A local blogger has made Christmas happen for a lot of needy families.
It started last week when Jenny Lawson, who runs thebloggess.com, put up a simple post about people struggling and Christmastime being really hard this year for all the people broke and out of work. Especially when kids are involved.
Lawson noted: "I've had my years of struggling and borrowing and getting the water shut off because you couldn't afford to pay it but this year we've been really lucky. We aren't rich but we're blessed..."
Lawson offered a $30 Amazon gift card to the first 20 people who commented on her site. "If you're struggling for money right now and don't know how you'll give your kids presents," she wrote, "then leave me a comment."
A brief note about The Bloggess. It isn't the kind of site that would typically do something like this. In fact, Lawson started the post in question: "I'm about to ruin your image of me..." If you want more about what she normally does, check out "Blog Stars," Cathy Matusow's March 17 cover story in the Houston Press. Lawson was one of the featured bloggers.
But her Christmas post got a huge response. Some is incredibly sad:
I have a two year old & three year old who haven't gotten any presents for Christmas in previous years. They are now old enough to understand and question. I found my daughter a doll at goodwill and my son a truck. Any extra amount would help maybe fill their stockings or purchase something else small to make their day brighter.
I hate sounding like a sad sack and putting my personal problems out there for everyone to read, but when we started wrapping empty boxes for the baby so she could open stuff and my sweat-hearted 11 year old said we could return his presents so she could have something (the day after we had to stand in line at the food bank with my parents), I cried.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
I am a single father to my 2 daughters 6 and 8. Their mom developed a prescription drug problem after a surgery and walked out on us after pawning most of our belongings and cleaning out our savings in October. The girls are confused and upset by all of this and really need a good Christmas.
And the list goes on. But even more overwhelming was the response from Lawson's readers who wanted to give (the original post got a whole lot more than 20 comments), offering donations of $30, $50, $100, $250 and even $1,000 for help. The owner of a doll store sent American Girl dolls for "seven little girls who truly need a single happy surprise in their lives right now."
According to an updated post on The Bloggess, there have been 1,285 (and counting) comments.
Lawson wrote, "With no marketing, no push, and no fanfare, somehow hundreds of willing donors have come forward to send 650 gift cards to people in need...As of right now, $22,000 has been sent out in small electronic chunks all over the world to make Christmas a small bit brighter for a complete stranger."