Plano church members pay it forward after money giveaway

A Plano church surprised its members by handing out checks at Sunday services nearly three weeks ago with the hope everyone would pay it forward.

Now the stories of generosity are pouring in, with tales of helping people whose home was going into foreclosure and buying groceries for strangers.

Preston Meadow Lutheran Church Pastor Paul Mussachio has received several letters of gratitude after his church's $125,000 giveaway on March 4. Mussachio handed out checks for $250, $500, $1,000 to all who attended two Sunday services with one request: don't give it back to the church and be generous.

Mussachio said many members figured out ways to grow their money. Jeff Fortney’s family turned $250 dollars into $4,000 for a local organization helping foster kids.

“Maybe I'll see a child out there who was blessed by this in 10 years from now,” Fortney said.

Then there's little Ginny and Ollie Walls who filled nearly 100 backpacks with necessities for the homeless.

Others, like the Crouse family, zeroed in on someone they knew. They helped a charity in Venezuela, where an economic crisis has put the most basic items out of reach. They grew their $500 check into $2,000 to ship boxes of desperately needed items.

“It was something that touched our hearts. It's something that was near and dear to us because we've heard the stories for many years and we've talked about how can we help,” Shelly Crouse said.

Mussachio said he thinks the individual acts have gone much further than anything the church could have done with the $125,000.

“Hopefully someone out there is feeling a little bit freer today because of those donations that were made in their honor,” Mussachio said.