Abi

Giving Tuesday- a Christmas to never be forgotten

Have miracles ceased? If you are asking me… I can honestly say- no! My faith in this community and my respect for giving hearts have swelled immensely over the last couple of weeks. 

The love and generosity I have witnessed recently have been nothing short of an absolute miracle. I have been in contact with so many giving people and have read hundreds of stories of families and individuals that exist in very dark places. These last couple of weeks have had a profound change on my heart as I have seen both great abundance and serious suffering displayed right before my very eyes. 

 

Our $250 Story

When Ammon and I were new parents we made $17,000 the entire year. We were so strapped for money. We weren’t living paycheck to paycheck, we were living credit card minimum to credit card minimum. ON Christmas eve we got a knock on our door and there was an envelope with $250 cash in it. Both Ammon and I dropped to the ground and both started bawling. We were so grateful and felt that someone upstairs was looking out for us. We weren’t vocal about our financial struggles and didn’t let on that we needed help, we were prideful and stubborn. Our hearts changed that day forever. 

That $250 had a very real impact on us and how we viewed other people’s generosity. It was that $250 that sparked the idea to make the same impact on the needy and the givers this Christmas season. I wanted to help. I wanted to do something that would help people feel loved and blesses. I wanted to give the gift of hope. And so… an idea sparked…

 

Giving Tuesday Was Born

I made the announcement last Monday having zero clue what was going to happen. I knew that our community would jump into action… I just had no idea to what extent! Ayres Force came in like a literal wrecking ball and blew all of us away! 

I thought that we would raise enough money to give $250 to 20 families and help make Christmas a little brighter this year.  Within one week we raised over $40,000!!!! That is over 160 families. 

The most difficult part… reading the flood of heartbreaking stories of families and individuals that were being nominated to receive a cash gift. People from all walks of life… brothers, neighbors, grandparents, children… every type of person imaginable. I have been so humbled to be entrusted with helping so many in such a special way. The choice as to who will be receiving the cash gifts has been a very difficult process and one that quickly takes an emotional toll on me. I honestly wish I could help every single person from the stories that I have been reading.

 

Nominations for Help

To keep everyone in the loop on where your donations are being used, and to share some of what I have been experiencing over the last couple of weeks, here are some of the nominations we were sent in that especially touched my heart. We will leave names and locations out in order to protect the identity of those who were nominated. Another unexpected surprise was the immense gratitude from those that were chosen to receive cash gifts. I have been so touched with the gratitude that I have included some of them here. As you read them, put your name wherever you see mine because you are the ones who made this miracle a reality. Get your tissue box ready…

From a humble wife…

I am nominating my husband, and our family because he works so hard. He and my daughter deserve something for Christmas that we don’t have the means for currently. I literally cried watching you and Ammon talk about your situation years ago, we relate to it so much. Giving back in our church is #1 priority to us, and with that donation, we have very little left for Groceries, let alone Christmas presents. We have a car that needs fixing, that we are spending our Christmas money to do. This paragraph sounds so stupid, I don’t even know how to talk about my family in the sense that we need help, because my husband and I have always been so reserved in this struggle.

From a concerned brother…

My sister is a single mom of two boys and one is on the autism spectrum.  She is well educated and worked her entire adult life but recently had to go on disability.  She was diagnosed with cancer 8 years ago and worked hard for most of that time.

But as her disease has progressed it’s become impossible for her to work.  She could use that cash to make sure her kids have a few gifts for Christmas. Thanks for your consideration.  

From someone trying to make a better life….

After attempting suicide this week and then losing my job over that I am not in the best place. However, after speaking with you through messenger and knowing the Lord has a plan for me I am going to keep fighting. I am just scared right now that I won’t be able to pay some of my bills until I get a new job. Thanks again for having such an amazing impact on my life during this difficult time. God put you in my life for a reason, money isn’t the reason, life is. 

From a vigilant community member…

I drive a school bus in northern Utah. This mom and daughter’s family just moved in and the girl, 15, wears the same clothes daily, her mom drives a broken-down car and the girl has to walk a mile to the bus stop. I would love to give them some Christmas cash. 

From a neighbor…

I would like to nominate a third-grade teacher at a low-income school and friend to many. She tragically lost her husband on Thanksgiving to a sudden heart attack. She found him dead when she returned home from a family celebration. He was 35 and they were trying to start a family. This money would be a huge help to her at this time of unexpected loss. 

