It’s nearly the end of January. I have prayed about what to do with the “gift” envelope I received. I shared the story with friends and discovered that the idea was cheered by all, and one friend even doubled what I had received. Ideas ran rampant through my mind. I fought my tendency to be impulsive. Good causes, worthy situations, and though I am wired as a creative person, the “well” was dry so to speak. So, I waited. For what, I was not sure and yet I was sure it would be revealed. So, it is the end of January, the giving of the holidays are a fond memory, and this week my heart lept in my chest as I shopped for my groceries. There I noticed a frail bird of an elderly woman. Working! Deliberately and focused on her efforts cutting bits of cheese for crackers to be sampled. You’ve seen this I’m sure. When by all rights, this lady, frail and delicate, appeared to me to be well within the season of retirement. (I’m not judging those who choose to work. I honor you. ) At first I looked away, walked past, and then heard the Spirit of the Lord tell me to give her the envelope (that “coincidentally” I had placed in my bag just recently). So I did. I returned to her. She looked up at me. I placed the envelope in her hands and said “This is for you. God bless you” she said thank you. I walked away.
I didn’t hide around the corner to see her reaction. I can imagine what it might have been. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to bless and have discovered I see with better eyes these days and the delight I felt in that moment I seek to experience again and soon and often.
Our family donated to World Vision to buy $300 worth of lifesaving medicine for children in need across the globe.
I doubled the gift I received and and gave it to a homeless man – who, in turn, wanted to give me soup he was about to eat! I kindly declined but he wouldn’t let me leave without accepting something from him – we agreed on a small bag of fortune cookies. He who seemed to have nothing was so generous. As I walked away, he said he would share his gift with the “other cart dwellers.” May God watch over him.
-Jeannette Watka, 56
I kept my $10 with me with awhile as I thought of the best use for it. Today, while walking around in Boston, I came across a bell ringer at a Salvation Army kettle. While walking by the kettle, I thought “how better a way to bless someone in Jesus name than through the Salvation Army.” I pray this gift can be used to help provide housing and food for a homeless individual and that their life can be changed by meeting Jesus in the process.
I have ziplock bags in my car with water, juice, granola bars, and almonds to give to people who are homeless.
A very giving, loving friend who works two jobs, I knew to be having some financial stress due to extraordinary circumstances. I thought she wouldn’t accept an outright gift from me so, when presented with the church’s Gifted program, I figured I could gift her under the auspices of the church program. The gifting program inspired me to give an amount I thought might be of assistance. She initially demurred but then graciously accepted and thanked me with a smile and a big hug. Thank you, Cape Cod Church, for this wonderful idea of gifting people you might not ordinarily gift. Brilliant.
I was carefully and prayerfully considering whom to share this special gift of $ , as well as ,an even greater gift of forgiveness. There is a housekeeping staff at my place of work. There is a worker who works so incredibly hard and goes above and beyond for my department. She was the first person I thought of and kept thinking of… Therefore one afternoon this week, at change of shifts, I went to her department where she and other workers were congregated. I asked to speak with her (privately down the hall). After explaining to her what #giftedcapecod was, I then gave her the $$. I’m not joking, her eyes lit up and it spread throughout her face and entire countenance. She said thank you and then erupted to a loud giggling. Then I could hear her sharing the story with her coworkers while still giggling. Thank you so much Cape Cod Church. I can still hear her gleeful heart, which has brightened my days. I plan to do this each week on my own until Christmas. Give blessings, get blessings 10 times over.
I received $10.00 in my gifted envelope. I gave the money to a co-worker that is a single parent of 4 children. She was so thrilled to receive this gift and gave me a big hug and thanked me and our Church family.
-Karen Robbins, 46
I split my gift into two Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards. I gave one to the TJX hiring manager, who is often getting spoken to and not praised. I gave the other to a friend who is a single mom with two girls, and who works two jobs to make ends meet. Just gave her something for her.
-Nancy Taddia, 57
My friend and I each received $10 in the gifted envelope. We each added $10 and donated to my niece who makes bags for homeless girls on Cape Cod. She bought a coat for veterans at Job Lot and received a $40 gift certificate to Job Lot. So $20 from Cape Cod Church turned into $80 for the needy of Cape Cod.
We were able to secretly bless a neighbor in need with cash and gift cards 🙂 Praying that the Lord is breaking through.
I always had difficulty with the parable of the talents. I felt that I would be the one who returned the exact amount given.
I was gifted a mere $10. How could that be useful to someone? How could I make it grow?
I decided to wait until I knew exactly what to do.
On December 28th I was to go on a 6 hour hike in Cusco, Peru on an ancient Inca Trail. My guide was Ores. It was just he and I hiking and talking for 6 hours. Well, not just talking. We laughed and cried as we shared our stories and got to know a little about each other. He renewed my faith that there are “good men” in this world. He was doing everything he could to provide for his wife and two beautiful little girls. He was considering homeschooling. God had put us together, because I did homeschool my two children!
At the end of our long day, I gifted Ores my mere $10, which in Peru is worth $33! Thank you God for letting me increase what you gifted me with!
