Gratefully Giving Away


Article by Allison Gibeson

Photography by Janie Jones

After a successful Christmas giving campaign last year, City Lifestyle, formerly Lifestyle Publications, is giving $300,000 to families in our community in need this Christmas season

They need your help finding those recipients. Last year’s giveaway campaign culminated in the distribution of $250,000 throughout the year to recipients from across the country who had various needs. When the company opened nominations, they were flooded with submissions. Community members such as judges, police officers, teachers, mentors, social workers and readers like you nominated community members who were facing hardships. As the eyes and ears of the community, these readers and stakeholders were able to help identify people who might have otherwise gone unnoticed or unrecognized.

One such nominee was Anna Sarol. About six years ago Anna was paralyzed in a gymnastics accident when she was a freshman in high school, but until last year she did not have a stairlift in her home. The stairlift was made possible when Lifestyle Publications gave her family $10,000 and made sure it was installed.

“Stairlifts don’t come at a feasible price, and unfortunately our insurance denied coverage,” Anna says. “I watched my community come together to help me get this equipment to my house, and words can’t explain how appreciative my family and I are.”

The money for Anna’s stairlift was part of the giveaway campaign from the company during the 2020 Christmas season that benefited more than 80 recipients. Among those recipients were single mothers, families with children who were facing illnesses, individuals impacted by the loss of a job, unexpected deaths and more.

Another nominee was Kathy*, an aunt who is raising her two nephews and niece. The children came from an abusive situation involving violence, drugs, and neglect. Kathy, a single parent, worked tirelessly to provide for these children, but the family was still living in poverty despite her working seven days a week. Additionally, Kathy lost her housecleaning job during the pandemic and resorted to selling tamales to help pay the rent. 

When a case manager with a Big Brothers Big Sisters foster youth mentoring program heard about Lifestyle’s campaign and call for nominations, she quickly thought of Kathy. 

This funding allowed the children to have a small Christmas tree for the first time ever. Kathy was able to pay her rent and utilities for three months, and the children were able to experience a holiday season in peace without financial stressors.

“When I shared the news that Kathy was selected and would be receiving $3,000, she cried, screamed, and was in disbelief,” the case manager said. “She immediately wanted to give back to me and the donor by providing endless tamales. This funding allowed the children to have a small Christmas tree for the first time ever. Kathy was able to pay her rent and utilities for three months, and the children were able to experience a holiday season in peace without financial stressors. They experienced Christmas like their peers, which filled them with such pride as it was something they have wished for all their lives.” 

The case manager says the lesson is clear – when we give back to others, we truly gain so much more in the process. She said she was filled with overwhelming joy when she saw the children’s faces filled with smiles and a Christmas tree in their home for the first time. In addition, the aunt’s expressed desire to give back to others made the giving cycle full circle.

In yet another case, Emily* who worked as a janitor at a school, was a recipient. She was struggling to afford simply buying groceries for her children, let alone providing them with a fun Christmas. Before the ongoing difficulties of the pandemic even started, a tornado destroyed the school she worked at just a couple weeks before the initial shutdown in March 2020 which impacted her income as the students attended a nearby school after the building was hit. The whole town was struggling as 220 people were injured and five were killed because of the tornado, and everyone needed encouragement. Emily was incredibly surprised and grateful to receive assistance from the giveaway.

This year the company will have nominations for the giveaway open from December 1st through 15th. To complete a nomination, go to @CityLifestyle on Instagram and fill out the form found in the bio link. It will be important to be following the page and watching for updates. Contact information will be collected on the form, which will include a short summary on why the specific individual is worthy of nomination and what their needs are. The identities and information from nominators and recipients will be kept private, and the amount given to each recipient is based on need. 

The leaders of Lifestyle Publications believe God has blessed them, so they want to be a blessing and encouragement to others. With this year’s giveaway being increased to $300,000 to give away throughout the year, it’s clear this is an opportunity to change many lives in the same way Anna’s was changed. 

“As a 2020 recipient of the Christmas giveaway, I am forever grateful I now can access my basement independently,” Anna says. “Locating a fully accessible household in my area is nearly impossible, and living in a state that experiences tornado warnings means finding a way to get to my basement by myself is crucial. Not only this, but I also now have the option of utilizing another level of my house to hang out with friends and family.”

*Names changed for privacy 

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