Woman's charitable idea heads to Hollywood

August 12, 2011 7:46:38 PM PDT
A Menlo Park woman whose random act of kindness sparked a fundraising effort for the hungry is headed for Hollywood and is in the running for the VH1 "Do Something" award.

Carolee Hazard packed her bags for Hollywood earlier this week. It's a journey that began two years ago at a grocery store. The woman in line in front of Hazard couldn't find her wallet.

"It was very much a knee jerk reaction," Hazard said. "I tapped her on the shoulder and said, hey look, if I pay for your groceries, will you send me a check?"

The grocery bill was $207. A thank-you note and a check for $300 arrived the next day, urging Hazard to get a massage for her kindness. Instead, she went online.

"I was fairly new to Facebook and said, hey, what would you do with the money? And people said, how about giving it to charity?" Hazard said.

Second Harvest Food Bank, serving Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, quickly became the charity of choice. Suddenly, friends and even strangers started matching that $93.

"Another one did it, and another one did it, and another one, and it rolled, and within four hours there was $600," Hazard said. "By the next morning, it was over $1,000."

The $93 Club has now raised nearly $125,000 for Second Harvest, which is why it was nominated for the VH1 "Do Something" awards.

Not everyone who participates in the $93 Club pledges that amount, but the usual number did spark a theme for giving with donations ranging from 93-cents to $9,300.

Second Harvest needs ongoing support because they are now serving nearly half a million people every month.

"The wonderful thing about what Carolee did that started two years ago, and is light a freight train that never stopped, and that really helped us," said Second Harvest CEO Kathy Jackson.

Hazard is excited about the awards show, but is most impressed with the people who have joined her in paying it forward.

"It's amazing," Hazard said. "Honestly, what I feel best about it is that I have been able to be part of this incredible experience."

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