I received $20.00 and doubled it. Two other family members also matched that and it became $80.00. I put it in a Salvation Army kettle as they do so much for the needy. God is Good!
I added my own dollars to the dollars I received from Cape Cod Church and made a donation to Samaritans, in memory of the mother of a good friend who recently took her own life. May she be resting in peace.
-Kathryn S. Buckley, 73
My family received a total of 30.00 between myself, my wife, and two sons in the Kids Town program. As we drove home we all had really good ideas to help. After great discussions we all agreed to help one of my students. She is a 7-year-old girl in one of the ASD (Autism) programs I work with at an elementary school. I know that her family struggles with money and are currently living in a shelter. We went to Target and bought her a brand new pair of sparkly sneakers! She loves them. This was an amazing idea from the church.
As a family, we pooled our gift and multiplied it 106 times to build a new home in Africa for a mother who lost 6 of her children and is currently raising her grand children. We were able to share in her joy (via video) as she was presented this gift. She prays to God everyday and she said that God is with her and that He answered her prayers.
What a challenge this was. So many ideas ran through my head … start a Go Fund Me page to multiply the money… invest it for a year… buy a meal for the homeless… As I was thinking I realized I was being selfish. I was thinking of the recognition I would get: could I be the one to make the biggest and best donation. So I prayed about it . I left the envelope in my car so it would be on my mind. I wasn’t getting any answers. Finally I was on Facebook and ran across a family in need. Tom Swift of Falmouth is the closest thing to the perfect family man that I have seen. Not just for his family. As a scout leader, Tom has helped endless kids. His son is now battling heath issues. Tom and his family would never reach out for help. Finally I found the perfect place for my 50.00 reverse offering. I added another 50.00 and my wife matched that for a total of 200.00. Although not as flashy as I originally was thinking, it was where Jesus wanted it to go. Someone set up a Go Fund Me page set up on Facebook so please consider contributing if you haven’t found a place for your reverse offering. Thank You Cape Cod Church for this awesome idea.
The same day I received the reverse offering I was going through the mail and opened a card with a lottery ticket inside. It was a $10 winner. My husband and I decided to add it to the $20. We thought long and hard on what to do with the money and gave it a family to help with their medical bills. The father had eye surgery and was in danger of loosing his vision. Thank goodness all he lost was a months pay. His eye wasn’t even completely healed when he began having terrible headaches and his face began to swell. He found out he had an infected tooth and needed to have it removed. During the process he found out that it wasn’t just one tooth but two that had to be removed. There financial situation is not the best and they have no dental insurance. We added another $70 to help defray some of the costs.
-Annemarie Currie, 49
As a young adult (in my twenty’s) I learned the art of antique oriental rug restoration. I worked in Boston and got to know many Iranians and Lebanese people. I fell in love with the rugs and their food! And of course them!
I moved on from that field after about fifteen years and as the various horrible actions starting taking place across the world my heart ached the kind-hearted people that I once knew.
Becoming born again is the best thing that ever happened to me and I want Iranians to have the chance to experience our Savior.
I doubled and donated my gift to the Elam project hoping to reach an oppressed people.
My 4 daughters and I collectively received $100 from the reverse offering. We pondered on it for awhile, asking God for guidance. In the end, we decided to double it and bless a mom of a new baby boy. What a blessing to be apart of this church.
My wife and I both received $10 each. We decided to bless Clearway Clinic, a pro-life clinic that provides free ultrasounds and nurse consultation to women considering abortion. We added to the donation out-of-pocket and we’re very grateful for the experience.
-Marcus & Cida
In the spirit of this Christmas season’s gifted program Mary Boudreau and I have taken the $10 pay it forward funds and increased to $100 each blessing both a homeless woman and daughter living in their car that my local hair dresser told me about; along with the ‘giving tree’ as part of Mashpee High’s program to help the needy kids with gifts they wouldn’t have had thanks to my wonderful Cape Cod Church.
-Sunok Koh & Mary Boudreau
My wife, our niece, and I received $40 from the reverse offering. As we drove home from church my wife and I both thought of an elderly neighbor who lives by himself down the street from our house. We knew that he loved to visit a local general store and thought about giving him a gift certificate to the store. We then found out that the general store is experiencing some financial hardship this winter. It felt like a great idea from God of being able to help not one, but two families through the same gift.
Our son and two of his friends received $5 each from the Loft. When we got back to our house after church, they decided to pool their money together to buy candy at a local store and then sell that to our neighbors as way of fundraising for the Falmouth Service Center. I was astonished when they returned with $42 from the initial $15 investment! This was a great opportunity to help a small, local convenience store and also to raise money for the service center. It also gave us an opportunity to follow up with our neighbors who had given so generously to the boys and explain to them the initiative of the Gifted program at Cape Cod Church. And it also gave our son and his friends an opportunity to see a practical way of showing God’s love to those around us.
I used some of the money the church gave me to buy cookies for the staff at Mocean.
-Mikayla Noonan, 6th Grade
We matched our combined amount, from $30 to $60, and bought a well for a community through Compassion International.
-George & Teri
We received $10, added to that amount and shared it with our small group and increased it to $300. We gave a prepaid VISA card to a mother raising five teenagers. God is great!
