Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Thanksgiving tale of Giving.

On this day when we have so much to be thankful for, many are reaching others to help others in with random acts of kindness on this Thanksgiving Day. Here are some stories to inspire you.

What’s better than Thanksgiving at the Organic Cafe in Beverly, Mass? It’s when that meal can help those less fortunate enjoy the holiday as well.

The cafe will be hosting its third pay-it-forward Thanksgiving dinner, asking customers to pay what they can for a meal, or pay more than the suggested price of $18.95. Any additional amount goes toward a meal for someone who can’t afford it.

“I love the idea of anybody being able to walk in the door and get this incredible meal, even if they don’t have any money,” said the cafe’s owner, Rawbert Reid, 49, of Arlington. “It’s a great day to reach out to the community and people in need.”

The cafe’s employees are enthusiastic about the program as well. The team that works Thanksgiving Day is voluntary, meaning that no workers are scheduled — employees come in because they want to be a part of the cafe’s service to the community, Reid said.

Caroline Daugherty, 37, of Gloucester, worked the Thanksgiving shift last year and will be working it again this year. She said she finds it encouraging that many people choose to pay-it-forward.

“It makes you believe more in humanity,” she said. “It makes you feel a great connection with everyone around you, especially on Thanksgiving.”

Paying it forward at a doughnut shop.

It seems that generosity flows freely in Mass. It started with a single act of kindness at Heav'nly Donuts in Amesbury, Mass., when the customer in front of Eileen Taylor paid for her order. Taylor returned to the shop the next day and returned the favor, paying for the order behind her. A chain reaction ensued and the doughnut shop saw 55 customers pay for each other's orders.

Ellen DeGeneres gives $10K to waitress who paid soldiers' tab.

A New Hampshire waitress who picked up the lunch tab of two National Guard soldiers affected by the federal government's shutdown was repaid — more than 300 times over — by television star Ellen DeGeneres. Sarah Hoidahl picked up the soldiers' $27.75 bill, but when DeGeneres caught wind of the act of kindness she wrote the waitress a check for $10,000.

Man still handing out $500 tips in brother’s honor.

Seth Collins says his brother’s last dying wish was to spread random acts of kindness to unsuspecting waiters. With the help of his parents, Collins began giving out $500 tips in all 50 states. Once a video went viral, the family was able to raise $60,000 in donations to go toward the tips.

A child gives back to Sandy Hook victims.

After the 2012 shooting at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School, a 7-year-old boy took it upon himself to start doing 27 random acts of kindness each month in honor of the Newtown, Conn., victims. Eddie Cristobal filled bags with candy and other toys and items with an attached note to the random recipient, asking them to pay it forward.

Lottery winner leaves $10K tip on burger and fries order.

Lotto winner Bob Erb, the Canadian who's offered $7 million to charities and random people since he won a $25 jackpot million last fall, dropped a $10,000 tip on a burger and fries bill for a lucky restaurateur in Saskatchewan. Erb left the tip for the owner of the restaurant after learning the owner's daughter has cancer.
Parents pay it forward with lattes after daughter's death.
Before Alyssa O'Neill died, the last thing she asked of her parents was a pumpkin spiced latte. In their daughter's honor, the couple bought 40 lattes for complete strangers at Starbucks, starting a trend on Twitter with the hashtag #AJO (Alyssa's initials). Starbucks employees were so moved, they paid for another 50 drinks to hand out.

Paying for a child’s funeral.

Between now and the end of the year, think about helping a family who has lost a child by donating to their funeral fund. Even $5.00 or $10.00 can make a big difference in whether a family can cope with the unexpected expenses arising from the death of a child or teen. We started funeral fund to help families who either do not have burial insurance or need a boost to cover these expenses.

We hope that these stories of inspiration and caring give you some ideas on how to “pay it forward” during this holiday season.

Nancy Burban 2013

Funeral fund

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