Joyful Giving: Stories of Sharing Hope and Love

"... he who refreshes others will also be refreshed."

Proverbs 11:25 (NCB)
On September 12, 2023, guests attending our annual Ignite Your Legacy forum were given an opportunity to embrace the joy of giving. Each of them received $20 to give away.

This page highlights some of the stories shared by those who gave away their twenties and experienced the joy of generosity!
I was able to bless a man along the road who was down and out. When I gave him the $20 bill, he said “God bless you,” and I said the same. This act has already given me joy in the Lord. Thank you for the $20 to give away! The evening was a tremendous blessing! I will continue this generosity practice moving forward. ~ Steve
What a lovely idea!! I gave my $20 to a single mom at work!! She is always ready to give to someone else. So…I gave it to her so that she could treat her daughter! ~ Melissa
Sent my $20 to a gal who is going through a hard time right now and who happens to love Starbucks coffee. I sent the gift anonymously. I feel so much “joy” right now.

There surely is joy in giving. I so enjoyed the ICGC banquet! Will not soon forget all I learned there. ~Lorraine
I have a friend who teaches school and has introduced pickleball at recess. Donated four paddles plus a bunch of pickleballs. Matched $20 from ICGC and gave the cash to the teacher to use for future needs of the students. Here are some photos of the kids playing pickleball.

Thank you ICGC for a great evening, speaker and encouragement towards spontaneous giving. Way to inspire, educate and motivate. ~David
I bundled the $20 with my contribution to Toys for Tots to help return to school issues. Toys for Tots is run by defenders of our freedom - the U.S. Marines, and has 97% applied to programs. ~Bruce
I work downtown at the Capitol complex. At lunch, I walked outside and saw a lady and said “Hello” and that I wanted to bless her. She took the envelope and sort of gave an “okay’ nod. She told me her name. She actually works in my building. There was no angel chorus, or even a thank you, but it felt good to give and knew she would be surprised when she opened it.

Thank you for the opportunity to give! ~Janice
A woman was standing by a fast food restaurant with a sign saying “family with 3 kids and one coming needs money for food.” The nudge was to give her the $20 and add some. They had a guitar and looked like they wanted to play music. When I stopped, it was clear that we could not communicate well. Her name was Martha and I showed her that I would pray for her. She was appreciative. After I left, she looked in the envelope and signaled thank you again. I pointed up to the heavens and she smiled. No words necessary. ~Anonymous
A pastor’s wife has to stay in the hospital for a month of bedrest, expecting their first child. It is an hour’s drive each way. I gave them a couple of gas cards to help defray the cost for him to visit her regularly. ~Fran
Saw a lady and a young boy (son, likely) get out of a very ramshackle car and head into Hy-Vee. Felt the “nudge,” the car window was open and I put the $ and a note about God randomly nudging me to share. What a great feeling!! Thank you. ~Grace
We were waiting in the ER as our adult daughter was being evaluated for a heart problem. We started a conversation with three young people. One had just caused a car accident because he was driving under the influence. While he was in the bathroom, we started a conversation with the other two. His friend told us it was his car that was in the accident and now he had no way to get to his job interview the next day and he really needed the job because he had gotten laid off. After talking for a while, his friend came back and told the other two to leave.

