Alysun Ogilby is a single mom in Cincinnati with three small kids. She also has a busted washing machine, broken dishwasher, smashed cellphone and a stack of bills that would make a rich man cry. It was bad. But she had faith.
Earlier in the day, her pastor challenged the congregation as the church did a reverse giving, handing out $5 bills to each member. The challenge was to take that $5 and bless someone with it. So later that night, after she got the kids to bed, Alysun pulled up close to her computer and went to work on that. The church said it didn’t matter to whom or to where they gave. But to Alysun, it mattered.
She thought about the Paper Man; he was that guy she saw every Sunday morning out hawking the The Enquirer to passing motorists. And whether it was rain or shine, hot or cold, he was always out there, dancing and singing… and selling his paper from a rickety old bicycle with a kid carrier attached to pull the papers.
Says Alysun: “He gives it his all every Sunday. And I thought there is no boss to see him work so hard. No way to tell him what a good job he is doing. Who’s paying attention to him? Who inspires him?”
Well, we all need someone paying attention to us, at times, and Alysun knew that. She wanted to take that $5 and turn it into $100 or even $200 to buy him a new bike, or maybe even get him a new kid carrier. And she would love to give him a little bit of cash because surely, he can’t make all that much hawking newspapers.
But she had $5. She wanted to make the most of it. So she started researching crowd-funding sites on her computer. And she found one she liked. So she started a fund called “Bless the Paper Man,” and she asked her friends and neighbors to help. She nearly gave up after some technical issues. And then there was that minimum of $300 to set up the account. But, hey, she had come this far, and she already had $5 of that $300 to get it going… so she did it. Then she went to bed.
And over the next few days, contributions came pouring in, many of them from others who had seen the Paper Man every Sunday. One neighbor even pledged a $750 match if the fund raised $750. Well, it did. And after just a few days, the fund had taken in more than $2,000 in contributions.
Says Alysun: “I’m blown away. I’m so excited. It’s exciting to see what happens when you put yourself out there.”
But she hadn’t quite planned for this. So she wondered: “Do I write him a check? Do I get him a Visa card? Should I keep it going another week? What if we could buy him a car? What if….?”
And, really, when you think about it, a simple $5 bill Can go a long way if you put it to the right use. So…. what if……??? Hmmmm…. What if?
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