After long moments of wondering and asking and praying and thinking and Googling, I’ve figured out what I want to do to try to help James Ford’s family. I hope if his story tugged at your heart, you will consider helping them, too.
Doors have flown open for Melanie and her children since the People magazine article hit the newsstands, and it has been so joyous to watch. His faithfulness to this family has been steadfast, and His work through people from all over the country has been phenomenal. Now smiles are replacing the tears they once cried over the seemingly impossible task of not only getting out of a dangerous living condition, but finding a foothold to start building a real life. After talking to Melanie on the phone and texting back and forth, I can comfortably say, this is a mother who will pay it forward, and James Ford is a kid who is going to do great things.
Some of the ways that I know people have helped already:
- A man in Pinellas Park, Florida has given Melanie a job, and she and her family are moving there on Sunday. That alone is an enormous prayer that has been answered.
- The same man is giving them a place to live in a safe neighborhood where they can all be together. That ten dollar bill is going to have a door over which to hang.
- Beds are being supplied for them to sleep in. Incredibly generous, and just one thing to mark off the list of their immediate needs.
- A friend who read this blog is sending James to basketball camp…with the Orlando Magic! Wow. This will be something he will never, ever forget.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that, as Melanie is not just moving to a new house with her children, she, as any mother would, wants it to be more than that. Every parent wants their children to be able to walk through the door and instantly feel at ease. Living in a one-room motel room in a scary part of town is pretty much the farthest one can get from that. So this move is not just about a roof over their heads and a place to stay safe: it is a new beginning. It is a place where Melanie can foster all of the love and lessons that she already teaches to her kids, but in a place where those kids feel comfortable.
It is a place where she can cook their meals on a real stove and feed them at a real table……….but wait. They don’t have a table.
It is a place where she can wash their clothes and put them, neatly folded, in dressers…..but wait. They don’t have any dressers.
It is a place where she can lie beside them in bed and read them a book, and, as they fall asleep, lay that book on a bedside table……but wait. They don’t have any bedside tables.
It is a place to which she can invite their new friends and have them all sit around the den and lounge on the couch……but wait. They don’t have a couch.
This is where I’ve decided to focus my efforts and help her make her new house a home.
I found a store in Pinellas Park called RoomsToGo. You may have heard of it, as it a chain of stores that sell home furnishings. Cute stuff, not outrageously priced. But the best part is, they have a website and gift cards can be ordered and sent directly to the buyer. This means, you and I and anyone else who might be interested can buy a gift card starting at $25.00 to one store so that Melanie can spend the money she is about to make at her job to get that foothold and not worry about saving up to buy a couch.
If you would be interested in helping them this way, you can go to http://www.roomstogo.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=giftcardhome and purchase a gift card. Presently, as Melanie and her children are in between locations, she doesn’t have a P.O. Box, but you can send them to me at Marsha Weems Stacey, P.O. Box 511, Canton, MS, 39046, and I will put them all together and mail them to her. Or, if it is more convenient for you, you can send money to me via Paypal at MWStacey1054@yahoo.com and I will buy the gift cards for you. I will ensure they get to her safely and quickly.
You may feel any of the following while reading this:
- $25.00 isn’t going to buy them a couch pillow, much less a couch. I hate to send them a gift card that isn’t going to amount to much. Every little bit adds up! I have full faith that through this effort, each card, no matter how big or small, is going to help furnish this home. Maybe you have discussed this story with two or three of your friends. Would you consider asking them to go in with you and get a bigger card? 4 people together…$100.00…awfully big donation.
- I’d rather do something different. Well, you certainly can! Melanie is starting a new job and she can use some business casual clothes. She wears a size 16 or an XL. I believe she would be grateful for any new or GENTLY (very, very gently) used clothes. Again, you can mail them to me or if you are local, I can pick them up, and I will get them to her. She has 6 children, one only an infant. Anything from clothes to toys to coupons for formula and diapers would be a great way to help them out. Now that they have a house, they have room for “things.”
- I don’t know you from Adam’s house cat and I’m not sending you money, gift cards, clothes or anything else unless I can be assured I know it is going to get to the proper place. If you don’t feel comfortable using me as a go-between, message me, and when I have a new P.O.Box for Melanie, you can send things straight to her…and as soon as I know what it is, I’ll update this post with the new address. (See below)
I have a goal in mind for Melanie’s House-to-a-Home fund. I’ll admit….the number I have in my head terrifies me. This is just a little blog. I don’t have thousands of followers, and I have no idea who or how many it reaches. I am just one person, and I realize: this is important to me, and though I know James’ story has moved lots and lots of people, I don’t expect it to mean the same to everyone else. So what if not one single gift card is bought? What if only a fraction of that are bought? I don’t know. All I know is, when God shows out, He shows out big. I’m just going to rest in that and leave it up to the Big Man Upstairs to do with it what He will.
If you decide to donate, I would be honored you would post a comment here with just the words, “I’m in.” This will be one way to show others that donations are, in fact, being made. You don’t need to post an amount. It will be so exciting to see how long this chain of giving becomes.
Last, but certainly not least, would you consider sharing this post with your friends and neighbors….on Facebook, on Twitter, on Linkedin, via email, via text? Any way you can think of to spread the word about this endeavor would be an enormous help. You may not be able to make a donation, but someone you know might.
On their behalf, I thank you in advance. I’m so excited I can hardly see straight.
