Quick update ...
I'll be closing this campaign and page down at the end of this month. Wanted to thank everyone again for participating, donating and sharing this fund. Its been an incredible education on the power of compassion. Good people are all around us and willing to help. Its been a lesson I won't soon forget and its forever changed me.
I'm also, frankly, a bit tired of the negativity and accusations I've received in comments here or in private emails as a result of having created this fundraiser. I cannot control the fact that your letters or cards did not reach Barbara and that the Moore post office hadn't re-established postal delivery. I'm not a criminal or a con artist. I have never touched or came into contact with a single dime from this campaign - it all went to Barbara's bank account, which her lawyer set up. I never set out to gain anything, other than knowing that my actions helped to spark this incredible build taken on by all of you. I found her an attorney, took every step to ensure that she was taken care of and safe in her new home. I am someone who was incredibly moved by Barbara's story, as you all were, and wanted to do something to improve her situation. Crowdfunding made that possible - you made that possible.
I do know that your funds were used for a house for Barbara and Bowser, along with furnishings inside the house, which had all been lost to the tornado. I posted pictures of the house as it was going up and even visited her in Moore to see it with my own eyes. I've kept you up to date as much as possible. I wish I could do more, but this is the best I can do.
Thank you for being a part of it.
Many of you have asked why cards or letters were returned. I sent Barbara a Christmas card last year that was also returned. She told me that the post office took a very long time to re-start mail delivery to the house, given that her entire neighborhood was wiped out. She was the first and only house to rebuild for many blocks, even into January 2014. We haven't spoken in months although I have emailed her to check in.
Her address, to my knowledge, is still the same: Barbara Garcia 113 SW 8th Street Moore OK 73160
Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year,
Heard about a home health care worker in Oklahoma who could use some assistance. Thank you to Nancy O, a Barbara and Bowser fan, for suggesting I share her story. http://www.gofundme.com/5rtj7c
Barbara's been having some trouble getting her mail delivered to her new house! Until this is sorted, please send notes and packages to: 11629 S Western Ave, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73170
Heavy hearts today. Barbara's beloved Bowser passed away this morning after having a stroke. He had been on medication after the tornado, due to fluid build up in his lungs and had been doing well, despite everything he'd been through. Please keep Barbara in your thoughts and prayers. Her address is pasted below if you want to send a note or a card.
113 SW 8th Street
Moore OK 73160
I wanted to take a minute to thank you again for being a part of this inspiring community and for donating to Barbara and Bowser's fund back in May. You contributed, shared the links, tweeted, penned your own personal stories, emailed me, sent Bowser boxes of toys and turned Barbara's dream into a homecoming.
If you're sitting around a table this coming Thursday, reflecting on what you've done over the past year that's truly made a difference, know that you were a part of something monumental. There will be many families thinking of you, mine included, acknowledging your generosity and your spirit.
I cannot adequately convey how moved I have been by all that you've done and how much this entire experience has inspired me and changed me. The kindness and compassion of strangers helped to build a new house and give Barbara and Bowser a new life. The phoenix from the flame, lit by 1,800 different matches from all over the globe.
"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."
"• Dalai Lama XIV
I just heard from Barbara's lawyer that the house is DONE and Barbara should get the keys tomorrow! Will send a new picture as soon as I get one, but wanted you to know the good news.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make this day possible. Sending love and hugs from the Midwest.
Quick update. I hope to have more pictures of the house build and of sweet bowser by the end of the week to share. Barbara was going to take more pics over the weekend. In the meantime, the brick is up, a third bedroom is being built, a carport is going in and a storm shelter will be installed. If all goes as planned, Barbara should be in the house before the end of the year.
I very much want to share my experience with Barbara, this fund's success and incredible community with other people interested in learning how to raise money through social media. I've submitted a talk at the prestigious South by Southwest (sxswi) in Austin, TX and humbly ask for your vote. Only the talks that receive the most "thumbs up" are invited to this event. My intention is to inspire you to make a difference and an impact in the lives of others. All you need is the passion for your cause, the willingness and ability to connect and the social tools to get you there. Link below where you can read more about the proposed talk and hit the thumbs up button if you feel so inclined.
