A Pay-It-Forward Movement That Moved Me...And Hundreds of Others

How do you turn $93 into over 165,000 meals for hungry families? Well, my friend, Carolee Hazard, has done just that. And totally inspired me in the process.

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Here's how it happened. One day, back in August, Carolee was in line at Trader Joe's. The woman in front of her had lost her wallet and was a bit panicked. Carolee generously-though not without wondering if she'd made the right move-paid the $207 tab and gave the woman her address so she could repay her. Later, on Facebook, Carolee posted that she was "vacillating between feeling really good and very, very stupid". Friends reassured her that she had done the right thing and good karma was sure to follow. They were right.

It turned out the woman, Jenni Ware, was not only thankful, but generous in return. She promptly sent Carolee a $300 check and told her to put the extra $93 towards a massage. Instead, Carolee turned to her Facebook friends again to ask what they would do with the money. Many suggestions later, Carolee decided to donate the $93-and match the donation-to Second Harvest Food Bank since the chance meeting took place in a grocery store.

Friends, inspired by the idea, started matching the $93 donation as well. Then Jenni heard and her friends started donating too. Before they knew it, donations had reached over $2000. Kids were donating 93 cents from their allowances. Those with tighter wallets were donating $9.30. The press picked up on the story and it became the random act of kindness heard around the world. And now, months later, the 93 Dollar Club-with a lot of love from Carolee and Jenni-has raised almost $83,000 for Second Harvest Food Bank. And that doesn't include all the people around the country who heard the story and contributed to their local food banks instead.

I made my donation and joined the 93 Dollar Club on Facebook a few months ago. But somehow it felt bigger than $93 (and technically it was, thanks to Yahoo!'s donation matching program). Taking part in this group and spreading the word about it has made me feel like part of a movement. A movement that is reminding people of the power of a random act of kindness. And that a little good can lead to a lot of hope.

It's a lesson I've taken to heart-and am doing my best to teach my children each and every day.

To follow the 93 Dollar Club's story as they work toward their goal of raising $93,000 or find links to donate to your local food bank, check out their Facebook page here.

To learn more about childhood hunger and how others are making a difference, read about Yahoo! Mother Board member Jessica Rosenberg's efforts here.

Author: Amy Heinz, YodelingMamas

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