From a watchful neighbor…

About a month ago she found out her husband was having an affair with her brother’s wife. Yes, you read that right! They are now separated and plan to divorce. She has a 3-year-old little boy and is 6 months pregnant. It breaks my heart she is going through this and especially right before the holidays. I know this would really help her.

From a struggling wife and mother…

I am in an abusive marriage that I am unable to get out of at the moment. I have two small children and live in a different state than family and have no friends or support. I am trying to find whatever work I can from online sources since I am not able to leave my home and also am the sole carer of my children. I tried to get into therapy to take care of myself but cannot afford it. This gift may not help me escape yet but it would help mentally, or begin saving, or create a special day for my children. 

From a loving sister…

My sister and her 3 girls lost her husband 3 months ago to suicide. They did IVF the day before he passed and she lost the baby recently. Nothing can prepare you for something as tragic as this is. He was the sole provider and someone she loves dearly. How does life go on for her and her 3 girls? She will need all the help she can get emotionally, spiritually, and physically these next many years ahead. The fears, worry, and loss of trust are real.  I know holidays are a struggle and this will be the 1st without their dad/husband. Any amount of help is much appreciated. She has so much to overcome. 

A protecting mother…

My 3 children (6,5, and 3) and I have been trying for over 3 years to get out and far away from my abusive spouse, their father. It has been so difficult and exhausting and terrifying. It might finally be coming to a close, I’m praying and praying it truly is nearing the end of having to deal with this man! My precious babies have been through the emotional ringer at such young ages and had to watch me cry my way through endless situations trying to protect them from any further mental trauma from their father. Pray also, that the state allows me full custody come the end of the year! The holidays with a sociopath were always twisted and tragic and those experiences have seemingly robbed my ability at joy this time of year. I wish I could give my kids the world but America is not set up for the success of single mothers. Government assistance is nice and all but not an ideal life. 

A brave mother…

I am a survivor of domestic abuse of 16 years. Not sure where Christmas will come from. I will be homeless Jan 31st and without a car soon, as my ex activated repossession. I’m desperate. I’m a mom asking for help for myself and my girls! I hope we are picked. I know this is weird me nominating myself and my girls but we’ve been through so much! I will always be an advocate and protector for my girls!  I’m in the trenches and I need a job and I’m struggling, battered women are not heard in the court system and I am not heard! We need help.

Thank you. ❤️

A mother on a new path…

I have 3 kiddos two girls 12, 10, and a son who is 4. I left their father this past weekend and moved in with my parents. It turns out that he has a horrible drug addiction problem and hasn’t paid rent in months. I wasn’t aware of any of this until the landlords started pounding on my door last Thursday 😭 I’ve only been able to buy 1 present for each of them so far and it’s already too late to sign up for any programs going on in my community. I’m looking for work. I’ve had interviews but nothing so far. It doesn’t help that I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the last 5 years. I know there are probably families in way worse shape than I am at the moment but I figured I would give it a shot! If not, just keep us in your prayers as I figure out this new chapter of being a single mom. I would be undoubtedly grateful either way.

A family struggling to get back on their feet…

We are a little family of 4 soon to be 5 and are struggling to make ends meet each month. Our 2 little boys deserve the world and it kills me that we can’t give them that. Our 3-year-old is in need of some clothes and shoes and providing diapers for the 18-month-old is getting harder and harder. I would love to be able to get them Christmas church clothes because they have been wearing shorts to church because that is all we have.  We can’t even think about buying them toys for Christmas when they don’t have all the necessities. Covid has hit our family hard this year and my husband just got a new job and we are trying to get back on our feet again. I know so many others have it so much worse so we understand if you’re not able to help us but just thought it wouldn’t hurt to put it out there and pray. 

And that is just a tiny fraction of what I have been reading through over the last week… this has been such a difficult process and one that reminded me to be so grateful for the life I have.

 

A Pouring out of Gratitude

Although it is heartbreaking to read these – the gratitude and miracles happening are so inspiring. Here are some of my favorite “Thank yous” from these nominees:  

AyresForce, to the rescue!

I read through literally hundreds of these stories my heart goes out to every single suffering soul this Christmas. We have already begun giving the cash donation to many of the nominees and the outpouring of gratitude has been overwhelming. I have been so blessed to be a vehicle for good and I am so lucky to be surrounded by such a giving community. 

YOU are the heroes of this story and your donations will bring Christmas joy to MANY individuals and families. This is quickly becoming one of the most memorable Christmases of my life and it’s all because of all of you.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

xoxo,

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