The #GivingCards Project – Mission #3: Make a Loved One Smile


Man this is crazy good - a PERFECT use for the mission this month! Can you take a pic of the card and post it here so we can see??? (just edit your original post to include it, I think)


I went on a mission to use my Giving Card in Arizona (even though I live in Oregon) because I wanted to spread the giving love to a state that isn’t red on the map yet and tell the Arizonans about the project.

Because I was giving it away in a state where I didn’t know anyone, I couldn’t follow the exact mission for the month. The hotel I was staying at in Phoenix was right next to the Mayo clinic and absolutely nothing else. I decided that this was a sign, and that since I didn’t have a loved one in Phoenix, I’d try to give the card to someone visiting AZ because their loved one was in the hospital. And it also happened to be valentines day.

You wouldn’t think giving away money in a hospital would be hard–but I was wrong. The crazy thing is that everyone there thinks someone else probably needs it more than they do. Talk about perspective.

I tried a few thing… first, to buy coffees for the 5 nurses or family members at the hospital coffee shop. The barista was interested to learn about the project and wanted to help, but no one came for coffee while I was there and then the shop closed. I tried the gift shop- no dice. I stalked people in the hospital cafeteria to see if there was someone who I could buy lunch for. I finally spotted a woman probably in her 70’s working as a hospital volunteer and told her about the project and asked if I could buy her lunch for her as gratitude for her volunteering “Oh, No. Please buy it for someone more needy or older than me.” I decided that I needed to turn to a stealth approach.

I had almost given up hope on my hospital mission when I walked outside and noticed the sign for parking -$5.00. Although most of the parking was free, the hospital valet parking – the parking that appeared to be mostly used by families who were dropping off patients had a $5.00 charge. In my opinion, paying for parking is the worst. NOBODY likes paying for parking- just like NOBODY likes having family at the hospital. I talked to the valets and told them about giving cards and asked if I could pay for the next 4 families to park. Luckily they took credit cards, and they were onboard with the mission (they were also very concerned that I’d paid for my own parking and wanted to make sure I’d also park for free- seriously, they are the nicest humans in the world at the Mayo clinic).

Mission Accomplished!


A little backstory. My loved one is one of the best people I know. She’s insanely generous and kind to everyone she knows, and often gives more than she probably should. (That’s a completely non-judgemental “should”.)

Life has been incredibly unfair to her. Period. The end. It’s been one of most unfortunate lessons I’ve learned through watching her life—bad things really do happen to good people. Sometimes even to the best people.

Anyways, she hasn’t had anyone to send her flowers on Valentine’s Day in quite some time. My original plan was to send some on the 14th, but she was already over-the-moon happy that day as she had a family member visiting from out of town. So I waited until after the family member left–because I knew she’d need a pick-me-up.

Also, flowers and delivery are way cheaper after. It was a bonus, but I wouldn’t have let her have a sad Valentine’s Day over price. I’m not quite that cheap. :stuck_out_tongue:

This month’s giving card allowed me to cut my out-of-pocket costs nearly in half. In fact, it even allowed me to get her ROSES. It brought her so much joy and did exactly what it was meant to do–cheer her up and let her know she was loved when she was feeling a little lonely after company had left.

I love how this project uses monetary means to spread something deeper than just plain financial relief. Not that helping others with their finances is shallow in any way shape or form, but I do feel that love is a more powerful currency. The project has helped me express love more actively in my own life—thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for that.


I love this! I bet the free parking really brightened four families’ days! So many expenses when you have to travel for healthcare–I’m sure every penny was appreciated.


I think this is awesome—you can totally love on friends! As someone who has been through a fire, I can tell you, that extra money probably meant the world to her. We were so incredibly fortunate to have renters’ insurance that eventually replaced all of our stuff and reimbursed us for our interim expenses, but up front, we had to pay for things like food–and it was all eating out as we didn’t have an oven. I can’t even imagine losing everything without that assurance of the insurance.

