2019 Heart to Serve Challenge

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How Our Winners Helped Others

Winner: Michael Gudith

“You get that feeling when you’re getting pulled over by a police officer, you’re nervous, you’re scared, you ask yourself if you’re really getting a ticket. I want to help create a positive experience with police in our community. Thankfully through Mike Staff Productions, it’s your generosity that’s making this happen,” said Gudith

Winners: Denise Tucker & Laura Perry

“To have this opportunity through Mike Staff Productions to give these children a Christmas, I am ever so grateful, said Tucker. On top of it all, to have you partner me with someone else where it would double the impact, $1,000 is huge. Mike Staff Productions is an answer to prayer and a true blessing.”

Winner: Vickie Taylor

My brother in law has never once complained about what he is going through and has been fighting and pushing through all of this, for his kids. I would most certainly use the money to help provide gifts, meals, gas cards and necessities to help them during this difficult time,” said Vickie.

Congratulations to Our Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered! We were touched by your stories and generosity. Congratulations to our 4 winners below. Follow us on our Facebook and Instagram pages to learn how these metro Detroiter’s make a difference with their $500.

Heart to Serve Challenge: $500 Giveaway

If you were handed $500 to give away this holiday season, who would you help? Mike Staff Productions believes in giving back to our community all year but as we approach the season of giving we want to know who you truly believe needs that extra ‘boost’. 

Could it be…

  • A teacher that needs help stocking supplies?
  • A friend or family member who lost their job & needs help paying bills?
  • An organization or shelter that needs help providing services to the needy?

The options are endless. The need in our community is great. We want to hear about the stories, people and causes that are near and dear to your heart so we can potentially help make those needs a reality!

How Does The Heart to Serve Challenge Work?

Here at Mike Staff Productions we love the number 3! Since we provide three key wedding services, wedding DJ, photography & videography; we plan to give three people $500 each so they can help bless someone else with it. 

Heart To Serve Challenge Rules

  1. Fill out the form to tell us who you’d like to help with the $500 and why.
  2. Contest runs November 18, 2019 through December 12, 2019. 
  3. Three people will each be awarded $500 to use to help someone else
  4. Winners will be announced & contacted December 13, 2019
  5. Please be open & available to have your charitable act filmed by a professional videographer and used for media purposes.
  6. Additional Terms & Conditions

Read the 2019 Heart to Serve Challenge Entries Here

Kaitlin B. 

I would give the money to Michigan Youth Leadership, aka MYLead. They are a leadership conference for sophomores to help them learn how to make a difference in their schools and communities. The students attend the conference for free. Everything is run by volunteers and paid for by donations. I’ve been involved with this organization since 2013 and seen the impact it has had on students. They always have issues with videography and photography and would love the professional help. These volunteers are so dedicated to the cause and this upcoming year they are expanding to three conferences. You could help multiple students learn their true potential and gain lifelong friends with this donation.

Aricia A. 

The first person I would have back to would be my mom. She is a single mom of three, and although all her children and grown she still scrapes up what she can to provide for us. She deserves something special.

The second person I would give to would be my classroom. I am a preschool teacher for low income families. I would love nothing more than to give all 32 of my students something they need for the winter, it could be mittens, hats, scarves, coats, a Meijer or Walmart gift card for food or even a few books to help with literacy skills at home.

Lastly, I’d give to my local lions club, they run a great organization called Sights for Kids and they help provide glasses to children in need.

Anessa D. 

If I had $500 I would give it to Mrs. Basso, the band director at our 2 intermediate schools.  Our school system moved band down to the 6th grade level this year, so Mrs. Basso is working at two schools teaching 150+ students how to read music and play/care for their instruments.  In the land of arts education, there is never enough funding … to be fair, in the land of education in general there is never enough funding.  With $500 Mrs. Basso would be able to insure that this early learning environment was well stocked and ready to make great musicians of these 11 and 12 year old students.

Lynn D. 

I would use it to purchase Christmas presents for students in need at my school. Every year, the staff donate to help families in need with presents, basic household needs, and a meal. The number of families in need grow yearly.  It would be amazing to be able to help more.

