Carolee Hazard has sparked a true pay-it-forward phenomenon.
On Aug. 11, 2009, Jenni Ware approached the Trader Joe’s register with a cart full of groceries and no wallet, but in what Hazard calls a knee-jerk reaction, the Menlo Park resident charged Ware’s entire $207.29 bill to her own credit card.
Now, this simple act of kindness has raised more than $94,000 for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.
“The generosity of people is truly amazing,” Hazard said. “This is a great ripple of kindness that just keeps growing.”
Shortly after footing Ware’s bill, Hazard received a $300 check with a note from Ware asking that she take the extra $93 as a thank you for her generosity. Not wanting to pocket the surplus, Hazard asked her Facebook friends what she should do with the money — the overwhelming response was to donate it.
With so many organizations hurting, Hazard latched on to a friend’s idea of giving to a local food bank since the whole incident happened around food. After matching the $93, Hazard sent the $186 to Second Harvest, but that would not be the last check that would be received by the agency that provides food to community members in need.
“People kept saying ‘This is so cool,’ pasting my story to their Facebook pages and offering their own pledges,” Hazard said. “By the end of the first day, the total was up to $600, then the next day, $1,000.”
The 93 Dollar Club has taken on a rhythm of its own and the flow of donations, ranging between 93 cents and $9,300, has already surpassed the $93,000 target set Aug. 11, 2009, a year ago this week.
“This is an amazing opportunity for people to take part in something that just feels good,” Hazard said.
It seems everyone has caught the wave of generosity — family, friends, friends of friends and total strangers have sent checks to Second Harvest. Even a child showed up at Hazard’s door with a handful of change from her allowance, totaling 93 cents.
“We are thrilled to be the recipient and so thankful that Carolee chose our organization,” Second Harvest spokeswoman Poppy Pembroke said. “This will provide over 180,000 meals to people in need in our community.”
Hazard said she was raised to always give back rather than to take, but she had never expected to be a part of something like this.
“Life experiences come your way when you least expect them and you have to see where they take you,” Hazard said. “I’ve been blessed to be able to throw my weight behind this.”
If you would like more info on the 93 Dollar Club or would like to donate, visit www.facebook.com/93dollarclub