-John & Julie Karas
Beth and I pooled our money together and doubled it to send to a single mom in Tampa Florida who couldn’t afford to buy a Christmas Tree.
-Donna Royals & Beth Uchman
As a family we pooled our money and then added to it. We made goodies and purchased gift cards to Dunkin. We then delivered to the third floor Aides, Housekeeping, Janitorial and Nursing Staff at the Royal Nursing Center on Main Street.They are the unsung Heroes who cared for our Mom as she declined in health. We knew they loved her and took such good care of her. When they received the gift they cried.
-The Sellers Family
We initially struggled to find the right opportunity to gift the $10 we received. However after much prayer, we stumbled upon a local giving Facebook post that allowed individuals to publicly share what they need but can’t afford. One post struck us in particular from a women stating she couldn’t afford oil for heat this winter. Knowing the helpless cold feeling all too well, we grew the $10 to $50 to defray the cost of oil and help this family stay warm. We are so honored to be part of this movement sparking generosity and sharing the message of Gods love!
-Sara & Eric LaFranchise
We combined the money that we received and tripled it so that we could help more people. For each gift we obtained 3 gift cards- a Charlie card for the bus, a Dunkin Donuts card to get something warm to drink and a Stop and Shop card to get what was needed. We put these in a Christmas card with an invitation to the church Christmas program. We then drive down Route 28 in search of individuals waiting for the bus, gifting 3 separate individuals with them. The people were very thankful for the gifts that they received.
-Jeff & Kim
I took my “Gifting” and added to it a bit to purchase $20 Dunkin gift cards that I’ll gift to on-duty police officers and firefighters on Christmas morning, thanking them for their (and their families’) sacrifices to keep us safe.
My husband and I love visiting your church when we come to see his parents at Thanksgiving and Easter. It feels like a church home away from home for us. Thank you for always being so kind and inviting.
When Pastor Ben issued the challenge to use this money to bless someone, my mind immediately went to “who do I know that needs to know they are loved.” There is a man in our Connect Group at church who has just recently gone through a divorce as well as having numerous medical and financial issues. His heart is so tender towards the Lord, and he has always sought joy in all circumstances. The blows have been coming hard and fast lately for him, and we haven’t seen him at church in a couple of months, so I used this gift to remind him that he is loved by so many and that he is missed. I pray that God will use this to lift his spirits and remind him that he doesn’t have to go through the hardships of life alone. God intends for us to live in community with other believers. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to reach out to him in this way.
-Christina, 40, Virginia
Our Youth Center on the base were recipients of #giftedCapeCod today. A million thank you’s to that someone who is thinking of the children on the base! We feel so blessed and appreciative of the generous gift. Happy Holidays Merry Christmas Happy New Year!
-Base Cape Cod Youth Center
We had so many ideas on how we could gift others! When we heard of a local mom who was seriously ill, we wanted to help her and her two little girls. We combined our $5 dollars and our parents grew our donation to $20. It made us happy to be able to help a family in need.
-Sajeira (11) & Sophie (7)
I work in a Primary Care office located in a shopping center in Hyannis. Every day I see a homeless womanwalk by our big windows. I took my $10 and added some to it and bought her a scarf, hat, and warm socks. We had a cookie exchange at work today so I also put in a bag of assorted cookies. I put it in a pretty gift bag with really pretty tissue. I was able to give it to her today and I could tell she was very touched. She said “God bless you” and I can honestly say “He has…many times over!”
I was able to triple-plus my $20 with a special one day deal and coupon from Michael’s, to purchase art supplies. I delivered them to the Emerson House so the gals can share God’s love through art as they recover.
My mom during a recent stay at Royal Cotuit Nursing Home received flowers from Flower Angels USA in West Yarmouth, a non-profit that delivers flower arrangements to nursing and hospice patients in Cape Cod. I increased my gift of $10 to $100, to help deliver random acts of kindness through Flower Angels USA.
Today we donated a new copy of one of our daughter’s favorite books, “How the Crayons Saved the Rainbows” to our local library– one they don’t currently have. Libraries are amazing resources and honestly one of the most accepting places for families with young children. They provide a place for playing, exploration, growth, and quite frankly- a place of reprieve for many parents of little ones. I’m so thankful for local libraries and the opportunity to give back.
We had a small delivery from Falmouth Lumber and the young driver who helped offload the truck greatly appreciated the generous tip – he was almost tearful. My wife and I have put GIFTED stickers on the back of our phones to remind us that all that we have is a gift, and that we can be exceptionally generous all year long.
It was hard to give my gift away but my Mom and Dad encouraged me to. I helped buy two books for two boys my age so they can have a Christmas gift.
-Kaleb, Grade 2
I invited friends over to hear about Susan Loucks’ ministry through Neighborhood Falmouth. Coffee and cookies will be served. A basket for cash donations will be available, and I will put my $10 in and watch it grow!
-Jacqueline R. Snell
As a family, we pooled the money we received and bought supplies to make 45 inspirational ornaments for those that are in a recovery program on the Cape. We wanted them to know they are loved and in our hearts.