Does your friend have kids? I have some barely-used clothes I could pass along–either for little ones, or for her depending on if sizes match up.


I didn’t have a card this month, but an opportunity came up that I couldn’t pass by.

An old college roommate that I hadn’t seen in a year or so posted on facebook about the need for some money for some educational programs/opportunities. Asking for money is out of the ordinary for her, but I know her family has had some hard times financially. Since I was always blessed with parents that were able to pick up the slack financially so I never missed opportunities in my education, I knew I should help. I was able to give her $200. I knew she would turn me down in person for that much so I sent it online and immediately received this text from her:

We’re getting together in person in the next week now, so an unexpected reunion is a great return! It’s crazy how just the simple text in return made me want to give more! This stuff is addicting!


Thanks Nate. Sorry for slow reply. It’s been a busy week! About to share a few pics.

British chocolate is amazing but of course I would say that! When are you planning to visit?



Thank you! Sorry for the slow reply.


A few snaps! My friend sent me a lovely photo of the pretty chocolates. She was house hunting this week for her big move so said these came in handy. And a snap of the donations I gave!


Done and done!


Through casual conversation, I have learned that my coworker and his wife (they are in their 60’s) have been caring for two young children, a boy, and girl, ages 3 1/2 and 4 1/2.

They do not care full-time for the children, but they do so to help out a young, 27-year-old, family friend. She works a barely minimum wage job and if not for my coworker and his wife, it would be almost impossible for her to work overtime (that is much needed) to provide the best life to her children she can.

He and I were chatting this week and I always ask him about the kids and how they are doing and what projects they are up to. This (somehow) led to how he and his wife were watching them a few more days than usual this week. I asked if there was a special reason and he simply stated, “their mother could not pay her electric bill and it was turned off in her apartment. She wanted to make sure that her kids were in a safe place and an apartment without electricity is not safe for them. She gets paid later this week and is immediately paying the bill.” Apparently, it was a rough month ( I did not ask for details) and money was a little short.

I am not sure about you, but it sucks being broke. I am not a parent, but I could not imagine knowing I have to give my children, willingly, to someone else until I can afford to pay my electric bill.

I excused myself quietly and politely from our conversation and called my father (who matches my $20 each month) and explained to him the change of plans and gave him the quick run-down of this new plan. He obviously agreed and I immediately went to the ATM and pulled out our $40.

I returned to work and asked my coworker if he or his family friend would mind any assistance. He stated that “no, I believe she would appreciate any help because it only helps her children.” I gave him the $40 and told him to have his family friend do with it what she wishes, but I hope this helps with the bills this month.

He said he would make sure and give it to her and asked if it was okay if he told her who it was from. I told him that it was up to him, but to make sure if she does ask, to tell her it is from the RCF.

Update She was given the $40, unbeknownst to me, on her birthday! She wanted to thank everyone in the RCF for all you do.


A friend of mine has been struggling to stay out of jail due to drug use. I visit him once a week, and my family has come to be friends with both him and his mom. She’s been naturally concerned for her son, and today was her birthday. My friend asked if I could take her flowers for the occasion while she was on her shift at a nearby gas station. He told me her favorite flowers are lilies and roses, and I couldn’t believe when I found exactly that combination in a bouquet at the store this morning! I dropped by to wish her a happy birthday on behalf of her son. Thanks so much to this community for letting us participate in this way. I think this will make her week. I did try to capture a video, but it didn’t turn out very well, so here is a picture of her flowers.


Man, that is awesome. It is really cool you took time out of your day to wish your friend’s mother happy birthday for him. I am sure it meant so much for her to receive the flowers and message on behalf of her son.


