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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Slipping Through the Cracks

You hear it all over the news. Our nation is struggling. Our economy is struggling. Our neighbors are struggling. Times are tough. That might be why you are reading this very post on a couponing blog. The big stories are the ones you hear about. And rightfully so. The Stockdale’s struggles or the family that lost everything in a house fire or the father killed in a car accident. The newsworthy stories get attention. They generate community support, see donation money and most affected by these tragedies see this outpouring of love and support and have a renewed sense of hope.

What about the Average Joe? What about our friends and neighbors and co-workers struggling with job loss and personal tragedy? Their struggles may not be newsworthy, but they cause just as much grief, just as much pain. But you rarely hear about them. And often times those people suffer in silence.

The blogging community, notably the coupon blogging community, is a powerful thing. I have been touched by the kindness of our readers; by their generosity and their strength. And so we come to you today and ask you to help a family that has fallen through the cracks.

Many of you know Crissie. She is one of our readers. You probably know her because of her willingness to help others and to share with strangers. What you might not know is the private struggle her family is facing right now. After her husband lost his job, they are raising a family of 7 on next to nothing. Plus, they have been dealt many personal blows in the past year that I do not wish upon my worst enemy. But, she is not a charity case. Quite the contrary. When many would throw their hands up, Crissie has chosen a different path.

To take their lemons and make lemonade, she and her husband have chosen to return to school and better their education. That was the reason she had so many of you furiously clicking on the Madsen bike to better her odds of winning one in their contest. The bike would play a pivotal role in carting their children around campus as they trade off between classes. The contest is over, and although the winner was truly deserving, sadly Crissie did not win. And so we would like to fix that. We would like to buy her that bike, and hopefully renew her faith in humanity (although from everything I have seen, it was never lost)!

I know many who would normally give the shirt off your back can no longer afford to buy the shirt to begin with. So we are not asking for any monetary donations. We are excited to tell you we are hosting the first ever Pay It Forward Garage Sale. We are seeking your items. Do you have items you have been meaning to drop off at Goodwill? Have you been collecting a pile for the Arc to pick up? Well, why don’t you let us pick up your stuff instead?

On August 1st (more details coming soon), we will gather all donated items and, coupled with the bake sale of the century (you are welcome to donate cookies too!), aim to raise not only enough to buy Crissie that fantastic bike, but hopefully enough to help other families in similar situations. Every last penny raised will be donated.

So step one is to go dig through your closets, your boxes in storage, your garage, and find some items you are willing to give up for a great cause. Then, email us to let us know where to pick the stuff up (or we can tell you where to drop it off if you would like). Next, spread the word and mark August 1st on your calendars. We want this to be HUGE! We want to help the largest number of families possible.

And finally, we need to hear about these families falling through the cracks. Email us their (or your) stories. What are they struggling with? How can we help?

Let’s come together as couponers, as neighbors, as friends and help out one (and hopefully many) of our own.

(ps. Crissie, you are not allowed to say no. It's a done deal!)

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Beth said...

1st, love your blog and check it daily! 2nd, thanks for the awesome ideas about the free coffee mate - I always see people getting it super cheap or free and think - too bad I'm not a coffee drinker. :) 3rd, how can I help from a distance? I live in Colorado, but think what you're doing is awesome and I'd love to help! Thoughts? Thanks again for posting all the great deals and being such great gals!

Robbie Chandler Family said...

I love your blog and Today I love it more!!! I think is the best thing!!! I do not have extra money to give but I DO HAVE STUFF!!! If you need some help man-ing it too. I would love to help!!!

Michael N said...

As a person who is slowly adjusting to being unemployed (for the first time in 21 years) I truly feel for Crissie and her husband . I actually am new to couponing and have been using it to keep the pantry and freezer full on a budget of about 1/3 of what it used to be . Without the help of this and several other dedicated bloggers who keep me up to speed on good deals and freebies we would have already eaten our way through a substantial portion of our food storage . I will see what I have in the way of stuff in my garage and storage shed to help someone else better themselves during this time of need and drop it off wherever you all need it .

AliSmith13 said...

Wow...this just brought a tear to my eye. The way you guys are pulling together is just amazing. I would love to help as much as possible! We just had a garage sale a few weeks back, so I don't know how much I can come up with, but I'll see what I can do...you guys really are great for doing this! :)

Crissie said...

OH MY GOSH WHAT?!?!?!?!? You girls are SERIOUSLY FAB!!! I honestly can't believe it!!!!

Please, please, please at least let me help out with pick ups or something!!! I seriously can't believe this...

Who does this sort of thing???????

I love you girlies so very much - each and every one of you. I love the little cards and treasures and tasty homemade bread that are brought to my door when you come pick your doublers up!!!!!

I cried and cried and then cried some more when I read this and then all of the kids came running to the computer to see what the heck was going on...

Seriously - thank you from the bottom of my heart. This bike is ridiculously out of our price range and never in a million years would I expect people to be so generous.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for thinking of me.


Shelley said...

This post is a tear jerker! We all know so many in need right now,....What a wonderful idea! :)Count me in for donating.

Keri Lyn @ She Saved said...

AWEsome. I am totally in. Gives me a reason to clean closets this week!! Do post a drop off location if you can, that might help for those of us that aren't very gifted in the "planning" area.
Blessings!! KL

Rachel said...

OK Amber, you know I am your wingman on this venture and could not be more excited! Like I told you on the phone last night I am pretty sure we can get Crissie her bike with our storage unit alone! Lots of good stuff in there and I cannot think of a better way to get rid of it.

Crissie if you read this, you are amazing. I've never met you, only read your blog that my dear friend AMber directed me to. This is what life is about...giving what you have, when you can.

Audrey Ann said...

okay, so i'm off in maine. hard for me to drop stuff off...i don't have a lot of money, but i'd love to send something to support the cause. :) i just love this!

andrea.roche said...

I've got LOTS of stuff I want to bring. Let me know where to drop it off!

Jeff and Tonia Clark said...

My family is going through a rough time as well, my hubby was laid off through winter & spring and is just now going back to work full time as of a few months ago. We just happen to be having our own yard sale that same day Aug 1st! I'm sure we will have leftovers so swing on by after say 2pm. Email me for directions.

NoExpertsNeeded said...

Job loss...Been there. Done that. Yep, still 'there'. My heart goes out to those still getting pinked.

For me, losing my job was one of those defining moments in life. I knew I had a choice: I could choose to lose my way (my mind) or rise to the challenge and follow what my Spirit tells me to do, always remembering that I am more than a statistic on the news.

I'll share with you what I was told the day I got "set free" (laid off) from my job: "This is a new chapter in your life. WRITE ONE HELL OF A CHAPTER!" And I did just that! Will you?

So if you just need a break from the doom and gloom, let me send you a FREE book download...no strings attached, really!

Sign up now: www.noexpertsneeded.com

Yes, times are tough, but it doesn't mean that we can't still give back to one another. This is simply my way...

take care,
Louise Lewis, author
No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You!

Jamie said...

Just found your blog last week and LOVE it. What a great idea to help those in need when we can't afford to pay them. Also there is a website called FreeCycle.com maybe they could find some things they need on there too! good luck~

Letia said...

Yes, please post a place to drop off stuff and details of where to go to buy it all again on the 1st.

Stewart and Julie Jensen said...

I will be watching for the place to drop off. This is what trials are about, pulling together and forgeting about ourselves. Thanks for making my day and I will pass the word along.