I walked into a tailoring shop to have alterations done, and there was a young lady having a fitting in her bridal dress with her mom. I found out later Ellen (28) has two young daughters ages 5 and 1 years old. Ellen has terminal cancer. She will be a beautiful bride! I bought two silver 4×4 frames for the girls to put a family photo from their parents wedding day, to have and to hold forever, representing eternal love. There was $10 in my envelope, and I gave them $30 total towards a family outing, perhaps. I gave the gift to the owner, Olga, to give to Ellen when she comes in again.
We gifted an aide from hospice.
-Ken & Cheryl Hart
I was stopped by indecision. There are so many options! I did nothing for days. Then Pete Frates died- the warrior who battled ALS, like my cousin Brenda. So I matched the amount from Gifted Cape Cod to Pete’s fund.
I doubled my gift, then had it presented to a woman who cares for our frailest elders.She takes on extra work and doesn’t do it for the pay. She also lost her mother last year. May she be blessed!
-Child of God
I gave my gift to the Red Kettle Fund (The Salvation Army)– worthy of giving $10! A full-service organization treating body, mind, and soul in the name of Jesus. Still standing upon the Word!
I gave my gift to a very pleasant, hard-working young man. Always smiling and so happy with the job pushing carriages from the parking lot in any kind of weather at Wal-Mart in Falmouth.
Our 13-year-old thought to give our $20 to the guys who collect carts at Stop & Shop. It was snowing- Miles appreciated it! “What church does that?!?!!”
We shared the challenge with a local retailer and they gave a financial gift, so joined with ours we were able to purchase six $20 gift cards for children in need in our community.
-Phil & Jenny
We joined our gifts and ‘grew’ it so we could bless a single mom with two boys. She works very hard and is totally alone.
-Judy & Carol
I listened to the story Britt told (at church on Sunday) of the young girl from the Ukraine. My $10 grew to $200, and I donated to her fundraiser.
[See below to read about Viktoriya Horb’s story and initiative, ‘Unforgotten Gift’]
One of my childhood friends Carly just recently lost her dad due to complications with pneumonia. I wanted to spread some love, so I tripled my $20 and made a care package including a cross necklace, candles, and plenty of snacks and goodies to munch on. She said opening it was the first time she smiled since her father’s death <3
-Jenna Buttrick, 18
Hi, I am Mercedez. I am a 6 grader and this year my teachers are Mrs. Karson/Mrs. Simanski. They do this thing liked Gifted, but we make crystal ornaments and holiday cards. Then they will send them off to the nursing home or hospital to bring Christmas joy. I hope you like my story.
My husband and I each received ten dollars in our envelopes.We decided to match that amount. Ocean State Job Lot has a program where if you purchased a $40.00 coat for a homeless veteran, you received a $40.00 Crazy Card to use in the store. We are taking the gift card to our elderly neighbors who had been going they a rough financial patch so they can purchase what they need.
I gave the $5 to my elderly neighbor, Mary so she could get a bus ticket. She was very happy and thanked me several times, which made me happy.
-Isabella Pereira, 12
I was at my husband’s work Christmas party and started chatting with the woman sitting next to me at the table. As we worked our way through the traditional ‘getting to know you’ questions, we talked about children. She reluctantly shared with me that her son, who has some special needs and mental health challenges, is incarcerated and really struggling. I knew that this was what I was supposed to do with my Gifted Funds and asked her if she would please deposit this in his account and let him know that I would be praying for him.
When I was a young child, my gentle, loving father’s business went bankrupt, but he still had 5 children to feed. It meant no money left to buy Christmas gifts. The Salvation Army stepped in and gave all us kids presents that year: mine was a doll that I treasured for many years. Now all of us are in our 70’s but when we see the bell ringer we still put money in the pot as we are reminded of our special gifts and a wonderful organization that asks no questions. I received $10 in my Gifted envelope and matched it and of course, gave it to the Salvation Army.
-Judy Martin, 77
The day that we received the envelopes there was a twenty in it and had planned to add some money to it and give it to someone “in need.” I struggled to really see any opportunities to give it to someone I felt could really use it. I started to pray that God would give an opportunity to give in some way. This Saturday morning I headed out to give my car an oil change. As I headed out, I asked God to give me an opportunity to give to a person in need. It was 7:35 am when I pulled out of Dunkin and headed to the dealership. I thought to myself, “Great,” that I was going to be right on time. As I drove on to route 151 I saw someone walking on the side of the road, and trying to navigate some of the huge puddles on the side of the road. I pulled up next to a man who was drenched from the rain. I asked him if he needed a ride and he smiled and said that he was going to the Sea Crest Hotel, where he worked. I told him to hop in and that I could give him a ride as far as RT 28. He jumped in the car and thanked me as we pulled away. He told me that he was trying to get to work by 8 am, and had been walking since 6 am. As I drove I asked him if he had ever been to Cape Cod Church. He said that he had been several times and he asked if Ben was still the pastor. As I headed into the pouring rain I told him that I would give him a ride to the Sea Crest. He then told me that God had answered his prayer for a ride. I knew then this was the opportunity that God had put before me. As we pulled into the Sea Crest parking lot, he told me how he had his 1st daughter on the way and was struggling to make the rent. I told him that I had something for him and that what our church was doing and the gifted program. I parked the car and pulled the gifted envelope out. It still had the twenty in it, but I wanted to give more. I pulled all the money from my pockets and wallet and put it in the envelope. As I handed him the envelope I told him that this was a gift from God, because all that I have is from God. He thanked me over and over as he got out of my car and went inside. As I pulled away I was overwhelmed with how good I got it and how much God has blessed me and my family. I also felt blessed to be able to give and to be apart of God’s blessing to this poor man in the rain, to be apart of an answered prayer. God thank you for this great experience, all glory and honor to you our Lord.
