It all started with a mattress set that Alison Henslee set out to donate on behalf of her mom. In addition to the person who ended up with the bed, there were five or six more people who were interested in the item. One of those was a single mother of four in need of a bed for her 6-year-old son. Alison put the word out, generosity came out of the woodwork, and soon this boy had a brand new bed. Alison became aware of other needs of this family, and with the help of a few friends, she soon had a car full of everything to take care of this family's immediate needs. The mother was absolutely overjoyed and deeply touched, and she promised to pay it forward.
For Alison, the joy of giving combined with a new awareness of needs was enough to light a spark to do more. She created a post on Bonners Ferry Facebook Yard Sale site asking people what one thing they needed for the holidays that they were unable to afford. One of the comments on the post was from Aaron Supernant, who was excited about Alison’s vision, and he volunteered to help track requests and whatever else was needed.
"I really feel like Aaron should get most of the credit,” says Alison. “I fielded calls, followed up on posts and organized volunteers from my warm living room, but Aaron was truly the muscle behind the Giving Spirit of Christmas operation. He filled the gaps in my list, organized wood splitters and haulers, trouble-shot vehicle issues, paid bills, bought gifts, wrestled mattresses and was good-natured—even when he was in pain and I was bossy!"
Six beds, two or three bills, rent money, presents/decorations for eight families, vehicle repairs or parts, firewood and too many gifts to count were donated in just three weeks.
The beauty of this is that it wasn’t just two people doing nice things. This was spurring dozens of people to help others, strangers or not. Alison and Aaron knew that they couldn’t just let it die, so they decided to create a new Facebook group to carry out the same mission—year-round! Like and follow Boundary County Give & Receive (on Facebook) to participate in this inspirational connection of generosity. If you want to be part of it but you aren’t on Facebook, you are welcome to contact Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208.610.8806.