Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Contest: a Long Short Story Made Longer

Remember this?

Unlikely you do by looking at it as I just took the photo today. But the uncovering of this curse and prize last February was detailed in a long short story here:

Wind and Dry Ground

The phone rang on my way out to take Addie to school this morning. And so the story is still being told. Will you write the end?

"Hello, this is officer something-or-other. I'm not sure if you remember me, but you brought in a 50 dollar bill that you found. No one has claimed it, so now it is yours."

No I don't remember you, I thought, but I remember bringing in that bill 8 months ago. I remember being disappointed as I waited weeks for your call to tell me the owner had claimed it, that it was back where it belonged. When I accepted that no such call would come, I imagined (unjustly, in hindsight) the impromptu pizza lunch the officers and staff must have enjoyed. And then I just forgot about it. Now it is mine? No. It never was.

Because of the integrity and follow through of Officer I-did-not-properly-note-his-name, the softened, faded cash is in my foster care for now, though. I don't know if there was really an older woman rendered powerless by the wind, a boy who in his cautiousness about spending had to confess to carelessness having lost it, a mother too preoccupied with the diagnosis of her child to grasp that a half hour's worth of speech therapy for her daughter just wriggled from her wallet. But things like that happen every day. And this 50$ can replace a divot somewhere.


Here is the contest - whomever comments with the most impactful way to put this tattered bill to work for someone who needs it, wins!

I need both your idea and your quantitative and qualitative reasoning on why it would be the most fruitful soil to plant 50 bucks in. That is to say - I want to hear from both your left brain and your heart (and if you know me, you know I have no qualms about shushing factual rationale if it doesn't defer respectfully to the heart).

*Must be judged by my daughters and myself as a somewhat original idea (donating it to well known charities would certainly be impactful, but let's go off the beaten path here)
*Must not require a ton of time on my part (full plate, cup and bowl right now, my apologies)
*Must be submitted here in the comments section by November 15th, 2009
*No limit to the number of submissions per person

The winner will receive a prize yet to be determined, the satisfaction that the money will be applied as he or she prescribes, and the deserved claim to end the story in the first person. He or she will also be featured in an interview here on Farmer John.

(Yes, I considered adding it to the over 16,000$ that Michael raised for Special Friends Foundation over 2 marathons, but I know that you all can think of other precious directions in which to divert this modest measure.)

Ask your kids what they think, your co-workers, your grandmother, your tailor...have them submit their ideas on their own or swipe the ideas without telling them about the contest - your choice.

Let's see how this story ends and maybe another one begins with the receipt of a dirty old 50$ bill.

Game on.


Cindy said...

Interesting that 8 months is the magic time...not 6 or 12!

My suggestion is an anonymous gift to someone you observe making Addie smile the most between now and Christmas. This could be a teacher or therapist or friend or stranger who speaks to Addie as a person and not as a disability. And it could be as a result of a one-time event or it could be someone who has consistently been a bright spot in Addie's life over the past several months. The note just says, "You're a person who made my day!"

Karen said...

Give it to one of those guys with the cardboard signs that say "Will work for Food"
Give it to and old lady you see waiting for a bus.
Buy big boxes of Milkbones and drop them off with the kids at the local animal shelter.
Slip in an envelope and stick it in the mailbox of a neighbor who is hurting. Buy flowers.

K said...

How about Donors Choose? (www.donorschoose.org) The organization that lets teachers write projects and individuals give donations to fund them? Addie could pick a class in her school/city/state or a special needs class (mine is available!) or a project that involves something she loves doing in school so other children can do that same thing.

My other idea would be spend a third/save a third/give a third. Spend some on a treat out on the town, buy a saving bond with some and donate the last bit to a local charity or just buy a grocery store gift card with it and give it to a food pantry.


Bethany said...

In many countries children with special needs are abandoned by families who can not financially provide for them and who are ostracized by society for having a child who is viewed as a "curse". These children then enter a system that is a living nightmare of a malnourished body, a malnourished mind, and a malnourished soul. Sarah's Covenant Homes in India is stepping into this gap and giving children with special needs abandoned to the government system the opportunity to live in a loving family environment. Not only are they surrounded by love, they have the opportunity to receive medical care that we take for granted in America but that many consider extravagant for a child with special needs in India. In American money it costs so little - custom orthotics to allow a child to walk are less than $35. These vivacious, inquisitive children also receive the best education possible. They are nourished in body, in mind, and in their souls with medicine and food, with education and enrichment, and with constant love. What may seem like a relatively small amount of money in America can be a fortune to a child in India who has never known acceptance, or hope, or love before.

Tena said...

You know me well enough to know that honesty is going to shine through here. My very first thought was - KEEP IT! You deserve it!!...followed immediately by "I could sure use it if you aren't going to keep it." LOL!

After that, my thoughts went to giving the gift of communication. Buy Signing Time stuff for a child newly diagnosed with a speech disorder. Donate it to a treasured speech therapy place (if there is such a thing).

But honestly? I think Addie and Cate need some smokin' new Gap. "nuff said.

Jacqui said...

Hhhmm I have been trying to think about this...

I can't tell you exactly what to do (especially because I really don't know what the opportunities are like in the US) but here are some things I would take into account:

I would give the whole amount to one person - maximising the impact.

I would give it it a person - rather than an organisation

I would find someone who I knew (even just a little bit) - I think giving within friendship feels like a blessing and not like charity.

I would choose someone who was really in need but who is also trying to make their way in life -

So someone who has "gutzpa" - not just passively waiting help

I would invest the 50 dollars in an intiative he or she has already started - so you end up partnering what he or she is doing, whether it be school fees or raising funds for medicines or saving towards an important trip.

So not a detailed plan, but some things to consider... I look forward to hearing about how you invest the money!

PS it is still the 15th November here in South Africa

Terri H-E said...

I enter on behalf of Brenda and Molly:
Keep it in your pocket, wallet or purse and let the moment come to you as you stand behind someone old or young in line that cannot cover their bill - it may grow smaller over time and the faces on the bill may change...

Our Journey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Our Journey said...

I know of a little girl in my area who accepts donations and makes "smile boxes" for kids in the hospital and their siblings.. Heres the link so you can check it out, she has been very successful and with Christmas coming she can bless alot more children!!


(her mom is a friend of a friend, she has also been in the paper and on the news! She has a younger brother who is Special Needs)

Annette said...

Last week Maddymo's (K4) teacher came to our house for a home visit. I was asking her about the other kids in the class. She mentioned a girl I had never heard of. I said I don't know her...she said she is 'homeless'. My jaw dropped. I don't know how her family got this way. But if it were up to me I would get it to her family. I can't imagine growing up without a home to go to. I haven't stopped thinking about this poor little girl/family. It has made my kids think...do they really need everything on their Christmas lists?