The 9 Nanas

Marlo Thomas wrote the story of a group of nine women in West Tennessee who decided to honor their grandma by doing something for their neighbors in need. They pooled a little cash each month, and started a tradition of anonymous giving. That was 35 years ago.

And then the women started listening. They’d eavesdrop -- all with good intentions, of course -- at the local beauty shop or when they were picking up groceries. And when they heard about a widow or a single mom who needed a little help, they’d step in and anonymously pay a utility bill or buy some new clothes for the children.

“We wanted to help as much as we could,” Mary Ellen said, “without taking away from our own families, so we became coupon clippers. And we’d use green stamps. Remember those? We’d use green stamps and we’d make sure to go to Goldsmith’s department store on Wednesdays. Every week they’d have a big sale and you could spend $100 and walk away with $700 worth of merchandise.”

The Nanas would find out where the person lived and send a package with a note that simply said, “Somebody loves you” -- and they’d be sure to include one of MaMaw Ruth’s special pound cakes.

The more people they helped, the bolder they became.

“We gave new meaning to the term drive-by,” Mary Ellen said with delight. “We’d drive through low-income neighborhoods and look for homes that had fans in the window. That told us that the people who lived there didn’t have air-conditioning. Or we’d see that there were no lights on at night, which meant there was a good chance their utilities had been turned off. Then we’d return before the sun came up, like cat burglars, and drop off a little care package.”

The "9 Nanas" kept their works secret from even their husbands for decades, but now that the secret is out, they've expanded their business of spreading happiness. Read the whole story at HuffPo. Link -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Happiness Happens)


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