A generous $20,000 gift made Christmas possible for 20 families across Rockwall County who for one reason or another weren’t sure how they’d provide for their families this December.
It started with a Facebook post from Jared Guynes who co-founded the Rockwallian Facebook page with his wife.
“For whatever reason, and it really was just a spontaneous thing, I thought you know, I’m going to put a message out there and see who doesn’t know where their next meal is going to come from,” said Guynes.
It brought in about about a dozen responses including one from friend and business owner Steven Nabors who had an idea to do a lot more.
“He said, 'do you think you can find some families who need some help for Christmas?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah of course!'” said Guynes.
Nabors put Guynes in charge of finding 10 families to benefit from a total of $10,000. But within minutes, he texted Guynes telling him to double it so they could help 20 families in need.
It didn’t take long for the responses to pour in. He heard from close to 50 people who all had a tough story to share.
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“It was things like being laid off, things like a father or a mother coming down with a terminal illness or being very old or sick, things like abuse,” said Guynes.
Sabrina Plummer was among them. The single mom of three was laid off from her job back in July. Though she receives unemployment, it’s barely enough to pay the bills and put food on the table. That made Christmas feel nearly impossible.
“Just to have something for them to open from this year was just going to be hard,” said Plummer.
And though she was shocked and a little hesitant when Guynes told her to meet him at Walmart the next Thursday, she decided to accept the help.
“When they were walking in the door, that’s when I messaged them and said, ‘Hey. I’m not going to follow you around. I’m not going to dig in your cart. What you’re buying is your business, and I trust that you’re going to get what you need,” said Guynes.
The only stipulation was to keep it close to $1,000.
It was a daunting task.
“I’d pick stuff up and put it back and then I’d pick stuff back up and put it back. I mean, I spent a good four hours in Walmart that night just trying to figure out how I was going to spend that thousand dollars,” said Plummer.
She did so by picking clothes her kids can grow into and getting Christmas gifts not only for her three but also for the kids of a friend that had also fallen on hard times.
Guynes said others filled carts with diapers and formula or $1,000 worth of groceries that they knew would stock the pantry and ease their stress for weeks to come.
“That’s when the real emotion of it really hits you and you’re like man we’re doing something really, really special here,” said Guynes.
For him, it was a reminder that it really is better to give than to receive. Which he also saw through the families who refused to take all of the money offered, hoping it could go to help someone else.
“So much stress and so much negativity that had been going on in their lives was gone just for those few hours,” said Plummer.
That’s why she hopes to do the same for someone else when her situation improves. After all, according to Guynes, passing it on is the greatest gift.
“If this story reaches a single viewer and they decide to do an act of kindness, generosity or charity that they wouldn’t have otherwise done, then now this move that we made just got bigger than we thought it was,” said Guynes.