-Don Foose, 57
Right when Pastor Ben announced that we were going to be giving to the community, I instantly started to brainstorm. Even while we were praying I kept thinking about who would be the right person to give to. And then school came into my head. I thought, you know, if I ask the school who needs money, that would work. And then first responders came into my head. I remembered that there was a school fundraiser a little while ago and then I also remembered that there was a police officer there. He was a really cool guy who loved the Lord. I thought, what would be a good gift for this young officer? I thought that gift cards would be a good idea. But first, I had to find out how much money I was going to receive. When I got a ten dollar bill, I thought about multiplying it. I then thought that since it is so cold in the morning now that Dunkin Donut gift cards would be good. When I saw the officer at school I gave him the gift cards. He was very appreciative of the gift and said that he would think of me when he got his coffee. I also gave him 3 other gift cards to give to other officers at the station. While we were talking, he told me that he has never received a gift from the community. I was very surprised to hear this. Since school was about to start, I said goodbye and wished him a very Merry Christmas. Thank you Cape Cod Church for all you do. This church has meant so much to me the past 3 years.
During the holiday season and even throughout the year we often forget how gifted we are each day. We are gifted with our lives, a roof over our head and food on the table. We often forget that some people aren’t as “gifted” as we we may be. That people go without some of the basic luxuries that we take for granted. So when me and my boyfriend Dennis got our “gifts” of $10 each from the church we instantly decided to give back. We combined the $10 we each had then doubled it and picked up groceries to donate to the local food pantry. To know that some wont go without, is the true gift this holiday season!
-Kim & Dennis
When we were blessed with our gifted offering, my husband and I discussed what we could do with it to bless someone else. The next day at my ladies’ Bible Study, one of the ladies mentioned that she had been made aware of some families with foster children who needed clothes this Christmas. The children were getting toys from the Toys for Tots program, but they were not receiving any much needed clothing. It was obvious that the Lord was working and had brought this need to our attention so we went shopping and ‘multiplied’ our $10 into 3 outfits, sneakers, socks, a winter coat and gloves and hair accessories for a 7 year old little girl. We feel so blessed to know that the Lord lead us to bless a little girl’s Christmas so that she can go back to school with new outfits like the other children. We are so thankful and blessed to be a part of Cape Cod Church.
-Nancy & Glenn Ware
The reverse offering service was the most innovative and exciting church service I have ever attended!
I knew exactly who I wanted to gift. My life long friend came to mind immediately. This friend is an amazing woman, a loving mother, a caring daughter and a compassionate sister. She has journeyed through many hardships in her life, yet she continues to give of herself despite her own trials.
She works at Cape Cod Family Resource Center as a Family Partner. She works closely with families in need, helping them find counseling, homes and jobs. She is very dedicated to the families she works with.
After the service my family and I were all talking about what to do with the gift. I shared who I was going to gift and why. My son-in-law Kyle and my grandson Marcus choose to pool their money together with me. We matched the gift and I called my friend to meet me for dinner.
I told my friend about the reverse offering, then handed her a Christmas card with the ‘Gifted’ sticker on the envelope. She was so touched she began to cry. She kept saying thank you, I can’t believe this.
However the most amazing thing was what she asked me next.
She asked if she could “Gift” it! I told her its yours to do as you want.
She said she knew exactly who she wanted to gift. Someone she has been mentoring for years through her job. A young woman who is a single mother of three.
Amazing! She gifted her gift!
-Michelle, Kyle, and Marcus
My second story involves my grandson, a young man of 18 in the Community College in Miami, Florida who loves Jesus. His mother had told me how on his way to school he brings an extra lunch for a homeless woman that he sees each day. So when my daughter shared the story I had told her about our church gifting, my grandson thought it was a great idea and asked his mother for envelopes. My daughter assumed he intended to give his homeless woman some money. Then my daughter realizes he had a handful of envelopes and she asked him what he was doing. He thought the gifting was such a great idea that his youth group he leads should get in on this and he was funding the whole idea. Now he does only have a part-time job and fortunately he is very frugal, so I don’t know what he has for money, his major expense is keeping his truck running. But I thought you would enjoy the story of a good example of Living Fully for Christ.
