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Brittany Brings Joy

Gifting is Her Specialty

Article by Scott Davidson

Photography by Courtesy The Joy Foundation

Originally published in Media City Lifestyle

In December of 2020, the governor of Pennsylvania announced COVID-19 protective measures prohibiting indoor dining for restaurants around the state.  At that same time Brittany Joy Scharr, a former restaurant worker for over 10 years, grew concerned for all her friends who were still in the hospitality industry.  Restaurants began laying people off or in some cases completely shutting down. “It was just weeks before the Christmas holiday and it could not have happened at a worse time” according to Brittany. 

Feeling bad for her friends, Brittany got an idea from a Facebook group post for Media-Everyone’s Hometown listing all the local restaurants that were still open encouraging the community to support them.  So Brittany started a GoFundMe page hoping to raise $1,200 to gift 12 Media restaurant workers $100 each leading up to Christmas day.  She posted a request on Facebook, hoping to garner support.

Based on the positive response to donations and nominations, Brittany knew she should record the surprise gifting to share on social media.  She enlisted the help of her mother Katherine to record each moment of surprise and joy.  Within a few days of posting the first videos, Brittany received enough funding to gift 5 people $100 a day.  All totaled, $30,000 was raised and gifted that December.

Brittany attributes the success to postings the surprise videos.  Recording not for her benefit but to share with the community just how much the gift impacted local workers.  Soon the videos spread like wildfire over social media.  “People loved watching the video and the reaction to each person who received the $100 gift.  It got to a point where Facebook followers were waiting each day to see the videos” according to Scharr.

Using the Media Facebook group as the primary platform to share her videos, Brittany began to get inquiries for interviews from local and national news outlets.  Including 6ABC Action news, PHL17, ABC World News and Good Morning America.  6ABC actually followed Brittany as she gifted on Christmas weekend.

“At that point, I knew that we had created such an outlet for giving and kindness that I felt a personal responsibility to find a way to continue it,” said Brittany. In 2021 the gifting grew to include all small business workers in need, not just the restaurant industry.

Now in its third year, the foundation has grown to include support from local business sponsors.  Along with continued support from the public, the Joy Foundation has expanded its mission to “spread joy to anyone who needs it” according to Brittany.

Examples of gifting included holiday gifts for a Media family who had lost a husband/father.  Furniture for a mother and son starting over from an abusive spouse in a new apartment.  Paying off all student lunch debt for all of Rose Tree Media School District amounting to $2,700.19. This led to the same generosity to Penn-Delco, Marple-Newtown, Ridley, and Springfield school districts. Plus food & toiletries for Media Food Bank

Brittany shared that the objective is not to just hand out cash during the holidays but to support those in need throughout the year with needed items. But if the foundation is unable to help, she is quick to share other groups that might be able to support those in need.

“It’s the best feeling ever when you are bringing joy to someone.  It serves as reminder to people that you are valued and you’re important.  And that’s what motivates me.”

She also credits her mom Katherine as being her right-hand person.  Since the beginning, her mother joined her at over 500 surprise gifting and took videos of each one to post. Brittany adds that “this has been another motivation, an outlet to spend more time with my mom.”

In just a short period of time, the Joy Foundation has garnered a proclamation for the mayor of Media, a certificate of recognition from former PA state representative Chris Quinn, as well as the Philadelphia Eagles That Deserves a Crown award.

According to Brittany, “The mission statement is to spread joy lifting our community up and bringing them together. We continue to be community focused.  We plan on expanding to do more good and have a bigger impact.  All of our donations go towards bringing someone joy…whatever that might be to that person.”

What started out as a basic idea to help a group of people in need during the holidays has blossomed into a year-round purveyor of joy.  In 2023, Be the Joy Foundation officially became a 501(c)(3).  Brittany suggests that if you or someone you know locally is in need, go to the foundation website to fill out a nomination form.

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