Every Wednesday morning, I bring you examples of the good people who walk among us … young & old, rich & poor, men & women, teens, and even young children. My goal is to remind you … and me … that the world is basically comprised of people who care about others, people who are far better than the average person we see on the nightly news shows. And I’m told by readers far and wide that these ‘good people’ posts do give them hope for a brighter future, hope for humanity. Admittedly, my own hope has dimmed in the past two weeks, as I’ve watched the worst examples of the human species speak the loudest. But, once I began searching for this week’s good people, a funny thing happened. My chest stopped hurting, and the corners of my mouth tried to turn upward. I hope it works as well for you, my friends.
Tammy Rivera is a single mom who supports her family by being an Uber driver in Memphis, Tennessee. One day not too long ago, Ms. Rivera gave a ride to a nurse who had been working long hours and was simply exhausted. Tammy was motivated by the dedication of this nurse, and other health care workers on the front lines who are working long hours and risking their own lives on a daily basis, and she wanted to do something to show her appreciation.
After a bit of pondering, she thought one thing she could do is buy and deliver hot meals to frontline health care workers, so that is exactly what she did! Over the past two months, she has delivered thousands of lunches and dinners to exhausted doctors and nurses at her local hospital—up to 60 meals on some days. She started raising money so she could deliver even more, which resulted in tens of thousands of dollars contributed and 3,500 meals dropped off every day for nearly three months.
Tammy’s good deeds did not go unnoticed, and a local television station picked up the story, as did the New York Post and London’s Daily Mail!
Now, Tammy had an older model car and had been having some car troubles, but since the coronavirus restrictions, business had slowed down and she hadn’t been able to make the needed repairs in addition to all else.
“Kind of like a box of chocolates I never knew what I was going to get when I started the car.”
I can certainly relate to that!!! On Mother’s Day last month, Tammy was invited to be featured on Jada Pinkett Smith’s web show, Red Table Talk. She was happy to be getting more attention for her cause, but what happened next was more than she could have dreamed of. The actress and wife of Will Smith wanted to give her a special donation:
“We want to purchase for you an eco-friendly car. A brand new one…for Mother’s Day.”
Needless to say, Tammy was thrilled and plans to keep right on doing what she does for the frontline workers. Hats off to Tammy Rivera!
I was not familiar with the VING Project until just a few days ago when they crossed my radar, but I love the concept, love what they are doing! The project is a national movement that encourages teens to be givers, to help those in need. Teens between the ages of 14 and 18 are given $1,000, but they must donate it to someone who is in need, outside their own immediate family.
To receive money from the foundation, the youngsters are asked to submit a 2-minute video to the foundation explaining why they want to give money to their nominee. If the videos are accepted by the charity, then the $1,000 check is sent directly to the teen so they can present it to their nominee. In the month of April alone, the VING Project—which was named after the latter part of the word “giving”—gave away more than $250,000 in checks to teens.
The project was founded by Liz Lefkofsky, the wife of Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky. She told WGN-TV in a recent interview that she launched the charity with the hopes of giving teens their own special philanthropic experience which they will never forget. And hopefully, it will encourage them to continue in the spirit of helping others!
Kamryn Johnson, age 9, the daughter of former NFL player Ron Johnson, lives in Chanhassen, Minn. — about a 20-minute drive from where George Floyd was killed. In the wake of George Floyd’s death a couple of weeks ago and the destruction that followed, Kamryn saw some of the aftermath while watching the news with her parents Ron and Shani.
“I was really sad. I wanted to help.”
She chatted with some of her friends and they decided to make bracelets as a way to raise some money for people in need. That was at the beginning of June and it’s grown into something bigger than anyone could’ve ever imagined. Within about a week-and-a-half, Kamryn and her friends had raised more than $50,000 selling woven yarn bracelets that they make by hand.
I’m going to let Kamryn and her parents tell you her story, as they appeared earlier this month on ABC’s Good Morning America in a segment with Robin Roberts …
And last … I only occasionally feature millionaires or billionaires doing good things because … well, they can afford to … at the end of the day, they are no worse off than they were at the beginning, and it seems somehow less meaningful. Lately, though, I must admit that there are so many of the ultra-wealthy who do absolutely nothing for humanitarian causes, that when I read about one who did something, I like to give them a shout out.
The latest is Netflix co-Founder Reed Hastings and Wife, Patty Quillin who gave a total of $120 million (that’s a lot of dough, folks!) to provide full four-year scholarships for students at black colleges. They gave $40 million each to Spelman College, Morehouse College, and another $40 million to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). Their gift is one that will keep on giving, for education is an investment, not an expense, and who knows what the students who benefit from their gift may go on to contribute to this world. So yes, these two people get a thumbs up, too!