Episode 2: Fast and Furious
The home has to raise $1 million a year just to keep the doors open and is in desperate need of a new playground. "We help really hurt children get better," executive director Rebecca Hea says. "I believe that if you help children, you help change the world."
"If I could pick anyone to help, it would be a single mom," Brandi says. "I hope the judges see I did something a little different."
"I've had surgery, but I'm still unable to work," Jason says. "I'm worried about making sure my kids have food, clothes, a roof over their head. If our financial situation doesn't improve soon, we'll lose the car and the house."
Angelo knows he needs to help. "Jason is unable to work, and the bills are piling up. I have $4,800, and that is not enough to get him set," Angelo says. "Time is running out. I need to focus, focus, focus."
Roger Cobb's 16-year-old stepdaughter, Blair, is developmentally disabled. "She can't communicate, she can't walk unassisted, she can't potty, she can't feed herself," Roger says. "We've been looking for ways to help her with communication because she does respond to sight and sound."
The story resonates with Carlana because she has a nephew with special needs. "Immediately, I knew that this challenge, the Cobb family, became my purpose," she says. "My biggest frustration right now is that I have 43 hours left, and that's not a lot of time to help a family."
After meeting the rest of the Cobbs, Carlana learns that on top of needing more resources for Blair, they also need help sending her brother, Brice, to college.
Carlana knows that she must make miracles happen. "I cannot let this family down."
"These babies come into the world, and their families can't buy diapers, clothes or a car seat," says Robin Engleberg, the center's program manager.
After meeting new parents facing financial difficulties, Sheg surprises them with cash. "The whole idea of giving big is to get involved and give people emotional and financial support," he says.
"I decided I was going to get cool prizes for their homework auction next week, the kind of things they can't afford," Kim says. "You will be amazed by what I can do in 40 hours!"
"My plan is to surprise the women with a day of pampering by securing a spa and a restaurant," Rachael says. "I only have 42 hours. I have got a lot of work to do!"
Jake's enthusiasm lights a fire in Angelo. "Nobody can beat me in this challenge," he says. "I'm setting the standards right here."
"Everyone came together," Cameron says. "But we're all going to be judged individually. They're going to expect three times the results."
"I'm still in total shock," Mary says. "That somebody actually thought that I mattered enough to help me out—that is amazing."
"[Giving is] addictive," Kim says. "When you get started, I'm telling you, you don't want to stop."
The Empowerment Group can't get over Rachael's kindness. "Today, we just got blessed," says one of the group members. "Rachael just let us be people instead of being HIV women."
After leaving the Cobbs' home, Carlana gives her car to a paralyzed man who just got out of rehab. "What an honor to be able to give a gift of that magnitude," Carlana says. "A car, to somebody like me, represents independence."
"It's really important to give the kids things that allow them to heal and to be kids," says program director Rebecca Hea. "Eric, Cameron and Steve came in and said, 'We can make that happen.' And they did. They didn't just dream it, they executed it."
To pay Jake, the manager, back for helping out with his Big Give, Angelo sends him off with a new Ford Edge.
"If that restaurant manager hadn't given Angelo the idea for that fundraiser, he really wouldn't have had that much at all to give to Jason and his family," Jamie says. "And the car! What happened with the car? The restaurant manager wasn't the person in need!"
Angelo was eliminated after he decided to give his new car to Jake—a restaurant manager who already owned two vehicles—instead of the soldier he was committed to helping. Though time was running low when he handed over the keys, Angelo says his decision wasn't impulsive.
"I felt [Jake] was so deserving because he brought the community together. They gave all that they could [and] asked nothing in return," he says. "That's what I thought the Big Give was all about. So, in that moment, that's why I decided to give it to someone who showed those attributes."
Despite an early exit from the show, Angelo says being a contestant was an excellent experience. "It meant very much for me to be able to do those things for the families," he says.
After the first episode aired, Malaak says her husband, Chris Rock, sent her a text message from his stand-up comedy tour that said, "Congratulations, honey. You have a hit show."
High ratings aren't the only positive things surrounding this show. "Everyone I've talked to…they're just so inspired by it," she says. "I feel so blessed to be a part of this movement."
Malaak continues to help spread the giving spirit across America. For the first episode, she hosted a Big Give viewing party at the home of music mogul Antonio "L.A." Reid and his wife, Erica. Each guest was asked to bring shoes to donate to New York's Henry Street Settlement for the homeless. One unexpected guest, Project Runway's Tim Gunn, surprised the hosts by donating 500 pairs on behalf of Liz Claiborne!
"One thing I love about Henry Street Settlement, it is not just a homeless organization," Malaak says. "Their goal is to get them into jobs and back into permanent housing."
Inside the shelter, women gathered around to receive their new shoes. Verona, the shelter's executive director, says many of these women fled dangerous situations and arrived with nothing but the clothes on their backs. "Thank you so much for thinking of the people that we serve," she says. "We have a lot of need in this community and, particularly, in our shelters."
Special thanks to all those who helped during this episode of Oprah's Big Give