Nancy Thomas and her daughter Natalie use their Pay It Forward Challenge money to help a variety of people and organizations near their hometown of Lansdale, Pennsylvania.
Nancy divides her $1,000 among four organizations. First, there's Manna on Main, a soup kitchen and food bank. The director asks for healthy snacks to give to children who attend an after school program at the Boys and Girls Club. Nancy delivers the food along with a grocery gift card for future needs. She buys Christmas gifts for residents of the Good Shepherd Home in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and brunch certificates for cancer patients and caretakers at the North Penn VNA hospice, where she volunteers. For her final act, she donates walkers and visual aids for those served by the Montgomery County Association for the Blind.
"During the holidays, sometimes I don't enjoy gift giving, because what do you get for people that have everything?" Nancy says. "But these people have nothing, and it's just so wonderful to make someone's dreams come true."
Twenty-year-old Natalie spends her $1,000 on three organizations with important missions. She gives a grocery gift certificate to a group that secures housing for the poor. She buys spa packages for a dozen cancer patients at The Wellness Place in Lansdale, and she gives her last $400 to Mary Beth, a devoted single parent with few resources who takes care of her grandmother.
"I'm still so young and I have so much more to learn about the world, and through this experience I've learned that there's just so many people out there that [need something], and it was just great to be a part of that," Natalie says.