The pandemic didn't allow Debra Ferrell to gather with her family for her 53rd birthday. So instead, she celebrated the day by giving back – sending 53 gifts to her neighbors in Roanoke, Virginia and strangers across the country. (Dec. 14)
DEBRA FERRELL: In my family, we celebrate pretty much every holiday, every birthday by getting together. And we couldn't do that this year, so I wanted to do something different.
I figured, why not? Right now is one of the hardest times in my history. So what better thing to do than make other people smile? I got stories from Minnesota, from Georgia, a lot from Virginia, of course locally. And they range from things like my kids, this is their first year of virtual school and they could just use a treat of some kind, to a family whose four-year-old son had recently died from cancer. And their friend was just requesting something to encourage them and let them know that they're not alone.
Locally, my daughter and granddaughters, we made yard signs that say things like, let your awesome out, you're amazing, the world needs your light. And we would just go plant them in people's yards. It's just a very painful time for people. And if one random act of yard sign can make someone smile in this time, then that's a few dollars, it's more than worth it.