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


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!)


A twist on “a loved one” that made you think . . . love it when that happens :slight_smile:


My husband and I were traveling across the country–Wisconsin to Washington! After talking to Nate, we discovered we could fill in a couple blank spots on the map (which is always a goal). Here’s a brief summary of how we used the cards:

We stopped at a gas station and gave the card to the woman working the register. Being the awkward nervous person that I am I gave it to her and tried explaining it to her. She had a confused look on her face but I’m hoping she realizes it was just free money and uses it! :slight_smile:

Our travels through Wyoming brought us 60 mph winds, snow, rain, and hail. And a random Abraham Lincoln head. I put the card under a Bible verse–Hebrews 13 16!

We got to see some pretty scenery despite it being February. We paid a visit to the Twin Falls (where I guess Evil Knievel jumped the gorge??) and had an elk burger in Boise. I left the card on a table at a local bakery-I love sweets!

Most of our time was driving along the Columbia River Gorge where the sun occasionally popped out. As we were about to leave Portland I made my husband turn around (in the middle of I-5 traffic :anguished:) to drop off my card at a gas station. Hopefully someone that watches Parks and Rec gets it!

In the beginning I was really nervous to talk to people–that’s why I quickly changed my strategy to leaving them mysteriously :wink: I was also stressed because I felt a lot of pressure (from myself–perfectionist) to do something amazing with each of the cards. After each card I felt a surge of joy and hope for the person that would find it. I’m glad I had the opportunity to participate!!


I used to feel the same, and now after years of doing this I realize that good done = good done, and you never can tell which ones, however humble they may look, will end up making the most difference.

Love the road trip and the creativity, and now I’m jealous of the drive :wink:


So cool!!! That cupcake and card - I would LOVE to be on the other end of that, haha…

Our #GivingCards have traveled more in the past three months than my entire life. Love it :slight_smile:

Thanks for being a part of it all!


HOLY $HIT man… This is the saddest thing I’ve read all month, ugh… :frowning: I am a parent of two little boys and I could barely get through your message without tearing up!

You and your father are angels over there and just makes me so SO proud to be a part of all this and watch how it effects people in the real world. And to be doing something like this with your own dad too like you are - talk about bonding!!

Way to shed a little light in a horrible situation. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.


Welcome, J. I did meet their mother and I met the kiddos, too! Fortunately, she truly does what is best for her kids and has a great support system for them. She is working her ass off and trying hard.