I have two stories to tell. First my experience gifting. As I usually do, I felt slightly overwhelmed with the idea. I want to put rules around it. I realized I needed to pay more attention to people, then I just wanted God to tell me when. I finally found, coming out of Roche Brothers, a young man in a wheel chair, appearing to suffer from Cerebral Palsy. He was working, ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. I made a donation to Salvation Army bucket, and then I pulled out my gifted envelope and gave it to the young man. I said, “This is for you.” He asked, “What is it?” and I said, “A surprise.” By then an older man came up to us, who appeared to be this young man’s father. I said to him the envelope is for the young man and I walked away. I don’t know if they opened it as soon as I left. I made a point of getting out of the parking lot without being seen. I would have liked to be a ‘fly on the wall,’ but I also realize I like doing this and not being known for what I did.
Thank you for this beautiful challenge! Our family donated to a woman named Lizbeth Granfield @ Hugs for Lizbeth on Go Fund Me. Liz lives in Dennis Port, is a veteran and former school teacher who has Huntington’s Disease. Liz and I played softball and field hockey together in High School. Liz was a few years ahead of me and we only knew each other through our teams. But after hearing of the fundraising efforts to help Liz, we felt compelled that #Gifted was where we wanted to share the offering. The Go Fund Me was set up to help pay for Liz’s care so she can stay home as long as possible with the help of her life partner, Alan, and caregivers. We upped the donation from the $40 we received from the reverse offering to $100. This donation will be an unexpected blessing to help in Liz’s care.
-Rick, Jennifer & Kenzy Markello
So the day these envelopes were handed out was my and my friend Erin’s first time there at this church. The idea of TAKING from the offering felt strange as we weren’t members, but hey, the idea was AWESOME. So me personally I had held onto mine, trying to really figure the best impact. The Friday after these were given I still hadn’t decided. On Friday one of my long-time clients that had been down on her luck with no job and financial struggles called for an appointment; the receptionist said she could hardly understand her through the tears she was crying as she explained someone had died. A John or Josh, me knowing this client realized either person was going to be a huge loss. One was a gentleman she had been a caretaker for for 22 years, the other her son. When she arrived she explained it was BOTH: my heart broke for her as I know she couldn’t provide proper burial or anything for her son. SO after talking to Erin this Sunday, (she had held onto hers also) we decided to add to the envelope and combined them to bless Marjorie so she could use it towards whatever she needed in her time of loss. I also included a card I picked up in church lobby for coping with loved ones addiction, and an invite to church. Thank you for the blessing I got to pass on.
-Deb Davis, 49
Well there are a few of us that decided to pool the money together to help a good friend out who just this past September found out the love of her life has Pancreatic cancer, stage 4. It’s one of the top cancer killers. We all know the holidays can be hectic and rough for anyone and we couldn’t imagine just how hard the day-to-day challenges are when they’re now dealing with everything that’s involved with trying to get through this journey where her husband is fighting for his life. They also have 2 adult children and one teenager. Their whole family and great group of friends have come together to support them in whatever way they can. We decided we’d pool our money together to have a cleaning service come to the house just before the holidays. We knew that they are struggling with even just the everyday stuff and are so drained trying to cope. We just hoped to lesson the load for them, in some small way, especially going into this holiday season.
-Chantal, Pete Wright, Tracy Graves, and Karlene Palmariello
Mike and I both took envelopes with $10.00 bills.
We tried for several days to think of how to best utilize this gift. We decided we would double the amount of the donation. We put our thinking caps on. So many people need help ….
Then this past week I was assisting a friend who is looking for nursing home placement for her husband with Alzheimer’s.
One of the facilities had a giving tree set up with tags asking for gifts for the homeless shelter in Falmouth…
So I took 8 tags….. we were able to get five pairs of non-skid adult slippers and 3 feet pajamas for a 6-week-old, a 3-month-old and and 3-year-old…
Our need found us and we will be delivering these items on Monday.
-Mary & Mike Principe, 75
We’re so touched by the generosity we’re seeing around us through the church. We took our gift from church and added a balance to it and purchased a business tool (a welding machine) to help a family abroad in a third world nation. It has touched a small community not to mention the privilege of allowing our family to give!
-Alain & Portia
Our two gifts went to a pharmacist at Wal-Mart, to be distributed to people who can’t pay for their family’s prescriptions.
-Peter & Patty
I took the money in my envelope and donated it to New Hope Initiative. They have a donor who is matching all donations made by year end up to $101,000 to cover a year of education for the 800 children currently being served by NHI programs across the globe. So my “gifted” money was doubled due to another’s gift.
With the Gifted cash I received, I combined it with my mother’s gift, and we donated it to a woman whose 19-year-old son was murdered on Christmas Eve two years ago. He was one of seven children, and left behind a 3-year-old daughter. His family has been trying to raise money to go away for Christmas instead of being at home wishing he would walk through the door.
My 8-year-old daughter used her Gifted cash to get Dunkin Donuts cards for the janitors at her school as a thank you for all that they do.
I paid for two orders of Dunk’s drive-thru, in hopes of making two days a little better 🙂
I have many connections with non-profits through work or personal life, so it was not easy to pick one. CORD (Cape Organization for Rights of the Disabled) is an amazing organization. The smile with surprise was the best. Thank you!
I gifted my gift and it was doubled by the MSPCA for elderly animals that have no home and need care, food, and shelter.
I donated my gift to help disabled veterans!
