RCF December 2016: An Unexpected Gift


Thanks so much for jump-starting this!

We received our card and decided to get our girls(5 and almost 2) involved.


So many wonderful people to share, but we decided to give our gift card to an extraordinary educator and all around giver.

Ms. Bradley is one of the reading specialists, but her work goes far beyond that role. She’s is EVERYWHERE, every school event, updating the website, a part of PTA, and she mentors a group of young girls.

And she recently made a leap into becoming an author and of course her kids are her focus. She wrote Brave Bradley to help students deal with bullies.

We caught her during mid-year award ceremony and were delighted to give her the card. She was thrilled and wanted to pass on her thanks!


I used the RCF gift card to purchase a gift certificate to a local restaurant and then anonymously put it on our mail carrier’s truck!!!


[quote=“Shin, post:31, topic:1172”]
Cookies and money!
[/quote] @Nate

I believe N.W.A. coined the phrase, “Life ain’t nothin’ but cookies and money.”



N.W.A was right.


OK. I just posted my pic of what we’re doing for our mail carrier on the weekly challenge post

(I will ask said mail carrier his name next time I sign for a delivery :disappointed:).

Our gift was more of a token than an all out affair, but I felt good about it until…

I mean who can compete with homemade choc. chip cookies? They look AMAZING!

I’m having pangs of “Keeping up with the Joneses” but as a do gooder!!!

Well done sir. Tip of the hat to you.


Yesterday, I gave away my $20 Visa card to an active duty Servicemember. It was awesome! When I received the card, I had this guy in mind to give the card. I wasn’t sure how he’d feel about getting it, but I knew from conversations we’ve had about money that he needed it. He was surprised to receive it and wanted to know what it was for. I said use it for what you need, food, Christmas gift for your son or gas, whatever the need is. He said thank you but did know what else to say. He did have a big smile, so I knew he was happy to receive unexpected money. It was the day before his holiday leave and a great way to end the day. Thank you for letting me be part of this wonderful gift giving!


His name is Warren and it looks like I’ve really made his day! :fireworks:


I just got home from giving my gift to a deli worker inside our local grocery store. After purchasing our own groceries my husband and I asked the store manager, Janet, if she had an employee who was in extra need right now. She initially said she had many. I then explained that I was honored with a gift card from an awesome group of people trying to do some good in the world and that I would love to gift it to someone who could really use it. Janet then thought of Pam, a deli worker who is currently undergoing chemo treatments and struggling to pay her electric bill. This sounded like a deserving candidate to me!

As we walked to the deli I turned to my husband and asked what cash he had. We could only come up with another $15 between us but we added that to the gift card and provided it to Pam with Janet standing by. Pam was very grateful and said that it definitely would do her some good. I was so excited to spread the goodness that I forgot to ask for a picture - oops! Pam and Janet too, extended their thanks and Happy Holiday wishes to all the Rockstars!


Just opened the mail from vacation today and the card was there. Threw it in my purse on my way out to restock the groceries. At the store, fate looked down, the young mother with 2 little ones in front of me was $20 short in her cash, $20 exactly and she was trying to figure out what to put back. I took it as a sign and gave her the card. No picture, but she said it made her day because everything she bought was for Christmas dinner. Made me just as happy, I immediately bought another gift card to keep in my wallet so I’m always ready for the next opportunity to help someone unexpectedly.


I wanted to do something super creative but today, after talking with another single mom friend, I found her Amazon wishlist and bought a few things just for her- just a few things to add to her kitchen.


Wow! That’s what it’s all about! Isn’t it amazing that the opportunity presented itself to you! Doesn’t it feel so great!?

Like you, I have my next $20 card in my wallet and am waiting on my next opportunity…and continually looking for it. I’m hoping my kids are with me next time!


@MoneyBuffalo - wow - that is good stuff!


@prayandscrub Oooh that is a good move -nice!


