By Melissa Wuske
Comedian Helps Family in Need
Tim and Keri Richardson have fostered more than 70 children, and right now their household includes five biological and seven foster children. When the family fell into financial hardship and their car was stolen, they reached out to others to help through a crowdfunding site, but they still were far short of what they needed.
Standup Christian comedian Michael Jr. heard about the family and decided to respond. “I did want to give,” he said. “Whenever I give, I want to give out of obedience. I don’t want to just give because I feel like giving. I want to make sure that I feel like I’m supposed to give.”
He decided to have a No Show—fans would purchase tickets for a show that would never happen, so that all of the proceeds would go to the Richardsons. “I wanted to see if people would give even though there wasn’t going to be anything in return,” Michael Jr. said.
Many responded, including a car dealership that bought $2,000 in No Show tickets and offered a van at cost. Soon the comedian was able to present the family with a new Nissan NV Passenger van. But the surprise didn’t end there. Michael Jr. soon found out that this was the exact van the family had posted on their fridge for two years with the message “God is awesome. This is our car. Reach for our goal.”
Christian Woman Survives Chinese Labor Camp
Cheng Jie, a minister’s wife and kindergarten director in China, has spent the last two years in a labor camp, working 12-hour days and living in a 15-by-15-foot cell with 15 women. She was arrested for using what was deemed a religious curriculum with her young students.
“Even though I was in prison, I felt like I am happy because I have the joy from God,” Jie said. She used her time in prison to help the other women. At other times, she thought, “Really, I can’t go through this, but because of the encouragement from all over the world, it makes my faith strong. That is why I can go through my difficulties.” Now she has been released and is back home with her husband and young sons.
Ride Service for Families of Prisoners
Kristal Bush began visiting her father in jail when she was a young girl, and she’s visited many other friends and loved ones there over the years. Now as a social worker, she’s using her experience to help others in the same situation.
Bridging the Gap offers an affordable ride service to people visiting family members in prisons across the state of Pennsylvania. During the ride, Bush offers help and support to riders through her own experience and her expertise. “I can relate to almost every person in my vans—the kids, the sisters, the cousins. But I don’t want to imagine being a mother visiting her child. It would break my heart,” Bush said.
Paid Parental Leave to All
Hilton Hotels and Resorts recently extended its paid parental leave program to cover all staff, from top executives to cooks and housekeeping staff. The move has a particular impact on lower-wage workers who are less able to afford time off and are less able to access jobs with paid benefits.
“There was absolutely no peer pressure in this regard,” said Matt Schuyler, the company’s chief human resources officer. “In our industry we are first and now quite out in front with respect to this.”
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).