Stories From Build Then Bless: Part III
One of the coolest aspects of Build Then Bless is that our team members are able to help people in any way that they want to. We encourage our team just to get involved with serving other people – however that might look for them.
Build Then Bless can also include being blessed by other people, and this happens all the time! It’s all about sending blessings back and forth to anyone and everyone around us.
I asked three of our team members this week to share one of their favorite moments or stories from Build Then Bless.
My two best friends of eight years married each other about a year and a half ago. They are now pregnant with their first child. We are all so excited for them! We were married in October of 2021 and they had just found out about a week before our wedding that they were expecting. We didn’t know this until a few weeks later, but the wife has had a very rough first pregnancy. She has experienced severe nausea and has been hospitalized several times. Unfortunately, they live about an hour and a half away from us so it’s hard to feel like we can do a lot for them. When we found out that she was experiencing this and still made the trip down for our wedding, then acted like nothing was wrong, we felt horrible. We are so grateful for their friendship and thanks to Build Then Bless, we have been able to pamper them on and off for the past few months. We will randomly reach out and ask them what sounds good for dinner that night so we can order food for them and have it delivered to their house. We would normally make dinner for them but it’s a little hard to do when they live so far away. Two months ago, we sent them a little care package of a really nice blanket, some slippers, and some candles. Who knows what we can do for them this month? It’s a really great feeling to have the power to do nice things. We are struggling newlyweds just figuring out how to navigate our own challenges, but thanks to Build Then Bless, we are able to think outside ourselves several times during each month and find micro opportunities to serve. My wife has been an amazing example to me during these past months of having a giving heart. She constantly makes dinner for people in need around us. Build Then Bless has helped us center our lives on a pattern of giving more than taking.
The hardest part about this post was choosing just one favorite moment where I’ve been part of Build and Bless in action. I’ve had some incredible opportunities to do good in the world through this program, just in the fairly short time I’ve worked for Lemonade Stand, and I’ve been extremely blessed to be on the receiving end of many of these as well.
I’ve realized, though, as I’ve thought about all these moments, that they all tie back to one HUGE Build and Bless moment that completely changed my life- being hired at Lemonade Stand.
Before working here, I was stuck in a fairly unpleasant, demeaning, work environment. Every day I dreaded going to work, I was miserable at work, and I was stressed out to the point of not being able to sleep at night after work. It wasn’t a job in my chosen field, and it paid barely enough to live on. Long story short, I was unfulfilled and unhappy, but I couldn’t afford to leave and find something better.
My unwillingness to take the next step abruptly became a non-issue when I and my wife were both laid off on the same day from this company. That, obviously, didn’t help my stress or happiness levels.
Fortunately, everything changed when I found Lemonade Stand. I found a job posting from Lemonade Stand and immediately thought it was too good to be true; but I really wanted it to be true, so I sent in an application. At that point, job hunting was a full-time job for both of us, and I would send in dozens of applications to different positions every day, so I wasn’t expecting a response.
Hearing back from Lemonade Stand was a huge shock- a pleasant one for sure! I was struck by the friendliness, kindness, and deeply human quality of the response, and I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of Lemonade Stand. Much to my delight, I was hired here, in what I could best describe as my dream job.
Being part of Lemonade Stand has built and blessed me more than I can possibly say! Doing work I enjoy, in the field I’ve chosen for myself, is something I honestly didn’t think was possible before now. I thought work was something you dreaded, but I’ve since learned that it can be something you look forward to. Working at Lemonade Stand has improved my physical and mental health- I’m sleeping a healthy amount now, and my stress has gone down enough to let me work out regularly again. I’m building up professional experience and relationships that will have a huge impact on my future. There’s literally nothing more I could ask for, and yet every day continues to be better than the last.
The best part of this story, to me, is that I’ve been able to see what I call the “Lemonade Stand effect” in other people as well. My wife works here now, as well, and there’s a night and day difference in her overall happiness. I was also able to refer my best friend for an interview, and he’ll be working here too! That’s the great thing about Build and Bless- once you’ve been part of it, you have this drive to take that and multiply it, to bless more people around you. Lemonade Stand- and the people that work for it- inspire me to build and bless, inspire me to be better, and inspire me to try and live up to their example of doing good.
Whenever I get the opportunity to share about my place of work, the very first thing I mention is the Build then Bless program. Getting to talk about it is a great way to share the heart of the company and share some cool stories about how the team has used the funds to bless others.
One of my favorite ways that I’ve used the Build and Bless fund was during a trip to Dallas. On our first day there, I went with a group of friends to visit the UpperRoom Church. After the service, we were greeted by an older gentleman named Gary (changing his name because he’s a private person/didn’t want to be in a group picture). In a room full of people he had noticed that we had not been around the Church before. He was the sweetest and most welcoming person. A few days later we stopped by the church again for their mid-week service. Gary approached us and expressed how happy he was to see us again. We then learned that Gary was “house-less” but didn’t consider himself homeless because the church was his home. After learning about this, we called the restaurant we had reservations to and asked for an extra seat at our table. We invited Gary to come to eat lunch with us and were so elated when he accepted. We took him to a Downtown Dallas pizza and pasta restaurant and he was able to pick out a pasta to eat there with us and choose a pizza to eat for dinner. We learned that Gary had battled with many difficult life situations that led him down the wrong path and cost him his relationship with his children. Not only was it special to be able to pay for both of his meals with the fund, but it was so incredibly sweet to sit with him and learn more about his story and how his life was transformed. Gary doesn’t have material things to give, but he does give all his attention and affection to people and he is so loved and cherished in his community, we can’t wait to visit again in September and hope to treat him to another meal.