We matched the gift and gave it to the Barnstable Sunrise Rotary Club to purchase hygiene products for the homeless sacks that the club distributes every spring and fall. Showers of blessings!
-Kathy & Raymond Andrews
I made cookies for our neighbors 🙂
-Sarah DaSilva, Kids Town
I paid off somebody’s veterinarian bill.
I matched the amount in the envelope and donated it to the Cape Cod Hunger Network food pantry in Bourne.
Our neighbor lost her daughter to a drug overdose last summer. She now has her three grandchildren, all under the age of 5. We matched the gift we received and gave it to her.
-Charles& Linda Devlin
Even before Pastor Ben told the story, the Lord instructed me whom to gift. Having given birth to eight children in 12 years, there was nothing left for mom at Christmas. I plan to find an at-home mom who love mothering as much as I did!
We had two different ideas on what to do! 1) Buy Dunkin gift cards to give to bell ringers when we put money in the kettles. 2) Donate to fuel assistance for the elderly. We decided to “multiply” our gift and do both.
-Loraine & Jim
My husband and I combined our gift, and gave it to a friend who has just been diagnosed with cancer.
My husband and I received $30 in the reverse offering. We added to this, and purchased 20 $5.00 gift cards to Dunkin Donuts to be handed out to the homeless. Each card had a message letting them know they are special and loved <3
I tripled my gift, and made a $150 donation to the Falmouth Service Center on Giving Tuesday.
What a blessing to be a blessing …. we were part of the “reverse offering” and received exactly what God planned. We were able to add to our gift and gifted $50.00 to the Emerson House – cottage. While we live off Cape for the greater part of the year, Cape Cod Church is our church and it’s reasons like this that we make it a point to be on Cape Sunday mornings. Merry Christmas #giftedcapecod
– John & Leslie Hill
We combined our reverse offering money and added some of our own to bring toys, canned food, gloves, and socks to the Mashpee Fire Department Homeless for the Holidays campaign at the Rotary. We also filled a bag with baked goods and muffins for the people working long hours collecting all the items. We love being part of Cape Cod Church and the wonderful things God is doing for our community through them.
-Glenn, Kathy, and Julianna
My wife and I combined our gifted money and matched it. We donated it to a local listener supported Christian radio station in E. Falmouth (88.3 renew FM).
-Paul DeVeau, 62
I gifted a regular cashier at Job Lot, telling her of the church’s Reverse Offering Gifting program. She teared up and with the biggest smile said this was the first time in twenty five years someone had done something like this for her.
My family and I doubled what we received at Church last Sunday and donated toys to Mashpee families in need. Our 12-year-old daughter learned to give to those in need.
I knew that I would help an elderly person, but I just wasn’t sure how.. I finally thought well, I would double the amount and get a 40 dollar gift card at Stop and Shop. When I went to purchase, I found that there were no 40 dollar cards so I kicked it up to 50. The next day, feeling emotional and nervous (I’m such a sap) I paced up and down the check-out isles looking for the someone I would gift.. There were 3 potentials and after the first passed, I decided on my giftee: a women in her mid 80’s.. I found myself so emotional, I had to make another pass before I could approach her. I said, “Excuse me I would like to give this to you,” and handed her the 50 dollar Stop and Shop gift card.. She asked me “Why?” With tears in my eyes that I was trying to control, I said… “As an act of kindness…” I will never forget the look and smile that she gave me as she said thank you….and at that moment, I realized that I was the one who just got gifted…..Thank You Pastor Ben…
Faith and I combined our “Gifted Cash” and added to it for a total of $200.00. Thursday, I went to Hyannis to help a friend put his Corvette in storage, and I had the “Gifted” money with me. Afterward, we made a spur-of-the-moment decision to have breakfast at an unfamiliar restaurant in Hyannis. Our waitress Rose was polite and efficient, but reserved. I asked her a few questions and learned she was a busy grandmother, full-time waitress, and a little stressed about preparation for Christmas. Given the few patrons in the restaurant at the time, this was not likely to be a profitable day for her.
My friend Tom and I discussed her situation while eating. I concluded she was to be my ‘gifted candidate.’ After our discussion and feeling the ‘nudge,’ I asked her if an additional $200.00 would impact her holiday. She responded with a casual, conversational “yes” and seemed perplexed why I would ask that question. While Tom spoke with her, I went to my car and got the money. I gave her the money that was in a Christmas card, and told her the CCC gifted story. She was overwhelmed, eager to call her husband, and asked if she could give me a hug. Rose said, “I can’t believe this.” I asked her to open the envelope and see the money. She did and started to cry tears of happiness. I felt happy, Tom was happy, and Rose was more than happy.
Tom commented afterward that surely “God is at work.” I wish Faith could have been there to experience all our joy. No doubt that everyone involved felt that, too, and will find their own way to be “unexpectedly generous.” Such a wonderful lesson for Rose to share with her grandchildren, family and friends! Thank you, Cape Cod Church for such a meaningful and joyful idea!
-Faith & Chuck Augat
My name is Viktoriya Horb, and the one thing that has been a constant factor in my life is my drive to help people. This is a story of how one person can impact and change the lives of many with the idea and or concept of giving.