Hey, it’s me (Nate), but I’m adding up a story by request from one of our members who grabbed a #GivingCard:

Great day to you sir!! I am so excited to share my Gift Card Story. I was not so proficient in being able to “upload” to the site…can you assist me with that? Here goes…

"My make a loved one smile story, is right here in Richmond VA, actually Downtown Richmond, RVA. I work in our city’s City Hall building. I get to interact with the custodial staff in our office building on a daily basis based on my working late more than I ought. As you can imagine when you engage with someone on a daily basis you get to know them pretty well. My person is so pleasant daily and we talk about the weather, what’s going on in the news, just stuff. In the short time that I have known this rockstar, I have learned about her family and her living situation and also that she loves to read. She is a Mother of four adult children, she has four grandchildren, and lives on the Small income that she earns keeping our offices neat and tidy. Ms. Rockstar and I have begun sharing books and I have been known to pick up books for her from her favorite authors at local consignment stores for next to nothing as a treat. I so enjoy speaking with Ms. Rockstar, and recognizing that she is a proud woman have shared various snacks from my lunch, LOL I purposely bring extra, and let her know hey, would you like an orange, cupcake, sandwich, etc. I am not going to eat this.

Well with that stage being set, I gave Ms. Rockstar the gift card, and instructed her that it was for her to use for herself. I presented the card as a bookmark tucked into a paperback that I had purchased for her and I said “Hey check out that bookmark there,” She was so elated and most surprised and couldn’t contain herself, the tears began to flow and she explained, that just before coming to my office she had just borrowed $1.50 for bus fare and had no other money to her name. The timing was PERFECT! So as a result of the Rockstar Community Fund, she is able to have bus fare or a few days and also grab a little something to eat. She just could not believe that I had given the card to her no strings attached, and that it was for her! I felt so so so “high” in a good way thank you for allowing me the opportunity to make a loved one smile!

I have attached pictures that include showing the card here in good old Richmond VA, and also the presentation to my Rockstar, I think you can see in a few of the pics, she was teary eyed, and also in still another you can see her excitement in when she recognizes what it is.


This is my favorite part of the whole mission - the perspective - even more so than the giving :slight_smile:


Yes yes yes! I’m using this quote on the Total Given page:


One of my favorite stories! Love that you were able to pass your own blessings on to her, and the in-person reunion to catch up as friends is even better :slight_smile:


I’m planning to visit as soon as I’m not working 24/7 . . . hopefully in a year or so. I want to wander about all the old UK sites, especially London and Edinburgh!


Every month I look forward to hearing about what you and your dad are doing. It’s one of the highlights of this project for me, seriously. Thank you.


A new family moved in to our neighborhood. I am generally an outgoing person, so I connected with the lady, named Rachel. They have children similar ages to mine. But for some reason, she just rubbed me the wrong way. She would ask for help and when I would offer a suggestion, she would shoot it down. She would ask me simple questions that could be answered in a basic Google search. In the midst of this, I got my giving card. “A loved one” - I kept thinking of something that would be mind-blowing or earth-shatteringly awesome for my children, my husband, my close friends… and I kept thinking of Rachel. Their family hasn’t closed on their house yet (happens Monday) and they’re staying in an Extended Stay place. None of their stuff has arrived from the several-week journey the barges take to get stuff up to Alaska. They close on Monday, their stuff arrives Tuesday night. She expressed concern about the shape of the house. It’s been unoccupied for several months. She didn’t want to move all of her stuff into a house that hasn’t been cleaned for ages. I knew immediately how to help! I rallied several friends of mine (also with kids similar ages) and set up a play group at her house Tuesday morning. Then, I headed to the store and purchased $20 worth of cleaning supplies. This Tuesday, in the brief period between owning her house and moving her stuff in, we can help make it feel like a home (while our kids enjoy running and exploring an empty house!). Rachel seemed relieved we had a solution to the problem and so many people were willing to come help her. The charge to give it to a loved one haunted me. It would have been easier to just get someone I know an awesome gift, but I wouldn’t have changed. I don’t know that Rachel and I will ever be besties (do the kids still say that?), but everyone needs a “loved one” in a new neighborhood… especially when it’s Alaska! Thanks for charging me to go out and do some good. And thank you for helping me make better choices than I would have made without that charge. I’ll update when the deed is done (which I realize is cutting it close! Last day of the month for the win!)