought donations from friends. And then put out the call for donations on Facebook.

This morning, my kids and I delivered $330 in donations to our school lunch programs, a donation that was used to help 43 families. My heart is so happy.



Cookies? Happy to make a batch - come on up!


You know we always have so much love for you, Sarah – and you never disappoint. Thank you for taking this opportunity and for showing us all the power of a single spark of an idea.

I love this kind of giving. This is what it’s all about. <3


Or you should feel free to come across the lake for a visit . . . I’ve visited you!


I didn’t know that Lincoln was a refugee resettlement city - I drive through there often enough… Good to know.

This is such a good use of the #GivingCard! Simple, useful, personal, and unexpected. Love it!