Today I gave the gift I made using the rockstar gift card. A woman I met a little while ago just lost her significant other of 25 years to a very unexpected car accident. I went and bought stuffing and thread and everything needed to take several of his work shirts that he wore everyday, and create a body pillow. It’s been a little over a month since his passing and I know she misses him dearly. Now she can hold on to a piece of him every night. Your gift, my gift, our gift, made her night’s a little bit more bearable. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do that for her. She deserves it.


This is lovely.


In his original post @Nate said "If you want to participate, but don’t want or need to use our money to do it, then by all means take $20 of your own money, do the mission, and come back here to share it along with the rest of the stories! "

That is what I decided to do.

I called my cousin in India who now lives in my parent’s home. I remembered a man who worked as a watchman in that building and asked if he still worked there. She said yes. I asked him to give him the $20, and tell him it was sent to him by someone who used to live there a long time ago.

He had a stroke many, many years ago. He kept working after - he is the sole provider for his family. He is always cheerful, despite the fact that he has a thankless job that involves hours of standing around in either the heat or the cold.

My cousin said that when she gave him the money he stood stock still for a bit, as if he as afraid that moving would cause him to wake up and discover it was a dream. When she asked what he might spend it on he said that his son is going to be sitting for his board exams in 2017 and he would use this money to get him the coaching he needs. This son is the first person in his family being educated. The father knows that his son is struggling with a couple of subjects, and has been feeling helpless to help him out given that he is illiterate himself.

@Nate, update your map. $20 made is as far as Maharashtra, India.


Mrs AE and I just got back from dropping off some pizzas at the local fire station that is staffed 24 hours a day through the Holidays. Figured we could send some food in to the people that have to miss time with their families to keep everyone safe (we had an ice storm come through as well so I am sure they are busy).

(had to go take and bake since all the pizza places are closed today :slight_smile: )

Talked with the Fire Chief and he thanked us and appreciated the gesture! Felt Good. Mrs AE and I are happy. Are going to make it a yearly thing.

The person working said he was excited to see someway standing in the entrance way with food.


I used my own dollars, but even though I donate often, this challenge really made me “think outside the philanthropic box”. I wanted to do something unique. I initially gave a couple of tenants in our rental properties, $20 off rent to enjoy the new year. But I was just stalling to look for something more profound.

Something I really want to do is have lunch with a homeless person. Not just buy them food or give them money, but sit with them and talk with them. Make them feel like a valuable member of the community. Money can buy food, clothing and shelter, but it can’t buy love, confidence, or dignity. We didn’t end up doing that, but found a close second… a new ‘pay what you can’ café opened up in Milwaukee and we went there. It is called Tricklebee Café, and part of “One World, Everyone Eats”. We ‘paid’ our fair share for our food, then we donated an extra $20 to cover the costs of meals for others. The beauty about this place is that it is a communal eatery. You walk in and you share tables with others, regardless of race, age or gender. We were talking with people within 30 seconds of walking through the door. This is also located in a food desert, so the emphasis is on fresh, whole food in a community surrounded by convenience stores and fast food. The local community has a 42% unemployment rate, so this provides a safe haven, with community and nutrition.

Anyway, it was a wonderful experience and a great place to visit. We plan to go back at least once a month and keep donating $20 to help the mission and help others. I will soon be posting more about this place at Primal-Prosperity.com

Thank you RCF for helping us all to get out of our comfort zones! Writing checks to charity is great, but easy. Giving money in an ‘active’ sense takes time and effort… but SOOOOO much more rewarding!


@ PoF - Hey, who doesn’t like free beer! I’m with you, that since I donate often and have the means to do it, I had to challenge myself and think outside the philanthropic box for this RCF challenge… so thanks to J and Nate!

PoF, If you ever come to Milwaukee, you should try to visit “Good City Brewery”. They are “for-profit”, but they are very much into giving back and supporting local businesses with environmentally and socially responsible business practices. A win for everyone! And the bartenders are SUPER friendly! :slight_smile:


Awesome story! I love how you point out that this helps us step outside of our comfort zones and do something different from just our typical donations to charities. This is what really struck me about this challenge. I give regularly, but I rarely give directly to another person. The feeling is AMAZING! You’re right, it’s so incredibly rewarding. :slight_smile: