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First of all, I wanted to post the total: $4,600 as of 10 pm Saturday, May 30, 2010. .

Yes that number is correct and I will revisit that number in a moment. Please bear with me, as there is a lot to say and I am committed to total transparency here.

I made the "ask" post on Thursday, May 27th at 10 pm. I wasn't sure what to expect. I saw the desperation in that single mother's face and the desolation at the prospect of losing her home AND her child and I knew I had to try to do something. I didn't have the money to give her myself but I thought that I might be able to get people to donate if I simply told her story. karnythia encouraged me to try and just see what happened. So I did and I tried to sleep.

I tossed and turned all night and threw up a few times. I wondered if I was doing the right thing and what would I do if I failed. I remembered being a young child with a divorced single mom who was evicted multiple times with my siblings. I remembered having a very sick mom who continued to work multiple jobs until she couldn't work anymore and ended up in the hospital with double pneumonia. I vividly remember being the oldest child looking at our things in trash bags on the street and wondering what would happen to us. I clearly remembered being scared, the feelings of insecurity, wondering where we would live and who was going to take care of us because my mom was too sick to work anymore.

I wondered often then if I would ever really feel secure again or truly trust people and why didn't anyone try to help us. I remember living in a house with roaches and rats because that was all my mom could afford. I didn't want my neighbor's child to grow up with the personal scars those experience leaves behind and have to add to that the trauma of losing her mom. I waited for daylight and finally went to sleep around 6 am.

When I woke up the next morning at 9 am and looked in my email there were $200 worth of emails from PayPal. I emailed those people immediately and signed those emails with my real name. I thought that if perfect strangers were going to trust me with their money then I needed to go the extra mile and trust them with my real name. I wanted everyone to know that this was a real person with a real situation that they were helping, so I committed to stay at my computer all day and answer emails. Everyone who posted a comment on my post promised to boost the signal on their livejournals and on Twitter and Facebook. By 12 pm I'd raised $500. I kept answering emails and crossing my fingers and hoping against hope that this would actually work. As per a suggestion from anagramofbrat I posted in the
blackfolk community and asked them to boost the signal as well.

Between 12 pm and 1:30 pm there was a lull. I cried because I wasn't sure if I would actually make my goal of $1200. I hadn't told my neighbor or anyone else in real life about the kamikaze thing I was doing and I wondered if it was all going to blow up in my face.

Around 2pm it was as if the Internet exploded. I was getting waves and waves of emails from people, via PayPal and my personal email account. People shared stories, gave encouragement, and kept me going. I read personal accounts that made me cry and had offers to help find a family law attorney who would work pro bono in Lynchburg and offers to look at her resume to help her find a better job. I took a chance around 2:30 and checked my PayPal account and there was $2,00O in it. I started to cry hysterically and hugged my dog RJ repeatedly.

I kept refreshing PayPal and kept looking at the number to make sure that I wasn't hallucinating. It was the same. I posted in my livejournal and in the
blackfolk to tell everyone to stop donating because the initial need had been met. I walked RJ up the street to my bank. I told them what I was doing and asked them what they suggested the withdrawal amounts should be to avoid any confusion. I also asked them to make sure that fraud alert was not placed on my account because of the large amount money I was about to put in it. I requested that PayPal deposit the $2,800 by that point in several smaller amounts into my bank account to prevent there being a hold placed on my account.

I sent a text message to my friend at work and told her that I raised the money to keep her from being homeless. She sent me back a text message asking if I'd robbed a bank. I told her no, that I got on my livejournal and told her story, with as few identifiers as possible, and that people trusted me with their money to help her. I told her the amount, which was $3,000 at that point, She went to the bathroom and started crying. She got herself back together, came back and said she'd see me when she got home.

I got back on the phone and called the courthouse. I asked them what exactly I had to do to pay an eviction judgment. They said that I had to get the landlord to file a writ of satisfaction that the judgment had been paid and that he was willing to let my friend stay in her apartment. I called the landlord and left a message stating that the money for my friend's judgment had been raised and that it would be ready by Wednesday. I told him that I would meet him at the courthouse with a cashier's check for the judgment plus June's rent on that date and would he please call me back with a time that would be convenient for him. I am waiting for him to call back. I will call him back on Tuesday.

My friend came home after picking up her child and hugged me then grilled me on how I'd actually raised the money. She wanted to be assured that it came by completely legal means. I showed her my live journal post and my PayPal account and she cried. She read the messages of support and started crying all over again and hugging her child, who wanted to know why we were both crying. We told the child that we were just happy and that it was okay for happy people to cry. She is beyond thankful and she thanks you all. She is writing a thank you message that I will post in a day or so thanking everyone.

I wanted everyone to know that this money came in every single amount imaginable and every single donation was tearfully accepted. I made it a point to email everyone who sent money via Paypal or other methods as soon as possible after I received the confirmation email. I sent those emails via the email address they used to make the PayPal donation. I have gotten four emails that bounced and I would really like to thank those people and let them know that their trust in a complete stranger was not misplaced. It was and is important to me that everyone who donated or boosted the signal about this situation knew that this is a real single mother in a real situation that I was trying to help. I didn't want anyone to think that my cry for help was some form of sophisticated Nigerian bank scam.

I also plan to send everyone who donated an email as to the amount raised and the plans for that money as some people came from Twittter, Livejournal, Facebook, Shakesville, Faustivus, and other online sources to donate. They deserve to know how their money is being spent. After the $1700 has been given to the landlord (for the judgment and June's rent), $2000 of the funds raised will be put on both Walmart and a secondary grocery gift card of Food Lion. About half the people who emailed me said that they would prefer to not support Walmart, so I made the secondary choice of grocery stores. The rest will be put into a fund for emergencies. I made these decisions on my own and I hope that they are okay with everyone.

I cannot honestly thank everyone enough for what you've done. It was a staggeringly generous and trusting thing that all of you did. I have never had so many people who believed in me enough to help a total stranger by proxy and for that I thank you. It is my personal PROMISE to keep everyone updated as to what happens as it happens via livejournal and email. I am overwhelmed, emotional and frankly amazed by all of you. Your emails were filled with words of encouragement, personal stories, offers of help, and most of all the personal belief that things could and would get better. I truly feel like I asked for help at the right time and for the right reasons.

I don't trust people easily and I am very careful about who sees me do things that I feel make me vulnerable, like crying or showing deeper emotions. While this process began as a desperate means to help my friend, all of you have greatly restored my faith in the inherent goodness, kindness and decency of people and for that I am eternally grateful.

Quite a few of you said that I was an extraordinary person to be doing this. While that is enormously flattering, I don't think that is true. I went thought a hellish two years starting in August 2008. Due to circumstances beyond my control, and the enormous stress caused by them, I thought I was going to die. I almost went into kidney failure several times and at one point I was misdiagnosed with stomach, kidney and cervical cancer because of the unexplained symptoms I was having. I was in severe pain and on multiple medications. I was too sick to work. I was too proud to ask anyone for help and was determined to do it all on my own. My friends brought me food, took my dog for walks and bought him food and his monthly medicines, drove me to doctors appointments and held my hand while I had several exploratory surgeries. They made sure that I knew that I was loved and cared for even when I couldn't get out of bed. I didn't ask but they answered and cared for me the best that they knew how.

My health has improved somewhat but it is still precarious but they are still my friends. By doing this I am simply paying it forward.


( 73 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 30th, 2010 08:52 am (UTC)
Nobody who goes into that much detail about someone's dire personal situation could be pulling a Nigerian bank scam. Their stories never seem to be properly coherent.

That is just...amazing how much money got raised. Proof that the internet has vast powers for good, for sure. Gift cards are fantastic and maybe it might be worth hanging onto enough money for July's rent too...? Speaking from my own experience, an extra month's worth of breathing room can be immensely reassuring.

Best of wishes to her, to her sweet little girl who does NOT deserve any of the crap that people are inflicting on her via what they're doing to her mother, and to you too. From a total stranger on the other side of the country. ^^
May. 30th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
*Hugs you.* Thank you so very much for your kind words.
(no subject) - nieceytee - Jun. 1st, 2010 03:28 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 30th, 2010 01:14 pm (UTC)
May. 30th, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
*Big Hugs.* Thank you so much.
May. 30th, 2010 01:40 pm (UTC)
Crying here.
May. 30th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
*Hugs you.* Thank you so much for boosting the signal and for helping me raise the amount of money that we did.
(no subject) - nieceytee - Jun. 1st, 2010 03:34 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 30th, 2010 01:55 pm (UTC)
Ya done good. We do what we can to help people in need, most of us. It restores some of my faith in humanity to see things like this happen. Thank you for doing this.
May. 30th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
*Hugs you.* Thank you so much for helping me do this. I really appreciate it.
May. 30th, 2010 02:10 pm (UTC)
To use Shakesville's parlance, "Blub."

You've done a fantastic thing. I'm so glad it worked out, not just for the best, but above and beyond that.

May. 30th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC)
*Hugs you.*thank you for helping me do this. I really really really appreciate this.
May. 30th, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC)

I just heard about this, so I'm not one of the people that you're thanking. But this is So Cool. The story of it -- how it worked out and all; but damn. It should be a musical or something. :)
May. 30th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
*Big Hugs.* Thank you so much for your compliment and for coming by.
May. 30th, 2010 02:50 pm (UTC)
Okay, you got me bawling by the end of this. I know you are saying you aren't incredible for doing this. But honestly? You are. My God, you are.
May. 30th, 2010 06:07 pm (UTC)
*Big Hugs.*Thank you SO MUCH for boosting the signal and for believing in a perfect stranger to do the right thing. I really appreciate it.
May. 30th, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC)
I love it when a plan comes together.
May. 30th, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)
*Big Hugs.* A Team UNITE! THANK YOU for letting em know that it wasn't presumptuous to do this, and for posting about it on your journal and sending people my way. I appreciate SO MUCH that you trusted me enough to tell your readership about it.
May. 30th, 2010 02:57 pm (UTC)
That's awesome. Also, thank you for handling this so clearly. I try to boost the signal on a lot of things like this, and it makes it easier to keep doing that and have it get results every time someone does this this well.
May. 30th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
*Big Hugs.* Thank you for sending so many people my way. I BEYOND appreciate it.
(no subject) - nieceytee - Jun. 1st, 2010 03:37 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 30th, 2010 03:18 pm (UTC)
I'm fighting back tears here. It does renew your faith in humanity, doesn't it?

I didn't see your call for help until it was over. However the next time I get a chance to pay it forward, I'll think of you and do the same.

May. 30th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC)
It really served to restore a great deal of my faith in humanity. That is all I ask: that if you see someone in need that you simply pay it forward. *Big Hugs.*
May. 30th, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC)
I'm sitting here with tears of joy in my eyes.

Thank you for doing this, and thank you for keeping us posted.
May. 30th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC)
Reading these comments is making me cry. You're welcome, and I will continue to keep everyone updated as to what happens. *Big Hugs.*
(no subject) - miz_hatbox - Jun. 3rd, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nieceytee - Jun. 7th, 2010 08:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 30th, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC)
This is amazing. Thank you for keeping us posted. I've posted a link to my facebook as I'm sure all my friends will be really really happy to read this.

You are an amazing person for wanting to help. Don't down play that at all!
May. 30th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC)
*Big Hugs.* THANK YOU for signal boosting and helping to get the word out. I really really appreciate everything that you did to help.
May. 30th, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC)
Hundreds of strangers saved my bacon (and quite possibly my life) via donations when my husband died earlier than planned and I didn't have the money to take care of final expenses.

Sometimes, the kindness of friends and strangers overwhelms me, and makes me so very happy. I'm glad to hear of another success story! And blessings on you for your part in it.
May. 30th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)
A LOT of people helped to pay for the majority of my brother's funeral expenses when he committed suicide five years ago. I just wanted to help someone else out like they helped us. Thank you for helping and caring. *Big Hugs.*
May. 30th, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC)
$4600.00?! Day-yum! That is freaking incredible! I am so happy that this all came together! ^__^
May. 30th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
I KNOW right? I am just glad that propel were willing to help her, just like people (like you and your lovely husband that you should really try to clone he is THAT full of awesoemsauce) helped me when I was really really really sick and couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for helping and for continuing to keep thsi under your hat. *Big Hugs.*
May. 30th, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC)
This is so good to hear, and I'm glad to be able to pay more forward. (A year and a half ago, my partner -- an uninsured freelancer -- had a stroke. Friends and strangers from around the world came together to give us time, money, and support while we were rebuilding our life. It makes me happy to be able to keep the energy flowing.)

You have done an amazing thing.
May. 30th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
*Big Hugs.* Thank you for helping my friend and I hope for continued happiness, good health and support for you and your partner. *Big Hugs.*
May. 30th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC)
How awesome. God bless both you and your neighbor!
May. 30th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)
*Big Hugs.* Thank you for commenting, caring and for using a Sponge Bob icon for your comment. I LOVE Sponge Bob and having him blink at me in stunned happiness is making me laugh. *Big Hugs.*
May. 30th, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC)
I am simply paying it forward.

I wish more people were like you! *hugs*

I would have donated too, but I had to borrow money for food for this weekend as I'm on welfare and this week's payment is late. I wish I could have helped. If there's anything non-financial I can possibly do, please let me know, I'd be happy to.
May. 30th, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
*Hugs you back.* Thank you for the offer, and THANK YOU for sending positive thoughts and signal boosting for me. *Big Hugs.*
May. 30th, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC)
This is so beautiful :)
May. 30th, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
*Big Hugs.* Thank you so very much.
May. 30th, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC)
You don't know me, I came upon this from a friend's journal, but this is just wonderful. Things like this give me hope about us humans.

I don't have any money myself, or I would have donated something. Yes, even at this point. For emergencies. My mom raised my brother and me alone for the most part. So I know it ain't easy.

Tell your friend that people will always step up when needed. When I had money, I helped friends, even those here on LJ when we had never met face to face. I know it's a cliche, but hang in there. This, too, shall pass. Let's just hope it's not gas. ;-)
May. 30th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
*Big Hugs.* Thank you for coming by, signal boosting and sending positive thoughts and good mojo. And yes, hopefully "this too shall pass like gas," lol.
May. 30th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
I am so happy that the initial goal was met and then some. More than then some. People are amazing.

These kinds of happenings are the ones that help restore my faith in humanity bit by bit.
May. 30th, 2010 06:23 pm (UTC)
*Big Hugs.* I KNOW right? I can't be anywhere NEAR as cynical about people anymore.
May. 30th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
Amazing story. You are a saint.
May. 30th, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC)
*Big Hugs.* THANK YOU so much for signal boosting and caring. I really really appreciate it.
May. 30th, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
I am so very happy to hear that this worked out. And thank you for keeping us updated. :)
May. 31st, 2010 05:44 am (UTC)
You're welcome. And thank you for all you help!
(no subject) - nieceytee - Jun. 1st, 2010 03:50 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 30th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
I think it was awesome that you reached out like that to help someone else. i am amazed at the huge response- kinda almost makes me like people again!
May. 31st, 2010 05:45 am (UTC)
Thanks girl. And hug the boys for me.
May. 30th, 2010 10:55 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad everything seems to be working out. One of the joys of having a good job and a little extra is being able to help in situations like this. There were so many years when I couldn't.
May. 31st, 2010 05:46 am (UTC)
*BIg Hugs.* Thank you for helping and for boosting the signal.
(no subject) - nieceytee - Jun. 1st, 2010 03:53 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 31st, 2010 12:25 am (UTC)
hi! I happened to chance upon your post thanks to a "pass it forward post" by someone else. you know, while I haven't donated a single cent, I would like to say something:

you may not think you're an extraordinary person, but what you just did there's few people who are willing to do. Even as a friend. so, here's to you for standing up to support someone who needed the support and here's to everyone for opening their hearts to someone who needed all of it.

:) *clink*
May. 31st, 2010 05:46 am (UTC)
*Big Hugs.* Thank you very much!
(no subject) - nieceytee - Jun. 1st, 2010 03:49 am (UTC) - Expand
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