When Lori Jennings returned home from The Oprah Show with her $1,000 debit card in hand, she decided to get her entire family involved in Oprah's Pay It Forward Challenge. "I felt personally that I didn't want to be the only one in my family with this great gift," she says.
Lori gave her daughters, Kayla and Kassidy, $250 and let them choose causes that are close to their hearts. After some brainstorming, the girls decided how they wanted to spread kindness across southwest Florida.
Kayla decided to use her money to create gift baskets for hard-working nurses at Cross Key Manor, the nursing home where her grandfather is a patient. Kayla filled the baskets with books, candy and small gifts. Then, she surprised the nurses with her gift of gratitude! "It was just really nice because I see how hard they really do work," Kayla says. "It was just a great experience."
Kassidy used her $250 to bring joy to Justine, an unsuspecting patient at a Fort Myers children's hospital. The Jennings family surprised Justine with pink gift bags filled with presents—a cowboy hat, stationary set and friendship bracelets. Justine's mom also received a special surprise…a gift card worth $200!
Lori also had exciting plans for "paying it forward." First, she donated funds to two nurses who take mission trips to the Dominican Republic each year to help people with heart problems. Then, she dipped into her husband David's share of the money to purchase a trumpet, which she donated to the Louis Armstrong Jazz Foundation Camp. Cadence Music, the store where she bought the trumpet, chipped in an additional $500 to cover the cost of the instrument.
With the leftover money, David surprised fellow Floridians with random acts of kindness, like paying for their gas and food.