How a $400-Pay-It-Forward became $5,475

Today's feature was originally posted by TV anchor Joleen Chaney on KFOR's Facebook page.

Our Pay It Forward segment is an amazing program, and I'm so proud and humble I get to be part of it. One of the most recent recipients was a church Angel Tree Program, and today I got a wonderful email from them sharing how $400 in Pay It Forward money turned into $5,475 after the story aired. How wonderful. A huge thank you to First Fidelity Bank for donating the funds and helping us make this happen. Here's the email:

“How $400 became $5,475”

As you may know, Judy Bell recommended Angel Tree to Channel 4 for the “Pay it Forward” recognition. I truly feel this was an honor for our church and our church family/friends who have participated in it throughout the year(s). Thomas Rossiter, representing First Fidelity bank gave me $400 cash. I put it in our Angel Tree account at the church.

A few days later I received a call from a man who said he/wife had watched the clip on Channel 4 and that they wanted to be a part of what we were doing. About a week later Ann Loper called to say someone had mailed a check to the church for $3,000 designate Angel Tree with a short letter stating they believed in what God was doing in our church regarding Angel Tree and wanted to be a part of it. Wow!

I quickly called our Oklahoma Angel Tree coordinator to ask how many children in Oklahoma had not yet been adopted. She replied 219. I asked her to get a calculator and divide $3,500 by 219 kids. It only came up to $16. We were going to mail Wal-Mart gift cards to these children/youth with a note saying simply, “Love, Dad” or “Love Mother.” I told her that would never do. That was just too little. So I asked her to multiply 219 kids x $20 and then said, “How much money would it take to cover $25 per child.” The answer was $5,475. I said, “Let’s do it!” A family from Houston sent $500, another person donated $150 and then another $140 and then a family made up the difference.

What this really means is 219 children/youth got a simple gift of a Wal-Mart gift card with the beautiful words, “LOVE” mother or “Love” daddy! I believe God will use this to keep the hearts of these children tender towards their incarcerated parents and that He will turn the hearts of the incarcerated parents to their children! That’s what He says in Malachi.

Father, please bless every one who became a part of making sure that every Oklahoma child whose incarcerated parent had requested a gift be sent through Angel Tree actually got at least a gift card. Bless and reward these ones spiritually. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.

One inmate dad wrote some time ago to say, “Thank you for giving my children Christmas gifts. You’ll never know what it means to me for total strangers to go out of their way for my children. Thank you!”

What an amazing example of how LIVING GENEROUSLY for the Kingdom sparks giving and impacts the lives of others!