Carrisa H.

I’d try to stretch the $500 as much as possible. I would take $150 to buy gifts for families that wouldn’t have a Christmas without the generosity of others.

I would give the other $350 to my parents.  My dad lost his job 3 weeks before my wedding this past September.   This made an already stressful time even more stressful.   Right now, my brothers and I are doing everything to help them out as they figure out how they are going to readjust their lives. This loss put a slight damper on my wedding and the upcoming holidays,  but we can’t give up. This would help me thank them for everything they’ve ever done for me.

Lou P. 

I would give it to a cancer research organization.  If that $500 might be the few dollars that helps researchers find a cure, then we can help thousands. Cancer takes too many lives, we have to continue to push to help.

Kathy M.

I was blessed this year with finally have a mini break from my own financial struggles.  For 3 years now, I have not been able to give my boys a Christmas, sometimes not able to put food on the table and my home was in foreclosure 2 times.  As a single Mom with 3 boys, no support and having MS it has not been easy but others have helped me in the past and it would be wonderful to pay it forward to another.  Those that have helped me truly changed my life and gave me the hope of goodness and wanting to change my life and help others.  Eternally grateful.

I would help someone who is struggling.  Truly struggling to take some stress away and give them hope.  Pay a utility or two and have some gifts for the children that don’t understand financial problems.  Further, would like to cook them a meal on my own with my own money.

Debra A. 

I have done a Christmas party for Empowerment Plan Employees for the past 5 yrs. with the help of Hands of Hope( until last yr). We have done gifts for their children (100) an outfit, pr of shoes and toys, a party and a family a 25.00 grocery store gift card. This yr we just didn’t get the funds to do the gifts but we still would love to do the gift cards, so far we have 16- we need 60. We will be having a brunch for them Dec 20. We have several cookie bakers doing 3 dozen home made Christmas cookies for each family. We love these ladies that come from being homeless trying to change their lives. We hope to continue to help in any way we can. Check their website out. I know I could make you cry, but I want to keep it short. Thank you for whoever ends up as recipients.May God Bless you .

Suzette V. 

If I had $500 to giveaway,I would help A Very Special Disabled Veteran with the $500 to help towards New furniture he is in need of! Thank you for the opportunity to possible help A Veteran in Need!

Denise T. 

I get chills just thinking about it!  The Methodist Children’s Home is a six cottage home for 60 boys who have been sexually, emotionally and or physically abused.  They range in age from weeks old to 18 years old.  In the last year, many volunteers have successfully furnished each boy with alarm clocks, bedding, books,diapers, wipes, snow boots and jeans.

We have sponsored Christmas gifts for each cottage in the past, but it was decided that this year they needed the jeans and boots more.  If I had $500.00 to give away, I would make sure that each cottage had something wonderful on Christmas morning.  These boys have been through so much.  They deserve a very special Christmas morning.

Candice M. 

I would definitely help my 23 year old daughter a single mother of three beautiful boys give them the Christmas they deserve. My daughter lives alone with her three sons and works two jobs to try and keep a roof over their heads. She’s struggling right now after recently having a miscarriage. She thought thing were moving in the right direction when she met someone a year ago, they got a house together and soon found out they were expecting. Lindsey went for genetic testing and that night suffered a miscarriage. A few weeks after the test results came back that the baby had a severe syndrome called Trisomy 18. I also was informed that said boyfriend was physically and mentally abusive to her and is no longer living in the home. I also found out that she is $300.00 short on her November rent. I as a Mother try and help as much as possible but have a mortgage and Car payments of my own. Thank you for listening to our story and Thank you for blessing three families this season. I hope you and your family has a Blessed Holiday season.

Rita W. 

Not to be selfish but I’d give it to my husband.
He had a serious heart attack 2 years ago and then was hit while stopped in his truck by someone on their phone. He still continues to work outside everyday to support his family. He volunteers his time to children. He struggles so much with pain (as he can’t even take ibuprofen). He pushes day after day trying to stay positive and not complain. He never does anything for himself. So, I would give him this money for a vacation or so he can do something for himself for once.
He’s a beautiful person who deserves so much!

