If you were given $25 and told to use it to make life better for your community, what would you do?
Grade 8 students across the St. Clair Catholic District School board have been given that challenge as part of the season of Lent. They had 40 days to come up with a way to turn the money, God’s money, into something more that benefits others.
There have been many creative ways students have come up with, but Jake Hooker and Brendan Bondy decided to look at it another way. The Grade 8 students at St. Vincent School in Chatham bought $2 Tim Horton gift cards with the $25 they each received. The gift cards came with a message asking recipients to choose a random act of kindness and help someone else.
“We picked important or respected people in our lives and gave them the cards, and then those people were asked to pay it forward,” Hooker said.
The students handed out the cards and have been amazed at how far the pay-it-forward message has gone already. New York, Texas, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Vancouver and even France have people paying it forward from just a $2 Tim’s card.
“It has spread out in the world, not just the community, to make it better for people,” Bondy said.
The boys also created a Facebook page asking people to report back on how they paid it forward and the stories show how far some people went, from local vet Dr. Michael Fife paying for a medical procedure a family couldn’t afford, to Dr. Terilyn McHugh sending English books to her stepsister in France to help her teach her kids English, to a local police constable who gave her gift card to victims’ services to help comfort someone who has been through a traumatic experience.
Other folks reporting in have done kind things for neighbours and loved ones or bought a meal for a homeless person.