Karen Acerson got her entire Utah community involved in Oprah's Pay It Forward Challenge when she chose to "serve those who serve." Karen says several businesses and community members pitched in cash and donated goods and services, bringing the total amount to more than $9,300! "You know, it's really been hard to spend [Oprah's] money because a lot of the businesses that I called … have said, 'You know, let us just go ahead and donate that,'" Karen says.
First, Karen donates $500 to RoseAnn Gunther of the Genesis Program for Aid to Chad, Africa. "I believe service begins with our family then our neighbors, the community, state, nation and the world. The world is last, but I firmly believe if we all make some type of contribution we can cover all the bases and bless the world, too," RoseAnn says.
Karen then focused on Greg and Holly Richardson, who, in addition to their own children, have adopted children from several different countries around the world—including some kids with special needs. Karen presents the family with a check for $300 for Christmas presents. She also gives them a Thanksgiving dinner, a basket of baked goods and a free dinner at a local pizza restaurant—but that's not all! Karen got the whole family year-round passes to Thanksgiving Point, a family-friendly gathering spot that has gardens, a museum, a movie theater and other attractions.