Phylana Stowers and her husband, Robert Stowers Jr., recall how much it meant when an anonymous friend sent cash to them when they needed it. It doesn't take long for the Sewickley, Pennsylvania, couple to decide how to use their combined challenge money.
Phylana creates beautiful cards with a rainbow and cloud on them and tucks $50 and $100 gift cards into each. The cards say, "In my life I have had many people give me hope in the middle of a stormy situation and become a rainbow in my cloud. I hope this gift is a rainbow for you, pay it forward with hope kindness and blessings for others."
They give $500 in gift cards to a woman whose home burned down. She is living in a hotel while she sorts out insurance problems. Her children are living apart from her with her mother, and she could use the extra help. The remaining gift cards are given to strangers Phylana and Robert, who they meet in their town. The Stowers use the remainder of their money to buy supplies for the Rosalia House for young, unwed mothers. These include seven car seats, 10 baby blankets and 1,000 diapers!
"At first we were a little apprehensive because, although we wanted to help others, we are pretty needy ourselves," Phylana says . "Thank you for the opportunity to look past ourselves and share something special with others. We feel truly blessed to be a blessing."