I searched google maps today to see if there were any pictures of Barbara's house before the tornado. You can see her old home, and tour the entire street and extended area that was completely destroyed in the tornado here:
The good news is that the new home build is well underway! Will continue to share progress pictures as I receive them. Thank you again for all of your support, donations, emails, dog treats and general concern for Barbara and Bowser's well being. Barbara reads every single note and comment you post to this page and is feeling the love.
I'm an honorary Okie now and I couldn't be happier. Meeting Barbara and her family was such a bright spot last week. To finally give her a hug and let her know how many people are cheering her on was beyond words. Bowser is a bit more fearful of strangers now than he was before the storm. I buttered him up with a bone and he came around. That little love had no choice but to warm up to me. He is as sweet and as handsome in real life as he is in photos.
I also had the pleasure of meeting 5 donors on Saturday evening in Bricktown. Thank you Annette, Nancy, Dennis, Mary Ann and Jim for making the drive. If you ever need any help with your own fundraising campaigns, please let me know how I can pay it forward.
Wanted to quickly thank the legal team (Carrin and Simone) at Whitten Burrage Law Firm and Oklahoma Lawyers Care. They have been helping Barbara sort through the home re-build process and all that she will need to consider (taxes, insurance, etc.) Please visit their fanpage https://www.facebook.com/LawyersCare
and give them some love for their pro bono services. I highly recommend them to anyone who might need advice or assistance during the storm recovery and rebuild process.
The new house is still under construction but moving along. Will send more pictures soon when there's additional progress to report.
Guess where I am? Finally got to meet Barbara, Bowser and Jackie today! Overjoyed.
barbara says thanks.
erin and barbara
There will be a story on Minneapolis WCCO TV news at 5 Central today about this fund and my upcoming visit to meet Barbara and Bowser on Saturday. Will post a video as soon as I get the clip. Increased the goal to $75K in the hopes that we can raise a bit more for furnishings, INSURANCE and cover her tax bill for these donations.
Attn: Oklahoma City Donors
I'm coming into town! Let's meet this Saturday, July 27, at 4 PM. I owe you a beer and a hug.
One North Oklahoma Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
RSVP to email@example.com ASAP for final headcount.
See you soon!
I was sent some photos of Bowser today. Looking very handsome, I must say.
bowser says hello
Check out progress on THE HOUSE! Should be complete in a few weeks. Will send pictures when I'm in Oklahoma in just 8 days. And yes, will send pictures of Bowser, too. We know he has many fans.
Donors in Oklahoma,
Want to meet for lunch on July 27 and then take a look at the new home you helped to create? Email me and let me know if you'd like to join me, Barbara (and Bowser) and I'll make arrangements once I know how many of you plan to attend.
GUESS WHAT?! Home Depot called. They just donated a $5,000 GIFT CARD! AND they want to set up a day to come out to help with landscaping, painting, whatever Barbara needs.
(Kindly Repeat After Me, Oprah Style)
Five thousandddd dohhlaarrrrssss!
A District Manager named Jarrod in the Oklahoma City store coordinated the big gift with corporate in Atlanta. Three cheers for those orange aprons in ACTION. I think I need to audition for Extreme Makeover, the social media nerd edition.
Happy weekend, everyone.
THIS is what 1,550 strangers can do. Thought you'd all like to see what your donations have helped to create. The house is off the ground!
Barbara's new house in progress!
Just heard that the WALLS ARE UP on Barbara's new house! Can't wait to see it and share pictures with you when I'm there later this month. Think we can get this fund to $75K? With 10K more - we'll head to Home Depot to buy washer/dryer, stove, fridge and furnishings. I know many of you have already donated more than once. Kindly share with friends and maybe they can help us reach a new goal.
