Couple helping to pay it forward

December 28, 2007 7:44:31 PM PST
A Palo Alto couple has taken the concept of giving to a whole new level this holiday season. Rather than giving their family and friends gifts - they've given them a challenge. It's called the giving challenge.

Its pride you see in Keith and Mariela Kleiner's eyes as they watch home videos. But they aren't of their two year old daughter. They're of friends, all over the world, paying it forward so to speak.

"This is the best gift we could give," said Mariela Kleiner.

The Palo Alto couple decided giving a gift just wasn't enough during the holidays and so last year, they decided to send 20 of their loved ones checks for $1,000 dollars each. But there's a catch.

"They're supposed to cash that check and give it to somebody in need," Keith Kleiner, Palo Alto.

The concept of the giving challenge is this -- people helping people, who will then help others, creating a chain of giving.

But there are rules; the recipient has just one week to spend the money on someone else, video tape the moment and send a copy to the Kleiners.

"Each person has a unique way of giving that is really great and it turns out to not be just about the video but the experience," said Keith Kleiner.

Friends chose to buy toys for underprivileged children, coats for the homeless, and school supplies.

"We were excited but a little overwhelmed," said Mary Ann Treble, participant.

This year the Kleiners had 30 people on their challenge list including Mary Ann and John Treble. The Trebles even got other friends to donate money to the cause in the end they bought $2,000 dollars worth of playground equipment for a low income elementary school in East Palo Alto.

"It was just fantastic to see the enthusiasm in little kids to see them play with things they didn't have and were in need of," said John Treble, participant.

"Just affecting one person's life, giving a little bit can make a difference. Yeah, you don't have to solve all the world's problems, just help one person, they feel better and so do you," said Mariela and Kevin Kleiner.

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