Pay it Forward

Pay it forward is an old concept that is gaining new momentum.  The idea behind it is simple – someone does a good deed and in turn the recipient does a good deed for someone else. Stories have gone viral of someone buying someone else’s morning coffee and pattern continuing all day. I love the idea of a simple gesture restoring faith in humanity. I want in!  In 2007 April 30th was established as Pay it Forward day in Australia and in just 7 years has expanded to nearly 70 countries.  The next pay it forward day is 332 days away.  I didn’t want to wait that long.  I wanted to get started today – so I did.

I started small. I simply asked to pay for the order behind me as well when I drove through to get my morning coffee.  Their order was $1.78, small change to me and probably to the recipient, but hopefully the gesture will inspire much more.  My mind was racing, what else could I do?  I spent the rest of my commute brainstorming.

1)  My commute does not include tolls, but a lot of people drive through multiple tolls, daily.  You could pay the toll for the car behind you.  If your car is anything like mine, this could likely be done with the spare change in between your car seats.

2)  Donate your leftovers.  This is something I learned from a vendor I had dinner with in New York.  We had just finished an incredibly over-indulgent fancy dinner, with even more leftovers on the table than in our already swollen stomachs.  The vendor had asked to have the leftovers wrapped up.  I assumed he was taking the food home to his high school aged boys, who would likely gobble it up even quicker than we did.  While we were walking to the corner to flag down a cab, I noticed he put the bags of food on top of an old telephone booth.  When I asked what he was doing, he casually said, ‘leaving a meal for someone who didn’t have dinner.’  This gesture had always touched me.  I live in the suburbs and don’t have a visible homeless population close by, but whenever I travel to urban areas of work, I have adopted this practice.

3)  Use your BOGO (buy one get one) coupons, when you are by yourself.  If you live in an urban area you could give your free meal to someone in need.  If you live in a rural area area that does not have a visible homeless population, simply ask if the free item can be applied to the next person to order that particular item.  I have not tested this, so I’m not certain if the store will do it, but it’s worth a try!

4)  Blessing bags – these could be a whole post in themselves.  I originally saw this on a friend’s Facebook post.  Basically you take a large Ziplock bag an fill it with essentials and give it to a homeless person:  a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, a couple granola bars, comb and a bottle of water.  My husband and I actually did this one Easter.  In our old house we often saw the same homeless man on a particular exit from the express way.  After returning home from Easter Brunch, full, my husband asked if I would like to run an errand.  We pulled up to the grocery store where I watch him assemble a bag like I just described.  Then we dropped it off for the man, who was incredibly appreciative.  If you travel a lot, the basics of the bag can be started with the complimentary items in your hotel room.

5) Tape a $1 to a vending machine with a post it note saying – ‘your treat is on me.’  You will likely never see the recipient, which is sometimes the best part!  Hopefully, the recipient will find some way to pass on your kindness.

Those are just a few small ways to get involved, but I dream big.  I go overboard.  I jump to conclusions.  I spend my life getting ahead of myself.  Vices?  Often yes (& I have many more), but ultimately I believe it depends on how I use them.  That is part of the reason I have started this blog.  I LOVE planning parties.  Graduating college I wanted to go into event coordination.  I ended up getting a good job on the buying side of retail and became passionate about my career.  Over a decade later, I’m still in corporate America and I have often wondered about the road not traveled.  I also come from a family where giving back is important and quite simply the goal is to leave the world a better place – which in this day and age can seem like an impossible task.  I thought maybe, just maybe, I could start a blog where I write about my passion, that eventually started to generate a little money.  I could then use that money to throw dream parties for those who need a good day.  It could be an elaborately themed birthday party for a kid spending their birthday at Children’s Hospital, a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal for the homeless, I could coordinate a run with a specific charity in mind – the options are endless.  I’m not there, yet, but there are things I can do now.  I call them parties with a purpose.

Present DonationMy daughter has a early December birthday.  Between her birthday and Christmas she is showered with more toys than most kids ever see.  On her 4th birthday I asked her if she wanted to donate any toys to a kid who didn’t have any toys?  I didn’t want to make a big deal about it or force her to give up her toys.  I just wanted to see what she would say.  She thought for a moment, asked a thousand follow-up questions about why someone wouldn’t have toys and then she went to work sorting through her toys.  Here is the pile she decided to donate.  I was touched that she was so generous and this has become an annual tradition for her.  This year we dropped the toys off at the police station where the officers distributed the toys to kids spending the holidays with their mother at a battered women’s shelter.  The police mailed her a thank you note and an honorary police badge.  I think that letter and badge brought her more joy than playing with the toys!

Friendsgiving – a Thanksgiving celebration with friends has become more and more popular over the last decade.  I always think it would be fun to use the day designated to overindulgence to highlight that some people don’t even have enough to get by, much less indulge.  You could use your Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving celebration as an opportunity to collect food for those in need.  Whatever dish you bring, you also bring the ingredients to donate.  For example, if it’s your year to bring the green bean casserole, you also bring a few cans of green beans and condensed soup to donate.

Poker night could even be used as a platform to do some good too.  Chips could be given out for each can of food donated or you could do a 50/50 raffle with half the pot going toward a specific charity.  The list of options is infinite.

I saw a hand-painted sign at the store the other day with a simple message, ‘Believe There is Good in the World.’  A very idealistic message for sure.  But then I took a closer look at the layout of the sign and the words in blue.  “Be the Good.”  Now that was a call to action!  We can’t sit and gripe about how the world has changed and become cold.  Each of us need to take it upon ourselves to inspire the change we want to see.  BE THE GOOD!  This message runs parallel with the Pay it Forward concept – inspiring just a little good can turn into something bigger!

