I should have written this weeks ago, but the truth is - I've been procrastinating because I don't like making this official. Here it is: We are not doing a gift card exchange this year. For the past two years, Kate, Guru and I have loved and labored over over the holiday gift card exchange.
Last year did not go well. From the technology end, everything fell apart, making our job ten times harder. People very kindly offered to help us with amazing ideas and offers of their time. To every single person who offered to help us, I can't say this enough:
THANK YOU. Thank you thank you thank you.
But the bottom line is - we can't let you help us run this project. Thousands of people were sharing very personal information with us and we had to protect that. We very carefully guard the names, addresses and stories that people trusted us with. We could not let other people (even our beloved Mommylanders) see those emails, or have access to that information.
There were other problems.
Perhaps we all did too good a job of asking people to help us. Because we began receiving referrals from social workers, case managers and charities. We are simply not able to meet that kind of demand. Though we really want to help everyone who needs it (and these families were legitimately in need and deserving of help), we just can't serve as a clearinghouse or annual Christmas charity. We're three exhausted moms exactly like you, and while we did our best - it was really overwhelming. Kate literally worked 14 hours in a row on her birthday to make sure that every email was matched and responded to.
While some people were kind and offered to help us while we processed thousands of emails, others were not as kind. Others did not understand why the process didn't move faster or why they received less than they'd hoped, or nothing at all. Those emails and FB messages were incredibly discouraging to receive. I understand how disappointed those folks must have been, but the intensity of the anger directed at us in those messages still makes my heart beat faster.
Then there was the fraud. Because word of the project spread so far beyond the borders of our small on-line community, it was almost inevitable that we would find out after the fact that some people asked for help who did not need it.
Between the technology problems and the size and scope of the project changing and the risk of fraud, we can no longer do the Gift Card Exchange. We are so sorry. We're going to keep giving. We're going to keep teaching our kids to take care of each other in big and small ways. But we're not going to do a gift card exchange.
If you have a favorite charity or group to work with for Holiday giving or volunteering - please leave a link below. If you know of a group that provides help, please that leave info too. We know first hand a lot of people will be in need this Christmas.
I'm so sorry, you guys.
PS: To the small number of people who ripped off our project last year: (To clarify, any person who heard about us and honestly needed our help was welcome with open arms and a large coffee. So please know, I'm not talking about you sweetie.) I'm talking about the very small group of people who heard about our project and thought 'these blogger dipshits are giving away free gift cards so let's see if I can get one'. I HATE YOU AND YOUR ASS FACES. You saw a community of women trying to support each other, to take care of each other's kids during the holidays and saw it as a chance to get something for nothing and take advantage of the kindness of the people in my community. GO F**K YOURSELF. Do you realize that some women bagged their lunches for a month so they could send you a gift card? Or decided that instead of getting anything for themselves, to spend it on you? YOU ARE A BAD PERSON. Oh, one more thing, crotchface! Before you do it again to some other blog or charity - consider locking down your Facebook wall. Because while we believe very strongly in protecting privacy and not outing people, even when they're being huge assholes, the next person you take advantage of might not. Think about THAT.
(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013
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