I was I was 10, maybe 11. It was around Christmas time and getting cold outside. The knock on the door was sudden but not alarming. We weren’t expecting any visitors, but visitors were not necessarily rare. On the front porch was a box. In the box were two winter coats–one for my sister and one for me. There was no one in sight.

My parents worked very hard but did not make a lot of money. Some kind person saw a need and decided not to say no.

I was in high school. Maybe even college. My dad worked as a manager at a sheltered workshop, overseeing mentally handicapped adults as they did piece work and made a little money. More importantly, they gained some dignity. It was around Thanksgiving time, the day before if memory serves. My dad knew some of the employees at the workshop better than others, and he knew some would would be eating a bologna sandwich instead of a feast the next day.

So this time my dad was on the giving end of the secret mission. He bought a turkey and some sides and took it over to a house or two. Or maybe it was a big KFC meal. I don’t remember the particulars, I just remember the heart behind it. He saw a need and decided not to say no.

Do you ever get tired of saying no? I sure do.

Over the past few months, my wife and I have received some questions about what The 25 Group (the nonprofit we started in January) is. I’ve tried to explain it with a mission statement and values and in other forms, but I think the stories do a better job.

We’re a group of people who saw some needs and have decided not to say no.

Like the folks who left the coats on my porch, we want to be helpful and don’t really care who gets the credit. Like my dad, we know we can’t feed the whole world. But our limitations should not lead to paralyzing apathy. We’re going to help who we can. We’re not going to say no.

We’ve linked arms to accomplish more. One person giving $25 each month can’t make much of a dent in the universe, but hundreds of us banding together can. We are fast approaching our 100th donor in our brief nonprofit history. We’ve made significant contributions to two worthy causes already. We have more in the queue. We hope to raise about $125,000 this year and fund 6-8 projects.

I don’t know what you spend money on. We consume our fair share of fast food and Starbucks at my place. But we also drive old cars and live in an old house–not because we’re better than anyone else. Not that at all. Lots of folks do that.

We’ve just seen a need and we’ve decided not to say no.


I’m not asking you to downsize your house, sell your car, or move to Africa. I’m asking you to click here and commit to giving $25/month to The 25 Group. By doing so, you’re pitching in to put more boxes on more porches and more Thanksgiving feasts on more tables. You’re building school buildings and funding nutrition centers and drilling clean water wells and helping those who are hungry, thirsty, sick, naked, imprisoned, and unwelcome all over the globe.

When you sign up to give, you’re not unlike the Mystery Man who tip-toed up our porch steps, secretly laid the box on our welcome mat, knocked on our door, and ran like crazy.

Let’s run like crazy for those who need us to stop saying no.

One thought on “When Saying No is No Longer an Option

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