I've blasted most of this on fb, but in case you aren't on my fb page or have me blocked from your news feed b/c of my barrage of kid's photos and profanity laced memes, here is an update for the masses.
The last weekend in May I was pretty discouraged with my efforts to raise enough money to take Trinity to Arkansas to see her Papa. It wasn't that people weren't being generous. I was actually surprised and humbled by the folks who chose to give their hard-earned money to help make this happen for my child. I was also grateful for all the folks sharing my campaign on their own fb pages to try to help. What discouraged me was the fact that the cost of tickets seemed so high that I didn't think it was a realistic goal. Knowing that there is no way I could afford to pitch in more than a couple hundred dollars of my own money (and that would be pushing it!), I started feeling defeated and was ready to give up. Then on June 1st a friend of mine from high school reached out to me and offered his airline points to help cover the tickets. This red-headed saving grace, in one fell swoop, found the flights, got the tickets, and saved the day! Honestly, I have no idea how I will ever be able to sufficiently thank him for that. (I gushed a bit while I was on the phone with him, but that hardly seems like enough.)
That left me with the much smaller and more attainable goal of raising funds for rental car, gas, and food. Obviously I'll be saving every penny I can to cover as much as humanly possible on my own. I have already raised enough on the Go Fund Me campaign to cover the base cost for the rental car (minus taxes, hidden fees, etc.), even after they take out the nearly 10% for the processing fees. I have also been collecting bottles & cans from anyone willing to donate them and I'm currently working on a few small craft projects to sell, too. The biggest hurdle is behind us, thank heavens, so this has become less of an urgent and overwhelming task. It's manageable now. For that, I will never be able to say thank you enough to everyone who made this possible.
Trinity and I will be in Arkansas from August 8th-11th. My close friend, Heather, was nice enough to offer us a place to stay. Since we'll be spending so much of our time with Trinity's Nana & Papa, it will be nice to have the nights/early mornings with Heather & her daughter. I plan to take a few hours out of one day to drive Trinity around to see some of the places I've told her stories about. She's excited to see my old high school and some of the places I lived and hung out. Heather also joked about throwing a "welcome back to the boondocks" shindig so that I could see a few familiar faces while we're back in the sticks. If she is able to pull off such a feat, it will be amazing! Our foremost priority, of course, is Trinity's Grandparents. I haven't made any plans outside of spending time with them. The rest will fall along the fringe somewhere, but will be a welcome distraction for me, even if it means leaving Trinity to hang w/ Nana & Papa while I say hello to some old friends.
I'm continuing all my fundraising efforts until the beginning of August. At that point I'll be so consumed with preparations that I won't have time for much else. I'll be missing a total of 4 days of work for this trip, which is definitely going to put a strain on our little family. Covering as many travel costs as possible through fundraising will ease some of the burden of figuring out how to cover our monthly expenses for my lost wages. As I said before, if anyone local wants to donate their bottles/cans so that I can cash them in, I'm willing and able to pick them up. I'm also working on a couple cross stitch projects and a couple string art projects to offer up for sale. Once I have a viable time frame for how long those will take to finish, I'll probably put word out for any "special orders" to help bring up the travel fund a bit. All in all, even from where I stand right now, this campaign has been a success. Trinity is going to see her Papa one last time and have a chance to make some precious memories with him and her Nana. Knowing she will have this opportunity makes my heart so full it could burst. So to all of you who have donated or shared, and to those who will donate or share, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!