Eddie T.

On one of my regular trips to the Philippines, I walked by a homeless mother and child outside a Wendy’s restaurant. Both were malnourished but the child was even worse that he could hardly lift up his head. On my way out of the restaurant I handed them a meal. The mother was so thankful and to my surprise the child’s eyes lit up looking straight at me thanking me with his smile. I walked away literally sobbing, wishing I could have done more.

After that trip, I made it a goal to do some type of RAOK for these truly unfortunate ones. My favorite so far is walking the streets late at night when they are all sleeping and leaving sandwiches or meat pies next to them so they wouldn’t have to worry about finding food when they wake up. $500 would go a long way. Maybe 500-700 sandwiches

Lori B. 

I would give it to may in laws. They paid to have our van fixed 6 years ago and we are still struggling to pay them back each month. This would give them a nice payment and more money for them to have for Christmas as well.

Tracy F. 

I would give $50 to nine of my family and/or friends and challenge them to help others and try to get the money to stretch and use it for whatever need they see in their community or circle. The rules would be that they must help a non related person who is struggling financially. My $50 would go to a family that is struggling to pay for their heat. I despise being cold and can’t imagine struggling to pay that bill. I love this giveaway.  It takes a village.

Echo J. 

If I had $500 I would give it to my parents. My father lost his sight in 2017 and he is unable to work and my mother has had several back surgeries and she has lupus so when she has flair ups she’s unable to get out of bed and she is unable to work they are on a fixed income and they are struggling to make ends meet and it breaks my heart to see them struggle. They have always been there for me and I’m sad that I can’t return the favor. My mother has to drive my father around their car needs some repairs so that is what I would do if I had $500.

Joy R. 

If I had 500 dollars over the holiday season I would help homeless and people with cancer and give a donation. I would do it because my mom just survived aggressive breast cancer and we are so blessed she beat it and is healthy she always helps people and helping is what everyone should do especially around holiday time and its good to help because you never know if one day you may be in need of help.

Michael G.

I would take the money and do a ride along with a police officer in my community and have the officer pull over as many vehicles as he can and hand that person gift cards or cash to spend on whatever they want.
Whenever someone gets pulled over they are scared and I would like an officer to pull people over and give them some gift cards or cash to brighten there day.

Amanda R. 

I would give it to my papa he’s always ready to give his last dollar to help someone even though he’s behind on bills and only gets a fixed income every month from social security we lost my grandma 2 years ago he goes every Sunday and he’s been lost without her then recently he lost his best friend their dog Chico he’s really in need of some cheer I had to pawn my grandmas ring in order to get the dog cremated for him and I wish I had more to give him because he deserves more than life has been giving him lately

Laura P. 

I work in the Redford union school district. Many of my students are Detroit residents. I would like to surprise 5 of my students with $100 gift cards so that they can help their families celebrate Christmas. I have many students who would be deserving of this and many whose families can’t afford to give them the presents they would like to give. I would love to help these families out.

Kim M.

I would give the $500 to Families Against Narcotics (FAN) or Hope Not Handcuffs. There are so many people struggling with the disease of addiction and these groups are doing everything they can to help get people into recovery. These are 2 great programs helping addicts to get clean and sober.

Paula K. 

I would give it to my son, Ryan and his wife, Julia. After Julia became pregnant a year ago, medical conditions forced her to leave her job and she was unable to work. They became homeless in September and were forced to move in with relatives with their newborn daughter. Recently, they were forced to move again when their relative announced they were selling their house. This money would really help them both with paying bills that have accumulated during the pregnancy and help them to get back on their feet during this stressful holiday season!

Cynthia B. 

I would award the $500 prize to my daughter who volunteers and teaches at a coding class named Sisters Code.  She also volunteers and teaches at a coding class for underprivileged children.  She could use the prize to do so much for the women and children she assists.  She struggles now to do so much with them with her own income.  This would be a nice, friendly gesture for the women and children.  She also a Big Sister, and this would assist her as well.

Gretchen W. 

