Editorial: Believe Project continues to help, to comfort and to inspire
We are not sure who coined the expression "season of giving," but here at the Daily Herald we have watched with great joy and enormous pride how one reader's generous gesture has grown into a beautiful annual tradition.
It's called the Believe Project, and it's built around the idea of paying kindness forward.
For five years in a row, a thoughtful donor has given us 31 envelopes, each with a $100 bill inside. We solicit the stories of readers who want to receive the money to pass on to help a friend or family member in need. We share each of their heartwarming tales online and in print throughout December and mail the envelopes to the recipients.
Sometimes, others have donated money as well, allowing us to expand the project. Together with our original benefactor, they have helped so many people throughout the years -- and inspired others to do the same.
This year, yet another incredible act of kindness will allow us to extend the effort into 2019: A second donor provided the funds to keep the Believe Project going through the end of January.
We thank all of these generous souls, as well as those who have reached out to us in the hopes of helping others.
And we celebrate how this project has made the holidays brighter for so many people.
So far this season, Believe Project envelopes have gone to:
• A Mundelein woman, once homeless herself, who wanted to buy clothing for those in need at a PADS shelter.
• A Sugar Grove resident hoping to spread cheer to a mother battling breast cancer while caring for a child suffering from cancer as well.
• A Carol Stream woman seeking to help a recently widowed neighbor with an autistic son through the holiday season.
• A high school counselor from Roselle looking to provide some financial assistance to a student's struggling family.
• A Palatine woman helping friends facing eviction as well as multiple health issues.
• And first-grade students at Rosemont School who planned to purchase books for a free library as part of a monthlong Random Acts of Kindness push.
The list goes on.
If you have some time, and need a little inspiration in these early days of 2019, go to dailyherald.com and read the moving and at-times heart-wrenching stories of those who have been helped by this project.
The past year has been a tough one for many of us. But the Believe Project is an affirming way to close out a trying year -- and a hopeful, worthy way to welcome a new one.