Why $550?

Money $550. That’s what it takes to provide a complete Christmas for the average, struggling family of five through Secret Families. This includes:

  • a $50 Meijer gift card to provide for their Christmas dinner
  • tree supplies: two strands of lights, two boxes of bulbs and a tree stand
  • a Bible
  • gifts  for every member of in the household
  • HOPE that they are cared for by their community

So, why $550? In 2004, Al Holdren and his wife Chris realized that they and their family didn’t really need to get anything for Christmas. They were in a good place financially and were able to get what they needed and wanted, whenever that need or want arose. So, instead of spending money on themselves that Christmas, they decided to bless another family who wasn’t as fortunate. They called up their local elementary school and requested the name of a family in need. To fund this endeavor, Al looked into his ‘cash drawer’. This was a spot that unspent money was placed after family outings and vacations, etc. Well, in that cash drawer (did you guess?) was $550.

I know! That’s quite a cash drawer. So, there is nothing magical about the amount, it just seems to work.

[We realize that not everyone will have that sort of money lying around as Al, but many do. However, if you don't fit that category, we'll explain how folks can still help sponsor families in a later post.]

So, let’s break it down:

  • a $50 Meijer gift card -$50 is $50 right? Not if you purchase these ahead of time, on-line, at a 4% discount. Cost: Roughly $48, there is a cost for shipping to our location.
  • tree supplies: Only 60% of our families request trees, which  are donated by Blue Grass Farms in Anderson. However, the price of the other items vary widely, depending on if they are donated, on sale, or  full price. That’s why we love those after Christmas sales and encourage our supporters to snatch up those items and donate. Costs:. $0-25
  • a Bible:: the price of which also varies depending upon receiving donations and the quality of the item given. Costs:  $0-10
  • gifts”  (This item is in quotes because, in truth, much of what these families receive  are necessities – which we’ll explore further in another post). We like to use $90 / per person as our benchmark. Since we shop at Meijer, management allows us to take advantage of their sales that day. Last year, most of our volunteers signed up for mPerks and clipped electronic coupons to decrease prices and increase the blessings for these families. **We use Meijer gift cards to pay for these items during our 1st Saturday of December event day. So, like the $50 cards,  we can purchase these, on-line, before our event. If we have enough donations in our account, we can pay cash and  get the full 4% discount ($18/family). If we don’t, we can use our VISA for a 3% discount ($13.50/family).
  • Don’t forget the sales tax! 7% on $450 is $31.50
  • HOPE – priceless

So, that ranges between $529.50 to $564.50 per family of five and that’s why $550..

Read more about how Secret Families Christmas Charity began and how Secret Families of Madison County emerged, please click on the red links..

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1 comment

  1. […] $550 can sponsor an entire family (average family of 5) […]

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