A Birthday Invitation to Be Here For Good

Posted by Joni Halpin, Contributing Writer, on Oct 27, 2020

A Birthday Invitation to Be Here For Good

What does it look like to turn a birthday celebration into an invitation to be Here For Good?

A few years ago, my sister held a lovely bridal shower for her soon-to-be-married daughter. My niece got quite a nice pile of gifts from the guests. Then, the very next month, she had a birthday. She didn't feel comfortable having people buy her more gifts so soon after they had given her a shower gift. So she sent everyone a link to a needy cause she selected and asked them to give toward that instead. I was impressed with her selflessness.

Let me introduce you to another selfless young lady. Nancy Lee, along with her husband and two young sons, started looking for a church home about a year and half ago. The whole family enjoyed visiting the Chase Oaks Legacy Campus and decided to stay. Within months, Nancy's in-laws and several other friends attended the church and decided to stay also.

Inspiration for a Birthday Fundraiser

When the pandemic hit this spring, Nancy started hearing about all the restaurants closing, people being laid off, and school kids unable to get needed meals at school. Nancy and her husband have jobs that are deemed essential, so they were not affected financially by the COVID-19 shutdowns. She decided to use her Facebook group activity to get help for families in need of food and to promote businesses that really needed a boost. Then, as her June birthday was approaching, she got another idea. Nancy has never been one to relish getting birthday gifts from others. It makes her a little uncomfortable under normal circumstances; how much more so while so many others are doing without. Why not have a birthday fundraiser instead and ask people to give to Chase Oaks' Here For Good movement, which was doing so much to help our community weather this COVID storm?

A Birthday Invitation

Nancy announced her idea on her own personal Facebook account and set an audacious goal of raising $5,000. She also said she would match the first $1,000 raised. Darby DeBusk from the Chase Oaks social media team helped Nancy to set up her fundraiser and confirmed that Facebook was indeed directing all of the incoming gifts to Chase Oaks. Here's Nancy's intro to her friends:

Hi Friends! Nancy here! I have been very blessed to have all I need this year. I truly do not want any birthday presents so please, if you’d like to gift me something for my birthday, I would like all of you to join me and donate to this wonderful cause! Let’s change the world together with one small act of kindness at a time! The Here For Good movement means serving our neighbors and caring for the vulnerable. It means giving generously of personal resources such as food, blood, plasma, money, and clothing in order to help others who are struggling. It means including and inspiring others to be here for good with us. So, what do you say? Are you ready to join the movement? Let’s make a difference together. For my birthday this year, I'm asking for donations to Chase Oaks Church. I've chosen this nonprofit because their mission means a lot to me, and I hope you'll consider contributing as a way to celebrate with me. Every little bit will help me reach my goal.

Darby also helped Nancy to list some of the specific ways the church had already applied funds received from generous Chase Oakers. These included efforts such as partnering with the YMCA for both child care for essential workers and church space for day camps, and distributing $10,000 checks to seven area food pantry partners. Darby emphasized how “food pantries can buy food for pennies on the dollar, so they can stretch monetary donations way further than food donations.”

An Overwhelming Response

Adding those details to the campaign helped donations come in, along with a very generous gift right off the bat from a good, long-time friend. Within 25 days, Nancy saw the full $5,000 come in from 52 donors—and most of them do not attend Chase Oaks!

This is actually not the first time Nancy has selflessly leveraged her birthday for higher purposes. She's done various fundraisers before and even had a “make sandwiches for the homeless” birthday party once. Something tells me this isn't the last birthday fundraiser she'll hold either. She obviously has a huge heart for giving to others. She recently discovered a way to further donate to the church through her AmazonSmile account, which passes on a small portion of every purchase made to a charity of your choice (check it out to set up your own account). And she's working on a long-range goal: to go on medical missions as a nurse.

How might you use your gifting or a personal milestone to be Here For Good? Nancy would want you to know that if God puts an idea in your heart and you pray about it, He will also put it on others' hearts to be a part of it. So go for it!

To learn more about how Chase Oaks is choosing to be Here For Good, click here.

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