Santa's Pantry Pay It Forward
Santa's Pantry-Pay It Forward, Inc.
Santa's Pantry-Pay It Forward, Inc., started in 2008 with the goal of "paying it forward" in the Elkhart County area. Despite its name, the organization doesn't operate as a food pantry – instead, it works to raise money for local charities that are busy helping others. So far the group has helped 50 local nonprofits including food pantries, animal shelters and kids clubs.

People are paying it forward all over Michiana – are you?

Debbie Micola, co-founder of the local charity Santa’s Pantry, sees people performing selfless acts all around her. Through the organization’s new community blog, she’s working to tell their stories.

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 1:57 p.m.

Welcome to our new Pay It Forward blog!

I think back sometimes to 2008, when we started Santa’s Pantry-Pay It Forward, Inc. I would explain to people that we promoted the concept of “Paying It Forward.” At that time many had not heard the phrase before, so I would try to explain about acts of kindness and giving back without expectation. Many just stared at me like I had a third eye or something. Some would say “Oh, I can’t do that. I’m broke.” Others would say, “Oh, that’s what people do when there’s a disaster.” I also heard people say, “People don’t do kind things anymore for others.” And my favorite one I always heard with a little snicker was, “Do you really think you’re going to change the world with this?”

The answer to the last question is YES, I do! I invite you to join us in our Pay It Forward journey through this blog. I must warn you, however, that you may also begin to believe that together, we CAN change the world with kindness. The feeling that you’ll get when you practice paying it forward daily can be contagious.

So what exactly is Pay It Forward? Is it like the news story you saw where someone hides money and you run around town looking for it? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Is it something that only those with extra money can do? NO WAY!

The unofficial definition of Pay It Forward is, “to do something for one to three people that they couldn’t do for themselves and ask them then to do the same.” Looking at it biblically, it is the very core of what we are taught. In two simple words: kindness and love.

So often I hear how the world is falling apart. How all we see on TV, in the papers and on social media is negative and bad. For those I say….look more closely. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the negative. Kindness is all around us, and the media has started picking up on it. Tom Brokaw with NBC now does a special segment called “Making A Difference,” and our friends with The Elkhart Truth have started a special, weekly story called “Feel Good News” and also have allowed us to write this blog!

Pay It Forward is everywhere. From Indiana to California, from China to the Netherlands. It’s even right here in Michiana! Did you happen to catch it at the FourPlay concert during JazzFest? It was there. The band had to take a different flight to get to Elkhart on time – problem was their luggage and equipment continued on to Chicago. When the band members arrived here, they had nothing to perform the concert with. Several Elkhart musicians came together and brought in guitars, drums and everything they needed. Did this cost our local musicians anything? No. They gave kindness and love to others, making it possible for hundreds to see the concert. Things like this are all around us. When we don’t allow ourselves to get caught up in the negative, we can see it.

It is our desire with this blog to inspire you and give you hope for future generations by sharing the stories of people all around the world, including here in Michiana, who practice paying it forward daily and are changing the world, one small act of kindness at a time. We hope you’ll join us in this Pay It Forward journey!

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