As the two friends were leaving we gave the job interviewee the money with some more and told him to take an Uber so he could get to his interview. He started crying. He couldn't believe a stranger would care. After the two friends left it gave us an opportunity to talk with the young man that had caused the accident. He was kicked out at 16 to fend for himself and had two addicted parents. Our hearts break for all of them and are praying for them all, that people continue to cross their path and that they come to know Jesus as a way of breaking the chains. ~Anonymous
We each gave our $20 to our daughter who teaches Reading Recovery and Title 1 Reading. She can use it to purchase books for her team to help improve their kids’ reading!
~ Cynthia and Jeff
I learned of a young man (age 23) who is single and raising two little girls on his own. He indicated he needed size 3 diapers and money for 4 prescriptions for his baby (age 1). I gave him a large box of diapers and 2 $20 bills, one of which was the ICGC $20. He was very appreciative. I told him it was from God and that God loved him and his babies. ~ Denise
Prayed for God to prompt me where to give, and waited for over a week. I typically see numerous homeless asking for money during the week but didn't feel called to give. Felt called to give to the Urbandale food pantry. Loved the opportunity to give to this. Thanks! ~Anonymous
When I was eating at Little Brother in Des Moines I decided to give my $20 to the waiter who served our table. He was speechless but grateful. I could tell by his countenance. ~Sheryl
I gave it to an Army service member, at a Casey’s store, and thanked him for his service. It brought me joy, as I’m the mom of 2 active service members. ~ Tina
My husband and I had the opportunity to meet Will Keeps of Starts Right Here at the Ignite Your Legacy dinner. His story and determination to help young people at risk is compelling. Truly the Holy Spirit nudged me to donate to Starts Right Here well ahead of receiving the $20 so we added to that amount knowing our donation is going towards an excellent cause. ~Mary Beth
On the way out of the event, I ran into Will Keeps from Starts Right Here. Gave him the $20 - and one of mine. ~ Anonymous
While getting my car serviced, I noticed an employee who was having a tough day with customers. She was working hard to stay positive, but it was a challenge. When I left, I gave her the $20 and said, "thank you", I appreciate your help. God bless. ~ Anonymous
I befriended a homeless lady on the bike trail near the DSM River. I met her at her park bench for 3 days in a row and added some additional funds to the $20. I was able to pray with her and encourage her to go to Zion Lutheran Church in Beaverdale where I presumed that she would be welcome to get a shower and some fresh clothing. She is also working with Joppa to get a new tent. A great blessing to her and to me as well. ~Jim
I've been asking God to show me who to bless. Yesterday was my opportunity. I was having dinner at a restaurant that hadn't been our first choice that evening. The first 2 places we attempted were unusually packed. God obviously directed us to the one we were to visit.

The server we had was actually one I had a few weeks earlier. On that day prior, we commented on how joyful and hardworking she was. They were clearly very understaffed and she was hustling constantly, but always attentive and sweet. Fast forward to last night where she was once again our server. I knew instantly that she was the one to bless. After she greeted us with a warm smile and kind words I told her I had a gift for her. I told her we had noticed how hard she works and how joyful she was last time we had been in. I gave her a $50 bill and told her God sees her and loves her. She began to cry and told us she recently found out she was pregnant unexpectedly and does not have health insurance.

