This past Christmas, Rick and I tried something a little different as it related to giving gifts. As we were thinking of what to give his parents, aunts, uncles and siblings, we stopped and asked the question, “Do they really need anything?” And this led to the more important question, “How can we help more people this holiday season?” And then it hit us. Instead of sending gifts, let’s send each family a hundred-dollar bill and give them a challenge. A challenge to take that $100 and pay it forward. Give it to a family in need. Give it to a friend. Donate it to an organization of their choice. Whatever way they chose was fine, it was more about replacing another “thing” with helping an organization or a person in need. You know, a helping people help people sort of thing.
And now, I am here to share our first story which came from Rick’s mom and dad. She typed this beautiful letter to us and I wanted to share it with you. Perhaps for an upcoming birthday or holiday or even next Christmas, you will be inspired to give in a new, potentially more meaningful way!
Christmas Challenge for December 2012
This was such a fun challenge. I knew immediately what I wanted to do. There is an Ethiopian woman who works the front desk at the Yesler CC where I play pickle ball. She is very conscientious and does an excellent job in my opinion. Her name is Genet M. Woldeyesus, age 63. She lost her husband to a stroke 14 years ago. She has three sons still living in Ethiopia and one granddaughter who turned one years old today.
She and her husband had entered the DIV Lottery to come to the United States but then her husband had a stroke and died in three days. As luck would have it after he died her name came up as a winner and she came to United States 11 years ago in 2000 by herself. Genet has a younger sister and brother-in-law living in San Diego so she went there first. Than in February 2002 she moved to Seattle.
Genet applied for a job through the Mayor’s office under the Title Five program for seniors over 62, which is a training program for seniors to earn minimum wage. She works for the City of Seattle under the Parks and Recreation Dept. but has only been able to work part-time for the past year and a half and having a tough time making ends meet. She needs to work full-time but because of her age is having difficulty.
For Christmas her younger sister sent her a round trip airline ticket to visit her family in San Diego. I knew she needed money so I have Genet an early Christmas gift before she left. She was thrilled and so happy.
When I saw her this morning I told her of the idea and generous gift you and Rick had sent to Dad and me. I told her my thoughts went immediately to her. Whenever, Christmas comes around children are always remembered but I told her seniors also need to be remembered and I gave her the $100.00. It was such a joy to see how grateful she was. She said no one had ever done something like this for her. What a blessing, thank you for giving us the opportunity to truly help someone in need!!!
Love, Mom and Dad