What would you do if you won a $3,000 voucher to use on anything, yes anything in the Disney universe?
Erica Donovan, a mother of two, recently found herself in this situation and she knew exactly how she wanted to spend the money. She wanted to go on a shopping spree, but not for herself or her family, she wanted to donate all of her goods to Toys for Tots.
Donovan was awarded a $3,000 certificate as part of an incentive program from her job.
Donovan, who works as an independent consultant for Thirty-One Gifts, received a $3,000 voucher as part of an incentive. The voucher was valid for anything within Disney.
“We are a very community-minded family, [so] donating my voucher was the only way to go!” she told Babble.
She called up her local Disney store and informed them of her plans. They advised her to shop on the day of their Friends & Family sale so she could get the most for her money.
One of her daughters joined her on the shopping trip.
Prior to her shopping spree, she contacted Toys for Tots and the organization sent two Marines to the store to assist Donovan with her massive donation.
As Donovan and her daughter carefully picked toys off the shelves, customers and even people passing by became curious. Once they learned about Donovan’s generous donation, they also contributed to Toys for Tots.
It took four hours to shop for all of the toys.
Bags, bags, and more bags continued to pile up.
At the end of their shopping trip, the mother and daughter duo managed to purchase 272 toys.
“I’ve often had the fantasy of passing out hundred-dollar bills to strangers, and this was my real-life version of that,” she told Babble. “Knowing that so many children will be receiving magical Christmas toys—and that I was able to provide that—truly IS my wish come true.”
But the gift of giving didn’t stop there. A few weeks after her massive donation to Toys for Tots Donovan received a call from Disney. They wanted to match her donation. They gave her another $3,000 for Toys for Tots.
Shortly after her first donation, Disney contacted her and said they’d match her $3,000 donation.
Roughly a month after her first donation, Donovan found herself back at the Disney store shopping for even more toys.
This time she was able to donate a lot more than 272 toys. While shopping at the Westfarms Mall Disney store, mall employees shocked her with their own $3,000 donation to buy presents, and then LEGO donated another $3,000.
The second time Donovan needed a few more helpers.
“I wanted to pay it forward, to do as much good as I could,” Donovan told We-Ha.com after her first donation to Toys for Tots.
And with a total donation of $13,000 to Toys for Tots, we can say with certainty that she was able to help out a lot of families this holiday season.
Although Donovan’s donation would be hard to match by any one person, she hopes that others will become inspired by her story and donate what they can.
“It’s not about any one person spending money or making grand gestures. It’s about spreading love and the spirit of giving,” she shared with Babble. “If I can be the catalyst for spreading positivity and joy, even for just a little while during this season, then I’ve been given the greatest gift possible.”