by Eric A Thomas
Photos Special To The Source
Since launching Jacksonville Serial Tipper (JST) in August 2020, Sherie Trace has harnessed the power of social media on a local level to do random acts of kindness, or RAKs, as the group calls them.
She says the biggest surprise was about the group is the longevity, explaining, “I never imagined the group would grow this large and be so sustainable.” It looks like Jacksonville Serial Tipper is here to stay.
Using the social media platform of Facebook, Trace presents a RAK to the group page on almost a weekly basis. The scenarios have covered a wide range of opportunities to bless others, and what started out as a few hundred people in the group has grown into over 2,100 members. Since starting, they have pulled off 40 different RAKs, with a combined total of over $46,000 – and that doesn’t count the most recent RAK! “I don’t keep track of how many people give each time, but it must be significant to reach the amounts we do each week,” Trace reports.
The largest amount given in one week was $3,400. This was the 23rd RAK, and it was for nursing homes and assisted living residents during Valentine’s week. For it, JST teamed up with JoAnn Chumley at All Occasions Flowers & Gifts to provide a flower for every resident living in a Jacksonville nursing or assisted living facility. In addition to the flowers, Kellon’s Sock Drawer donated a pair of socks to every resident. Plus, what is Valentine’s Day without some Valentine art?
Holly Saxer’s Pre-K class at Early Years in Jacksonville and Bright Beginnings Child Care in Jacksonville each provided some art that brought smiles to many. “What an amazing act of love given to those who couldn’t be with their families during COVID. Truly heartwarming and once again I was shown how amazing this community can be,” adds Trace.
Other RAKs that embodied the valuable and heartfelt work that JST has done include giving of different sorts to school custodians and secretaries, healthcare essential workers, the Spirit of Faith Soup Kitchen, The Salvation Army Angel Tree, Christmas Day workers and teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week. One RAK helped sponsor kids to go to summer camps.
Often the phrase “life-changing” is used when those who receive RAKs express their gratitude. In the course of blessing people along the way, Trace has heard some extraordinary things. For example, a small business was able to stay in business thanks to the group’s donation. Another time, when the group decided to target random delivery drivers with cash gifts, it was learned that the money given to one of those people helped him pay his rent and avoid eviction. Also, during the height of the pandemic, the group helped essential workers feel appreciated. Plus, JST was able to help victims of abuse afford essential items to get back on their feet.
In closing, Trace has enjoyed watching the group grow and change over the months. She mentions that there is no lack of people wanting and willing to help in any capacity, and that shows her that we live in the best community. “Even if people join the group but some weeks cannot donate, it’s really awesome to still know that a little bit of positivity is scrolling on their newsfeed when they see the good we are doing right here at home. Spreading kindness and positivity is what it is all about and I am happy to lead us on this amazing journey,” she concludes.
No matter what you can contribute, JST is proof that when many people do what they can it can have life-changing impact. If you are interested in joining the group, search for Jacksonville Serial Tipper on Facebook. The members of the group contribute through a Venmo account, @JaxSerialTipper.