Be the good

I don’t know if I will ever reach my goal of working in the event planning arena or if this blog will even become a means to support my family and my dream of donating parties.  That shouldn’t stop me from doing what I can today to spread just a little joy or bring a smile to someone’s face.  I will BE THE GOOD!

I’d love to hear your pay it forward ideas!

Blogger With a Cause

27 Comments Add yours

  1. go Mama O says:

    Really awesome ideas!! How wonderful that your daughter chose to donate some of her toys. I’m trying to teach my kids about giving back / helping others as well.


    1. Thanks so much for visiting!


  2. mkcasey80 says:

    I love this concept too. I have been intrigued by it since I saw the movie “Pay It Forward” And all great ideas! I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to reblog your post and then put it in my weekly round up. We need to be putting ideas like this out there a lot more. Thanks! Here is the link to the movie by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t even know their was a movie! Yes, I live under a rock 🙂 Thanks for sending! Thank you so much for the reblog!!


  3. The best part about the Pay if Forward movement is that we can be the first one to do it. I like being the recipient, but giving is so much more satisfying. Thanks for sharing your post at the #AnythingGoes Link Party!


    1. So true! It doesn’t have to cost a lot (it could even be free) to spread A LOT of joy!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Aliza B says:

    My family tries to do a “Pay it Forward” week every other month. We plan out 7 activities we can do Random Acts of Kindness. My children love the thought that they are making a difference in the happiness of someone else’s life. It has helped them to remember to think of others a little more. Thanks for sharing your ideas!


    1. That is a great idea! Thanks for visiting!!


  5. sizzlesue15 says:

    Oh such a lovely post and I especially love #4 thank you for sharing such an inspiring post with us at #AnythingGoes.


  6. Janice Wald says:

    I know Mark Aldrich and Sizzle Sue.
    I found you in the Community Pool. You mentioned you were a new blogger. I help new bloggers at my site. Tips for engaging readers, improving content, and increasing traffic are waiting for you at my site. There is even an incentive for signing up. Scroll down to Free Cheat Sheet. Nice to meet you.
    Here is the link


  7. chbernard says:

    This is such a beautiful and inspiring post! We all need to strive to help others more! I had the person in front of me at the drive-through pay for my tea and it was just the most amazing feeling, I was so thankful and it helped to feel more connected in our new community. Thank you so much for sharing! Thanks for joining the Link-It To Me Link Up Party, hope you will party with us again next week!


  8. Aspen Jay says:

    Such an important thing to remember! I love how you are already teaching your daughter about it. Thanks for sharing at the TALENTED TUESDAY link party!


  9. chroncont says:

    Awesome! Sometimes just spreading a little joy is enough, isn’t it 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up at Together on Tuesdays!!!


  10. Presents, Prose and Politesse says:

    I’ve just found your blog and was inspired by your thoughtful and caring post about Paying It Forward. I write a blog about giving ( and it always make me feel good when I hear of people acting selflessly – and imaginatively too. I really like your ideas here.

    I look forward to reading more of your blog.

    Thanks for sharing!


    1. Hi Fiona, Thank you so much for reading and for the encouragement! I just read your note this morning on Thank You notes. I love a hand written thank-you and I feel like it is becoming a lost art. Thanks for helping keep it alive! I look forward to reading your future posts! Thanks again ~ Heidi Melissa


  11. sign4baby says:

    I’ve seen this quote done this way before and LOVE it! Pinned this as a reminder to think of different creative ways to pay it forward. Love some of your examples like pay the toll for the car behind you.


    1. It’s funny how doing something nice for someone else makes me feel better! Thanks for visiting and pinning!


  12. chefconnie says:

    Nice blog. Good luck with party planning it is definitely an art form. I am a caterer and have done over 400 parties in Boulder Colorado. One was with 4,000 people. Whew, that was work! I believe strongly in giving back and make sure my family participates in some sort of good deed for others at least once a week. I am currently making chicken stock for a guy who is going through chemo for cancer. It is the only thing he can keep down. Keep up the blogging, party planning and good works. I also donate excess catered food to the local homeless shelter after and event. Clients have the choice to take food home or donate and most people donate.


    1. I LOVE all of these ideas! It’s crazy to think about throwing out food, when so many people need it. I’m on a way smaller scale, but maybe someday I can work up to 4,000 – today I can’t even wrap my head around it 🙂 Thank you so much for visiting and the kind words!


      1. chefconnie says:

        I am also starting a food rescue here in Longmont Colorado where we pick up the excess produce from grocery stores and take it directly to the shelter, housing projects or community centers since most food distribution systems are set up to take food to a warehouse to be sorted then re-distributed which results in most of the produce going to waste. It is called “just in time” produce redistribution. The stuff I pick up from Whole Foods is amazing and I am delighted to distribute it to people who normally cannot get access to such lovely organic produce instead of the produce ending up in a dumpster. The statistics are that up to 50 percent of fresh produce grown in the United States ends up wasted! Just trying to cut that down a bit.


      2. That is amazing! We need more people like you!


  13. This blog post just made my day. I have been trying to make a conscious effort to bless others or make some kind of difference any anybody’s life. Absolutely love the ideas and love your heart. Please follow your instinct to become the part planner you want to be. HONOR YOUR INSTINCT. You will and are a blessing to others. Good luck and thank you for your inspiration!


  14. I love, LOVE this post! This is exactly how I feel! I’m constantly wondering what else I can do for someone else – not for the glory but to pass the glory. Can you imagine how awesome of a world this could be if everyone helped just one person every day or so?! But, it starts with me. I am just one person but as long as I act – I’m doing my part. I love your heart! Keep up the great work – you are making a difference!!!


    1. Well, together we are 2 people, so hopefully we can join forces and make an impact! Thank you so much for visiting! I’m excited to get to know you!


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