I was born in Ukraine and given up shortly after my birth. I spent 12 years in orphanages sustaining enough abuse and trauma to hate the world, but that is not how I perceived it. I grew up with the minimum. I got candy for holidays. I did not know my birthday till I was 10 years old because it was never celebrated. I had to wear the same clothing for a week before they got washed and I could only take showers on Sundays. They were very cold showers. So I know what it’s like to have nothing- what it’s like to wake up hungry and know there is nothing you can do about it. What it’s like to wear dirty clothes and smell. I know what it’s like to have people look at you and think you’re garbage. I also know that despite all of that I had food on my table, clothes on my body, and a roof over my head. I was always so willing to give what I had for the benefit of others even when I had very little. I like to think gratitude was always a part of me and giving was my gift. When I was a little girl I would look out of my window into the big blue sky and say to too myself, “One day I’m going to change the world.” I truly believe God placed me on Earth for a reason and I hope one day I can help people to not struggle the way I did.
I was adopted by an American family when I was 12 and I was given everything. I am an only child and my family can be classified as middle class. My parents tried to raise me right. They made sure I wasn’t spoiled, needy, or ungrateful. I had what I needed and although the things I wanted they could provide I wanted to work for them. I got a job the minute I could speak fluent English which was at 14 years of age. I worked hard and saved my money and by the time I was 18 I had enough money to buy anything I wanted. For a while I had forgotten where I came from and I learned very quick that money does not buy happiness. Money buys sustainability and comfort but the minute you become selfish and greedy it means nothing. I went down a dark path at the age of 19, having no sense of right and wrong. When I came back, my drive to help people was even stronger. I just didn’t know what to do with it. Until one Sunday where I sat in Cape Cod Church and they introduced this new idea. It was called “Gifted” and its purpose was to empower you to use your gift to bless others. Often churches hand out an offering basket where you place money to give back. However this church handed you an envelope. Your envelope had either 10, 20, or 50 dollars in it and the hope was that you used what you had to help someone in need so that one day that person could help someone else and so on. My envelope had 20 dollars in it and I could have taken the easy route of either just keeping it or quickly giving it to someone who was less fortunate–but that’s not what I did. This was a beautiful idea and it got me to think. It was my opportunity and inspiration to do what I’ve always wanted. I went home and stayed up all night brainstorming and sketching my ideas of how to help people with just 20 dollars until I got one.
There are 20, 068 homeless people in Massachusetts. We are the 6th state to have the largest homeless population in America and maybe I can’t change that but what I can do is help them struggle a little less than they do today. With just $20 you can make up a package filled with necessities for the homeless. It’s the perfect way to spread generosity this Christmas and I cannot do it alone. If you are interested in helping me spread joy and happiness this Christmas please join me in my project. I have set up a GoFundMe (gf.me/u/w24nar). I have also set up an Amazon Wish List (https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/3EUL10IH19NXH?ref_=wl_share) where you can add and purchase the necessary items yourself. All purchases will be directly shipped to our charity location and then later distributed among homeless shelters. I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for helping me do what I was born to do. I appreciate your time and effort in making this project a success. Happy Holidays to you and your family. For more information please follow our Instagram account Unforgotten_Gift and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
p.s. So far, Unforgotten Gift has raised nearly $800 to provide Christmas gifts to the homeless!
-Viktoriya Horb, 19
I was overwhelmed with emotion and joy picking the envelope from the collection basket, knowing I could give the contents to someone of my choice. I matched the contents and purchased toys from Walmart for the “Stuff A Cruiser” organized by The Falmouth Police Department this weekend. All toys will benefit the Falmouth Service Center and local families in need. I am so grateful if it will make just one child’s Christmas special. Thank you Cape Cod Church!
So impressive CCC…. what a concept; a reverse collection. Just beautiful.
As I listened to Ben’s sermon, including his new view of the parable of the Talents, I smiled and immediately decided that I would add 10X of the dollar amount in my envelope to the total and focus on one of the many worthy and deserving entities who are caring for our Cape folks.
I eagerly opened my envelope hoping for a 50 dollar bill. I got a 10 spot. As the ushers continued to seek out those who may not have received an envelope yet I saw an opportunity to turn my $10 gift in and try again. The usher looked at me as if I was weird as I swapped my $10 for another envelope. This time I would get $50 for sure!!
I got another Hamilton, ugh!!
So, I took my gift of $10 and added my $100 to it and headed down to The Friends of Bourne Food Bank. I shared the CCC “Gifted” initiative with the coordinator of the Food Bank. She was grateful to our community and we had a fun visit together.
Then I handed the coordinator an additional $100 since it took me two envelopes to get me to my final $10 talent.
Brilliant work, CCC. Leveraging talents is a powerful tool for good. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn, give, and grow.
I was bringing some canned goods to the Food Pantry in Pocasset. A young lady was on her way out with a cart full of groceries. I said “Is that all for you?” She said she had a large family. I gave her the gifting $ along with an invitation card to our Christmas program. I told her the $$ is from my church, Cape Cod Church on 151 in Falmouth. I got a big hug and thank you. Made my day, which up until then was a “down” one.