Thursday, November 18, 2010

Secret Santa's Generosity

Photo Credit: DaveRamsey.com

The holiday season is upon us.  Christmas lights are up and carols are being blasted throughout department stores.  People everywhere are stressing about holiday budgets and gift lists, and it is only mid-November.  This season, we'll suggest a number of ways that you can give a very simple gift to those who need it most.

Do you remember Secret Santa?  Larry Stewart gave more than $1.2 million to complete strangers over 25 years.  Growing up homeless and struggling, Larry's grandmother taught him: "You don't live well until you give well."  It was a message that stuck with him throughout his life, prompting him to seek out those who needed a little extra help -- a warm jacket or meal.  As Larry grew out of poverty and became more successful, those small tokens became $100 bills that he would hand out to suffering people on the street each Christmas.

Dave Ramsey has pledged to continue Secret Santa's spirit of philanthropy during the holiday season.  In his Great Giving Challenge, Dave asked: "How much change can you make with $5,000?"  People submitted videos and voted for who would win the chance to giveaway $1,000 a day for 5 days.

The winner, the Pass It On Project, plans to bless real, average people in Lansing, Michigan through random acts of kindness.  Click here to view the winning video, which explains Free Tire Monday (selling used tires at a major discount), Textbook Tuesday (buying students textbooks for the upcoming semester), Lay-Away Wednesday (donating a law-away payment for someone's holiday gift), Co-Pay Thursday (financing co-pays for those that can't afford it), and Bus Fare Friday (pay the fare for an entire bus, and give college students and seniors two one-month passes - one for them, and one to pass on).  The Pass It On Project gives away money and help, but also asks that each person who receives a gift also pass on a gift of their own.  People are encouraged to pass on the blessing that they received in any way that they are able.

Dave Ramsey summed it up well: "Take a lesson from the Secret Santa. Help out someone this Christmas. You don't have to give a $100 bill to make a difference. Give your time, your abilities, and—if you have it—your money."

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