A week or so ago, my friend Karen (go to her website and buy her book http://www.iansstory.org/, I'm in it, if that persuades you further and proceeds go to support testicular cancer awareness) posted a story on my Facebook wall about the day The Bloggess acquired a giant, metal chicken, who was named Beyoncé. Since then, I have virtually ravaged her blog reading every entry. It's hilarious. Seriously. Today, I finally made it back to December 2010 and came across this story where a smiling wild boar head, named James Garfield, helped strangers donate over $42,000 to other strangers. I joke around a lot and am kind of an asshole (ask my sister), but one thing that I have always done, and will always do, is give away as much money as I can without feeling like I'm going to starve or be naked*. It makes me feel better about being an asshole the rest of the time and helps people at the same time. It's a win-win. After reading this story, I wished I'd been reading this blog back then so I could've been involved, but thought I could do the next best thing, e-mail The Bloggess (aka Jenny) and see if she was going to do it all over again this year (Even though it, literally, almost killed her last year pairing everyone who needed up with everyone who was giving).
To my shock and amazement, she e-mailed me back. Like an hour after I sent the email! I couldn't believe it. I'm not sure how many unique visitors visit her site on a daily basis, but it's enough that she generated over $42,000 in donations in a couple of days from her everyday guests and notes in one post that she typically has over 3,000 unread emails in her inbox. The fact that she took the time to respond (especially after reading her blog and seeing how she usually responds to PR solicitations, etc.) blew my mind and makes her even cooler in my book.
Here is my email to her (Karen, I apologize in advance for my semi-profane reference... It's easier to just not explain):
Last week, my ex-boyfriend who passed away's mother (kind of a weird story, but you know how those are...) posted a link to your post about the day you found Beyoncé on my Facebook wall. Since then, I have read every post on your blog back to December 15, 2010. I know this doesn't sound like much of a feat, but I'm hoping to eventually get back to the very beginning. I think you're hilarious, and a little crazy in a good way, and it keeps me motivated throughout the day while I'm at work (Don't tell my boss, but I've literally kept the tab to your blog open since the first time I read the Beyoncé story and read a few pages every day). Today, I reached the posts about James Garfield's miracles. I realize that what happened last year almost killed you through sleep deprivation, but do you think you'll do it again/it will spontaneously happen again this year? If so, I'd like to go ahead and volunteer to donate $50 in giftcards, or cash or whatever, to anybody who needs it. I'm not loaded by any means, but I certainly have more than enough for just me and won't have any problem buying gifts for my family. I'd like to do what I can to help people who aren't as fortunate as I am.
Please let me know if anyone has stepped forward yet asking for help. I'd be more than happy to Paypal the money now for Thanksgiving or whatever, or wait until closer to Christmas...or James Garfield Day, which I think might be December 15th (like Festivus).
You really are more awesome than you know. Your blog brings so much joy and happiness to people who need it.
And here is her reponse:
You are so awesome. For real. This year I think I'll do some sort of drive, but probably it'll be for Toys for Tots or something else that's easier to handle, you know? Last year almost killed me and I'm just not
set up to do all that work even with volunteers. I'll post something on my blog after Thanksgiving. :)
The moral of the story is, everyone is awesome, some people even more than you would think. I also recommend that you start reading her blog habitually. It really will bring a small slice of joy to your everyday life. Also, be sure to read around Thanksgiving time to see what she has up her sleeves and help out if you can!
* A few of my favorite charities in case you're looking for someone to send your money to:
Humane Society of Charlotte - WONDERFUL place. The people at this facility are the most loving, fantastic people. They love all of the animals there like they were their own. It's also no-kill if at all possible. They take in and rehab a lot of animals that would otherwise be put down and bring in a number of animals from Animal Control down the road, that happens to be a kill shelter. They also host low-cost vaccine clinics and offer low-cost spay/neuter services. I can't say enough good things about HSC. You should give them some of your money.
The USO - I give a few times a year to the USO. People can say what they want, but I think they do such an amazing service for our troops. I was in the Baltimore airport recently and saw the USO spot there that's open to all servicemen and it blew my mind. What a wonderful way to show our troops we support them by just offering them simple comforts. I hate war, but I love our troops. You should give them some of your money, too.
Cancer Action - I think everyone I know has been impacted by cancer in some way. I spent almost all of my life in Kansas City, until moving to Charlotte in 2010, and was really blown away by what Cancer Action does for the community. From offering rides for patients, wellness information, financial aid to those affected who are having trouble paying their bills, they do everything that someone with cancer might find comforting or helpful. The American Cancer Society does a great service by spreading the word, but I feel that their use of donations is not as beneficial to actual cancer patients as Cancer Action, or other agencies that might be in your community. You should give some of your money to Cancer Action, too, or another local agency in your town.