She's been feeling overwhelmed and could not begin to explain how much this meant to her. She shared she always looks for ways to be grateful and believes the energy you give will come back to you. I used that segue as an opportunity to share briefly about my faith in Christ and His love for her. It was a sweet moment and I hope to have more opportunities in the future to follow up with her when we go out for dinner at her restaurant. I love the doors God opens for us to proclaim His love and goodness! Thank you again for such a great idea!! ~Andrea
I knew immediately who to give the $20 to... my coworker on the ride home! She got married the following Saturday and has been through a lot recently with anxiety and then suffering with severe pain. She is doctoring now to find what the cause is. ~Amy
Please pray for her!
I went into the Dollar Tree store and gave the $20 to the lady in front of me in line. She looked like someone who may have gone through difficulties. She was so thrilled and said "Nobody had ever done anything like that for her before". Then she surprised me by saying " I am going to pass this forward to someone else.” ~Rikard
There was a janitorial employee at my work who has been very helpful and I felt moved to give her the money and some of my own in the envelope. ~Anonymous
I normally don't shop at Price Chopper. However, I thought it would be a great place to share generosity. In fact, it did not take long to hit pay dirt. I spotted a single mom with three kids shopping. The kids kept picking out candy which the mom constantly said no. I waited for them to check out the groceries and I got in line behind them with a handful of candy. Once the bill came 55.07. I told the cashier to add the candy to the bill. She was shocked at first then I told her not only will I pay for the candy but the total bill. She started to cry and said what is the catch. I said: This is what the love of Christ looks like and the cashier said Amen! Thank you for the inspiration of generosity!!! ~Michael
When you were explaining to us what to use the $20 for, this person immediately came to mind. I added another $80 to it. I got to know this person 3 years ago. He was 70 at the time. He was struggling with nightmares from being sexually abused by his father many times while growing up. He did not like being in men's groups, it made him very uncomfortable. But, he was willing to change. Over the 3 years, he has learned to share in a group of men and learned to tell his story and be accepted for who he is. He is now co-leading a men's group and a few times a year leads a service at a retirement home. But his abuse as a child has been with him his whole life, so he does not have a lot of money. He was so excited and appreciative of the $100. I wanted him to have a monetary reward for his hard work and willingness to change and now giving back as he continues to grow. But, I know his largest reward is the change he is experiencing. Thank you for this opportunity. ~Anonymous
As I was leaving Walmart, a young lady who had visited my church was outside and was sharing with me that her nephew, age 20, had passed away and she had not been in church because she had been out of town for his funeral. She has been homeless for sometime and she has just been approved for housing. She was tired and hungry and I sensed the Lord saying this precious one, give her this gift to encourage her to know God loves her and is caring for her.
~ Linda
WE combined our $20 (and a little extra) and registered a young couple for the Impact Iowa’s Heroes Marriage Getaway. Thank you so much for prompting us to do so! ~Eric and Amy
I gave it to a young service technician who came to our home on the weekend for a free of charge warranty repair. He was joyful, kind, patient with my questions, and willing to "teach me a few things I desired to learn." I told him about the generous folks who provided this opportunity, and generally told him we live in a generous community. Hopefully he was blessed and seeds of generosity planted in his life. Thanks again for the opportunity. ~Anonymous
We gave the money to give a little comfort to women/families at a public shelter for women and their children escaping domestic violence. My husband and I each donated our $20, along with some of our own money.

Each person who enters the shelter to stay receives a bag full of hygiene items and a washcloth and towel, donated by members of our church through a group called Hope for Your Heart. In addition, a few of us go each week on Monday evenings to this shelter to do devotions and prayer time with any of the women who want to join us. We usually see a few women each week, pray with them and for them, listen to their struggles, do devotions with Bible verses/readings, and encourage them in their faith. We also give them Bibles. We have a Christmas and Easter party for the residents who are there at those times.

Hope for Your Heart was struggling to have enough money to provide the hygiene bags for the next couple of months and to get some small gifts for the Christmas party, and my husband and I felt that the money donated would help a number of residents there through these small gestures to get a glimpse of the love that we have for them because of what Jesus did for us.
Attended a very busy conference and was happy to give $20 to the bathroom attendant who was doing a great job of keeping that facility clean. Her smile was priceless. Have been giving more and feeling free and thankful to give more spontaneously since then. Thank you ICGC :)
Thank you so much to the donors who provided this awesome experience! I couldn't wait for the opportunity to bless someone! Yesterday, a homeless man was on the corner. He looked frail and malnourished for sure. I hope he was able to get a decent meal. My boyfriend gave his $20 to our local barista! We gave her $25 for his $3 black coffee and said the rest is for you. Her face lit up and she said "are you sure?!" We said "absolutely. Have a great day". It felt so good! Thank you again! ~Anonymous
The housekeeper that cleans my office is quiet and so good to me. I gave her the $20 and told her how much I appreciate her. ~Maureen
I gave my $20 to a boy who couldn’t have a birthday party so he could go do something else fun!!! ~Jill
I had a one-night hotel stay and instead of leaving my typical $2-3 housekeeping tip in my room, I left the $20 bill with a note that said "Thank you for your hard work. Jesus loves you!" ~Anonymous
After a long, hot and rainy night at a band competition in Pella, we drove through Dairy Queen. It was 4 min until they were about to close and there was a line of cars. The voice at the drive-through was energetic despite the work ahead of what was surely a long shift. "We're closed" he joked before he took our order with a zany and hilarious spirit. My husband and I remembered the $20 I had yet to gift and felt this was it.