I would help my friend that was air flighted from southshore to Beaumont in royal oak for open heart surgery that lasted 8 1/2 hours and she got a $30,000 bill they did not cover her flight to Beaumont.

Judy N.

My niece has had a lot of loss this last year, her mom passed away suddenly last year followed by her grandmother five weeks later. She had cared for her grandma until the time she passed.  Recently my niece has been diagnosed with Stage 1V ovarian cancer and is undergoing chemo treatments.  She has had a lot of complications since she was diagnosed which has kept her from working.  She is a single mom who worked her way through college, taking out student loans to get her teaching certificate so that she could get a job to feed and clothe her three children. She would be able to use this $500 toward her student loans to help reduce some of her stress so she can continue fighting this cancer.

Jennifer M.

If I had the extra $500, I’d love to help a very special little girl, named Hadleigh, and her family. Hadleigh is four years old and has a very rare disease called Mastocytosis. She was diagnosed at 2 months old with a disease called Pediatric Mastocytosis, although she has been fighting this since birth. Masto is a very rare and debilitating disease, and is only found in 1 in 200,000 children world-wide.

Haddie is covered head to toe in thousands of lesions that are very uncomfortable and look like a rash. These lesions on her skin are extremely itchy and easily irritated even just by touching her. They can cause hives, flushing episodes, and anaphylaxis just by doing normal day to day activities such as going outside to play, having a bath or even just crying or sweating. She unfortunately has to spend most of her days inside and at home to avoid reactions and germs. Haddie cannot be vaccinated, so Mom and Dad, Mandie and Josh do their best to keep her safe and protected and have affectionately named their new lifestyle “Island Living”.

Since she was diagnosed she has endured two bone marrow biopsies, hundreds of blood draws, various testing, hospital stays and ambulance rides. After her second bone marrow biopsy at 16 months old she was diagnosed with Systemic Mastocytosis which means mast cells have invaded her bone marrow and other organs. Haddie’s bone marrow, spleen and gastric organs are affected. She also has a second diagnosis of Diffuse Cutaneous Mastocytosis that is most present on her head. Haddie also has a genetic mutation called the C-Kit mutation. She is so rare her doctors have deemed her only 0.01% of the population with this exact diagnosis.

She is under the care of pediatric oncology, immunology and allergy at Mott Children’s hospital in Ann Arbor. She also sees a masto specialist from Boston that has agreed to oversee her rare case 3 times a year.

She also may have to endure a bone marrow transplant in the future. With such limited options for treatment, The Banks’ have started to explore holistic and natural treatments and remedies to try and alleviate some of Haddie’s symptoms, keep her labs as close to normal as possible and avoid chemotherapy. This is all out of pocket costs for them. Although she was originally given a 2-13 year life diagnosis, the Banks’ heavily believe in prayer and stand firm that God will fully heal her.

Though I try to help them I would love to help more. Her mom, who I’ve known since high school, recently told me they are facing eviction if they cannot get caught up on their mortgage payments. That is something I can’t even imagine facing during a holiday season. They recently lost their deep freezer that contained most of their frozen meat and she says she’s not sure how they will be able to re-coup what they’ve lost.

I’d love to give them this gift to try to relive just a bit of the burden they are facing.

WATCH: Past Heart to Serve Challenge Winners

Past Winner: Jamie Moore 

Jamie Moore’s husband was deployed for Afghanistan. Having such an intimate understanding of how much our service men & women miss their families at Christmas, Jamie decided to use the $500 to send as many gifts overseas as possible.

Past Winner: Billy Carr

Billy Carr, a volunteer fireman for the Northfield Twp. Volunteer Fire Department, used the $500 to help provide a Christmas to two children in two different families, each living with single grandmothers. Santa even delivered the presents on a fire truck for a Christmas surprise.

Past Winner: John Carlos

John Carlos from Detroit had an idea that he hopes will multiply the giving spirit of the challenge. John visited a local grocery store and surprised 20 random people with $25 gift cards to help pay for their groceries. The catch? He asked that each person be sure to do a random act of kindness for someone else before the end of the day!


Thank You WXYZ for spreading the word!

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