“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”—Margaret Mead

Ms. Grace believed that kindness in the face of great need had the ability to change someone’s life. She was blessed to have the things she needed, to provide for her family, and often thought of others when she shopped considering how the purchase could bless someone else. She was a welcomed and familiar face to many organizations who would disperse her donations to those in need. Ms. Grace has donated to Canopy Children’s Solutions for many years, along with other organizations, providing toys, clothes, books, hygiene items, games and art and school supplies. Her one request was that the items never be sold and to go to people who really needed them. She had a passion for giving back, and her heart ached for the needs of vulnerable children in her community.

Following her daughter’s college graduation, her family was relocating to Maine. Day after day, Ms. Grace arrived at Canopy’s Starkville community office with a truck filled with new and gently used household items, baby items, games toys, jewelry, books and more. She talked to staff about needs in the community and looked among her possessions to find the items that might make a family’s day brighter, or at the very least, a little easier.

Sampling of items donated by Ms. Grace.

“We didn’t see Ms. Grace for a few days and then I received a call from her,” said Felisia Cooper, Northeast District Manager for Canopy. “She had a minivan that was in pristine condition that she and her husband decided not to take with them. She wanted to find a family who really needed transportation and would be able to use it. Our team collaborated on the needs we knew of among our families and found Jeannie.”

Jeannie had a driver’s license, but no car. She had five children living at home. She lived in a rural area making it difficult to get to work without the help of a friend. Staff provided Ms. Grace with a brief description of Jeannie’s family situation and need. She knew then and there that Jeannie and her family were who the van needed to go to.

Ms. Grace put new tires on the vehicle and even purchased two full-sized spares. She washed and detailed the vehicle inside and out and had the oil changed. She also hid a nice surprise in the back. When Ms. Grace arrived with the minivan, she brought her daughter along with another truck full of donations. When Jeannie and Grace met, they were overcome with emotion. Jeannie presented Ms. Grace with a handwritten letter from her and her children thanking her for her unbelievably generous gift and the impact it would have on their family.

“She couldn’t believe anyone would donate something of such magnitude to help her family,” said Felisia. “Jeannie had felt like nothing could go right, hitting a barrier at every turn, like she could never get ahead. She had lost all hope until she got that phone call about Ms. Grace’s donation. It gave her hope for herself and her family and in the kindness of people.”

With the keys in-hand, Jeannie opened the doors and gazed at her new car. Opening the back, she found that Ms. Grace had also gifted her family a large television, something their home was also needing. More tears, hugs, and continued thanks.

Jeannie was referred to Canopy for assistance in helping her child learn to cope with stressful situations and address behavior issues. During her time with Canopy’s intensive in-home solutions called MYPAC, staff assisted Jeannie in securing a stable home life for her and her family. While staff are often able to connect many families with valuable resources, such as job training, low-income housing, parent training and more, Jeannie never imagined her time with Canopy would lead to such a tremendous blessing on her family. Her new transportation lessened many of the struggles her family faced. Jeannie continues to receive services through Canopy’s MYPAC program. The family is thriving and is on the road to discharging successfully. Thanks to a random act of kindness, they were filled with a renewed sense of hope that their lives could be better and this generous gift was the vehicle to take them there.

ABOUT MYPAC: Mississippi Youth Programs Around the Clock (MYPAC) is an in-home, community-based program providing an alternative to psychiatric residential treatment for youth with serious emotional challenges. Learn more at mycanopy.org

ABOUT CANOPY CHILDREN’S SOLUTIONS: Canopy Children’s Solutions is Mississippi’s largest and most comprehensive nonprofit provider of children’s behavioral health, educational and social service solutions. Founded in 1912, Canopy offers a full array of integrated, community-based services in all 82 counties as well as intensive campus-based and educational programming.  For more information, please contact 800-388-6247 or visit us on the web at mycanopy.org.