GIVING BACK DURING TOUGH TIMES
Written by Emma McDonnell
It’s a crisp day in late November when I chat with wellness expert and long-time SBLS contributor, Nikki Sharp. Just days prior to speaking with Nikki, she launched a movement, embodying the season of giving in a compassionate and thoughtful way.
Nikki has changed countless lives and inspired many. Through her Instagram and website, she has been open, honest, and authentic with her community. People have always felt as though they can share their hardships with her because of the kind energy she exudes: “I have so much empathy for everyone because we are all just trying to do the best that we can and learn as much as we can. It’s never been about the money for me. It has always been about how many people can I affect, and help, and make feel better.”
In regards to COVID-19, she expresses, “Because of the struggles and setbacks many of us are facing, we feel like we’re not even deserving of our own love.” Her solution to combat this mindset? “See the good, donate what I can, and help other people.”
The day before Thanksgiving, Nikki posted a message on her Instagram acknowledging how hard 2020 has been and offering to help her followers. “It wasn’t even an idea...I didn’t think it was going to become anything, I just thought a few people would come to me,” she shares.
She broke down the aid into four categories: paying bills, sending money for food, sending money for holiday gifts, and matching people with coaching services. And with this small idea, Nikki launched a movement of giving. She never asked anyone to share it but influencers and individuals began reposting and soon, her DMs flooded with messages.
In regards to how much she would give, Nikki never had a monetary number in mind. It started out as $400 here, $200 there; paying in euros, pounds, and more. This increased when Mayor Gonnelli of Secaucus, New Jersey, reached out to donate 50 pallets of goods. Her movement has no limits; Nikki has provided help to those who require food and housing assistance in the Philippines and Honduras and given children Christmas gifts so that for one more year, they can still believe in Santa.
"Nikki's movement is a reminder that we are all in this together and she encompasses what it means to give back."
She promised everyone who DM’d her on Instagram that she would write back to them, with the goal of making everyone feel seen and heard because right now we are living in a world where a lot of people aren’t. And while she might not be able to help everyone, the fact that she leaves them a voice note on Instagram speaks volumes. People have expressed to her that, “Just listening to your voice note has given me hope.”
Videos and messages poured in, with recipients thanking and offering to pay her back in some way. But Nikki responds the same way each time, “Don’t pay me back, pay it forward somehow. Even if you can’t donate, then give someone a smile, give a hug to your friend, be a little kinder.” And with these random acts of kindness, we are reminded that giving back is something that can be seen in the smallest of actions.
This mission started as a small idea and has grown into something so impactful, with Nikki showing no signs of stopping. “I’d like to continue this all year. I’d like to do it once a month.” Going forward, Nikki will keep a GoFundMe page up and 100% of the money will be allocated to those who need it. If you have a product, service, or money contribution and would like to get involved, all forms of donations are appreciated.
Nikki’s movement is a reminder that we are all in this together and she encompasses what it means to give back. Her sense of hope and giving is infectious, evidence that there is good that can shine through in the worst of times.