UPDATE: Melanie has commented here and posted her p.o. box in Orlando. You can mail any gift cards directly to her at:
Melanie Ford, P.O. Box 616405, Orlando, FL 32861
I’m in! Marsha I literally just read this article in People Magazine at lunch and it brought tears to my eyes.
Oh Leigh, thank you SO much! I appreciate you and Amy more than y’all know!
Hi my friend we are so grateful for all you are doing for my family we are so humble and appreciative and to everyone that is praying and reaching out to us we want to personally say thank you so very much from the bottom of our hearts we have a PO box its 616405 Orlando, FL.32861 we would love to hear from you the cards and letters we receive is going to decorate our walls in our new home God has blessed us. with my family will be back together, job to. maintain our blessings God is awesome James. always ts told me that everything would be fine even when I had no hope my son always had faith for us all he is amazing all my boys are James is my backbone again thank you to my friend Marsha and to all our friends may God always always bless you and family tremendously….Melanie Ford
does anyone know if there is a college fund being set up for James?
I don’t know, but I can find out. What a wonderful idea!
Your story touched my heart – is this the best way to communicate with you? My family and I would like to help you financially and ofcourse with positive thoughts – what are you in need of now? what size clothes do you all wear? I would be lucky to help a wonderful family such as yours – my email address is email@example.com. Is the PO box 616405 the best way to get things to you?
Sweet Melanie….there just aren’t words to describe how lucky I feel to be able to see what is happening for you and your children from the inside out. Your faith has been such a reminder to me that God is good ALL the time, as even in those darkest moments, He is planning and working. Your story has also reminded me not to take what I have for granted. I don’t think many of us stop to think about what would happen if we found ourselves in your situation. Lots of people reading this (including me) have resources that could help pull us up before we got to that place, and I think we don’t always realize that most people don’t have that same luxury. You didn’t have those resources, and your strength, determination, love for your children, hope for a better tomorrow, and belief that God will take care of you, not having any idea how or when, have all been beyond inspirational for me. I pray that this effort helps you in some little way, as it will only benefit us, as members of this human race, to see you and your boys become able to do everything in this life you were created to do.
Thank you for posting here. I hope some gift cards will be in the mail to you soon! Please keep us posted. Hugs!
i am in
You know I’m in!!
We are in! All the way from Alberta Canada!
I’m in…why? It’s simple…I am a firm believer that we need to help mankind in any way and as much as possible. It’s not about getting something back in return…it’s about being a decent human being and doing the right thing. The blessing is the act itself. God bless! 🙂
Oh y’all….I’m just blown away! I have only had limited internet service for the last couple of days and was not able to say it here….from the deepest part of my heart, I thank each one of you.
Please feel free to share what you have done with your friends, especially FB and Twitter friends….not to brag about your own donation, but to inform others that this is close to your heart. Maybe it will lead to more.
I don’t have a clue what this adds up to, but I do know this: it will be put to good use and will be a reminder to the Ford family that many people around this country (and beyond!!!) want all of the good things for them this life has to offer.
God’s showing out! I love it! 🙂
Just to verify Melanie and Jame’s PO Box is:
PO Box 616405
I just wanted to double check! : ) what an inspirational story!
Thank you for writing this blog! I had googled how to help after I read the article and thankfully your blog popped up!
Jenny, yes, that is the correct p.o. box. I am SO glad that you found my blog, but even more grateful that you have chosen to help this family! I appreciate you on their behalf. Feel free to share with your friends…
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God bless you!! I have talked to Melanie last week and am now so happy to read of the wonderful and blessed developments here on your blog. I have earlier today sent by UPS a couple of things that I had bought to help this family. If you can contact Melanie please ask her to let me know if the address she had given me last week still good – right now the box has left UPS where I took it here in Chicago and I have asked it be held at their Orlando hub when it arrives there Thursday. I need to hear from Melanie as to what to do. Again I am overjoyed on all the good things happening for James and his family!!!
I would like to email Melanie. I have some things I’d like to ship her for her son. Clothes, etc..could you forward me her email?
i just wanna say i dont have anything to send but what i can say is ive had this magazine for awhile and only came across this article today. and with that came an overwhelming feeling of shame. u see i have a roof over my head and food in my fridge but since i lost my job we had to move and well lets just say ive been complaing alot about what i lost n what i dont have. it has put a strain on my relationships with my husband and my children. when i read melanies and james story it humbled me. how could i be so shallow? i cried and i prayed to god for blessing me with what i have. i thanked god for my home and the 1 bedroom i share with my family. i was gettin ready to throw this magazine in the trash dropped it and it landed open to this story. oh how i thought of my 11 yr old son my 13 yr old daughter n the man who works so hard to provide for us. i was soooo happy to read on here about all the good things that are happening for james and his family! god is good! i will never forget your story! i will never let myself think of what i dont have and appreciate what i do have and trust that god has a plan for me, just like he has 1 for james. may god continue to bless him and his family! much luv 2 all! 🙂
Deanna, I am sad to hear you and your family is struggling right now, but I am also so glad you found the People magazine article and have been able to see all of the blessings in your life. It is often hard for me to see all of the good around me when I am having hard times, but I do think realizing that someone else always has it worse it one way to begin finding thankfulness. I know that God knows you and your troubles, and He is always at work. I pray you feel His presence today. Thank you for writing!!
I wanted everyone who has posted to know that I emailed Melanie the link to the blog today since it has been a while since she posted here. Since her move, I don’t know how much access to the internet she has. However, hopefully she will get the link and post here so she may be able to answer some of your questions. I will keep y’all as up to date as I can! Thanks for being the loving, giving, concerned people that you are.
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