I wasn't exactly sure what to expect on North Texas Giving Day. I'm new here, after all, and I hardly know what to expect when I walk into the office on a daily basis. All I knew was that Alissa had told me it was going to be a big day, so I naturally came prepared: a blueberry muffin in one hand, a vente cappuccino and a massive glass of ice water clutched in the other. Sugar, caffeine, and pure hydration—clearly everything one needs for a long and stressful day in the office.
When I walked in, Alissa gave me a quick update in between phone calls. Something about how it was only 9:15 AM and she had already entered $18,000 (yes, you read that correctly: $18,000 worth of pledges) online. As I listened to her talk to donors on the phone while simultaneously typing away on her computer and checking spreadsheets, I imagined she had arrived at the office well before 5:00 AM (after going for an early 3+ mile run, of course) and instantly felt a little bit guilty for arriving so incredibly late in the day (again: 9:15 AM). She decided to put me to hard work about two minutes later, though, so those guilty feelings quickly dissipated.
The rest of the morning was incredibly busy. I blogged about North Texas Giving Day, typed up five thousand emails (slight exaggeration), and helped keep track of donations online. When we took our lunch break, we were sitting on $36,325 worth of contributions and we were giddy with excitement as we sat on the porch of Fuzzy's Tacos, voicing estimates of where we thought we would be when we returned to the office. Alissa guessed $38,000; I took just over $40,000. Imagine our delight when we returned and saw that we had just under $49,000 sitting in our account.
When North Texas Giving Day was finally over, we had raised $73,785 (and that is without the additional support of The Communities Foundation of Texas!). $35,000 of that total was raised by donors who gave $1,000 or more; over half was raised by people who contributed "smaller" donations, many of which were only $25-$50 (so, for all of you who didn't believe your $25-$50 could actually make a difference, it absolutely did—when combined with all of the other "small" donations from across the world, it made $35,000 worth of difference!). One of my very favorite things about the whole experience was that the members of our Zambian staff were able to participate from their homes in and around Lusaka. Many stayed up late to track the donations on our online database, and their deep joy and gratitude for all of the contributions was contagious.
We are absolutely overjoyed to let you know that your generous financial contributions will be put towards a variety of different things over in Zambia. We have already gotten in touch with the schools we partner with to let them know that we will be able to feed more of their students (fun fact: if we used the money raised to provide hot meals alone, we'd be able to offer 147,570 meals to the orphaned and vulnerable children of Zambia!), as well as provide their schools with better financial and material support. We'll be able to purchase the new vehicles our Zambian staff desperately need, and we'll also be able to make expansions and improvements on the Arise Home. Because of you, we'll be able to reach more children with and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that is just an incredibly beautiful and humbling thing to be a part of.
Though I've spent my fair share of time in offices over the past year, last Thursday was, hands down, the most delightful, exciting, and rewarding day of them all. I so actively saw the Lord at work through all of you, advocating for the orphaned and vulnerable children of Zambia, and I was awed by His faithfulness and His tender loving care for all of His children.
Our hearts are filled with deep gratitude for all of you who donated to our cause. You are truly being the hands and feet of Jesus to these sweet children and we are unbelievably and forever grateful.