When we pulled up to meet the person we would bless, we were cheerfully greeted by a man in his late 30s with many many tattoos. Which was a surprise; we expected a younger person - perhaps a teen. My husband handed him the cash and explained that no change was needed. As he counted the cash, he asked again, “are you sure you don't want change?” My husband replied “nope,” and again he asked, “any of it?” “Nope, that's for you.” It was $30 and some change.

We were not able to get his story that night, but we both knew it would bless him because Jesus knows. Stepping out in faith without any details feels strange at first, but then as we have reflected over the experience it has blessed us and encouraged us to do it in other aspects of our life. God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good! ~Anonymous
My friend is a Master Gardener and a retired editor of gardening books at Better Homes & Gardens, with many books published of her work, including thousands of beautiful photos. She has a challenging life with Multiple Sclerosis, living in a non-ADA-compliant apartment that has seen better days, making ends meet on Social Security, and utilizing the Food Bank and SNAP.

Her birthday was right around the corner from the evening I received the $20. There was no question in my mind the bill would be tucked inside her card. And she was tickled to get it! She said she would buy something special she wouldn't normally be able to afford. We were both happy. Thank you! ~Anonymous

Virtual Zoom Lunch

Dan Herod

Wednesday, May 12 
(12:00 - 1:00 PM)
Overcoming It All
Dan Herod is a husband, father, friend, communicator and author. He and his family are no strangers to adversity. After enduring two consecutive miscarriages, they encountered an unimaginable tragedy when their 13-month-old daughter passed away from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Since that fateful day, Dan and his family have found the key to living an incredibly abundant life in the midst of overwhelmingly heartbreaking circumstances.

Dan lives to encourage everyone to live the best life possible. For over 15 years he has been speaking to groups of all ages and sizes. Dan tells humorous stories and shares compelling experiences in each and every talk he gives. It is his joy to share what he has discovered in the most difficult season of his life.

Since 2010, Dan has served as the Youth Alive Director for Wisconsin and Northern Michigan. Youth Alive is an organization committed to helping students live the best life possible. He loves to spend time with his family and finds immense joy serving as a volunteer fire department in his community. Dan and his family reside in central Wisconsin where the summers are ever so beautifully breathtaking, and the winters are so cold they take your breath away.

Lake Hallie

Dallas Steward

Thursday, May 13 
(11:45 - 1:00 PM)
Assistant Coach at Michigan Tech
Dallas Steward enters his fourth season as an assistant coach at Michigan Tech in 2020-21. During his first season, Steward and the Huskies went to the NCAA Tournament after winning the WCHA Championship Game. Tech finished 22-17-5 overall and was ranked No. 16 in the final USCHO poll. Four players have signed NHL contracts in his first two seasons at Michigan Tech.

Steward was an Associate Head Coach with the Chicago Steel of the USHL for two seasons from 2015-17. The 2016-17 team went 38-17-2 in the regular season, defeated Youngstown and Dubuque in the first two rounds of the playoffs, and won the USHL Championship with an overtime win over Sioux City in Game 5 of the Clark Cup.

Steward started his coaching career with the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) as an assistant coach and scouting director from 2011-15. He helped lead the team to three consecutive playoff berths and a Clark Cup title in 2014-15.

Steward played 138 games over four years at the University of Alaska Anchorage from 2000-04. He scored 27 goals and added 32 assists as a forward, was an assistant captain as a senior, and a three-time WCHA All-Academic selection. Steward went on to play six years of professional hockey in both the CHL and ECHL from 2004-10.

Prior to college, Steward played three seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers, winning the Clark Cup in 2000. He amassed a total of 74 points over three seasons with the Gamblers, including 18 goals and 27 assists in their championship season.
The Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin native has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public communication from UAA. He and his wife Janet have two daughters, Jade and Blake.

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Proverbs 11:25
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