I'll be in Oklahoma on July 27 to see Barbara and her family! If you are a donor who lives in the OKC area, I would love to meet you, give you a hug and thank you personally for being a part of this incredible community. Feel free to message me directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Can we make it an even $64,000 donated? We're so close!
Just a reminder that any purchase of Bowser & Barbara shirts, dog tees, tags, etc will go directly into THIS fund. Shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/home4barbara
Happy 4th Everyone! Stay safe.
CBS Evening News is set to air another follow up on Barbara and Bowser (and our fund) TONIGHT. Try and tune in if you can! Barbara has developed a staff infection from all of the cuts she suffered last month and has been feeling under the weather as a result. She's now on very good and strong antibiotics and is on the mend. Her spirits are still very high, despite everything. Keep sending good thoughts her way. Bowser says hello, and he thanks you for all of the free treats.
Many of you have asked. If you'd like to send Barbara or Bowser a card or gift in the mail, please mail it to her daughter's address below. She will get all of your notes and packages.
(care of) Jackie Smith
10300 S. Klein Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73139
Scott at Southern Illinois Storm Shelters is a true hero. HE HAS AGREED TO BUILD BARBARA AND BOWSER A CUSTOM 4X6 STORM SHELTER (SAFE ROOM) FOR FREE. Normally - these cost around $6500 - $8500.
Saw that some of you left posts on their page asking for their help. They confirmed they would build this 30 minutes ago. Thank you so much for making this happen! Show them some love.
Now Bowsie and Barbara never have to worry about where to go in a storm again.
$500 until goal. Off to bed ... my toddler thinks 5:30 am is a perfectly normal time to rise and shine. Zzzzz.
Love & Gratitude,
SO close! The final $1,000 will be fun to count down. By Friday - I think we'll be at goal. Will pop a virtual bottle of champagne when we get there.
I've spoken with at least a dozen storm shelter companies over the last few weeks, looking for a free shelter for Barbara's new home, that is above ground she she does not have to climb down or up ladders. Free pet food for a year and vet care was much easier to find! These companies have been completely overwhelmed (and rightly so) with requests for free or deeply discounted shelters in and around Moore since May 20. Some families, as you know, were not as lucky as Barbara and Bowsie and lost loved ones. Talking with a company based in IL and their owner Scott, hoping they can come through for Barbara and Bowser. Let them know you'd like to see Bowsie in one of their shelters by posting a message here https://www.facebook.com/SouthernIllinoisStormShelters
Promise to get everyone's T-Shirt orders processed and delivered within the next few weeks. You can still order your Bowser and Schnauzer gear here - 100% of the proceeds will go towards the build. Ordering is just another way to make a donation. http://www.etsy.com/shop/Home4Barbara
Here is how you can get your Bowser and Schnauzer gear (for dogs) and humans too. 100% of the proceeds collected will benefit THIS fund. http://www.etsy.com/shop/Home4Barbara
Stay Calm and Bowser On,
Help Barbara and Bowser reach our $60,000 goal! Please take a few seconds to copy & paste this link on facebook, twitter or email it to friends. Let them know why you've donated and how they can take action as well.
Thank you again for all that you do,
The donation amount has gone down, due to a few people attempting to donate using credit cards that were declined. Wanted to keep you all updated as to why our overall goal number is going in the wrong direction! Still hopeful we'll meet our goal - one donation at a time.
Many of you know that Oklahoma was hit again by powerful storms and tornadoes on Friday night. Sadly, the storm caused flooding and extensive damage, with 9 known fatalities. Barbara and Bowser were not injured in the most recent storms.
I've been in contact with Keller Williams in Oklahoma City. They are putting together a fundraiser to try and raise another 50K through agents, builders, brokers and family members. I'm also speaking with various building companies in the Oklahoma City area, who have expressed interest in building Barbara a home at a reduced cost. As soon as I have more concrete information to share, I will send an update.
I think we can get to $60K raised over the next week. Kindly keep sharing the link and hopefully we can get there with your help. Will try to post another Barbara and Bowser video update this week as well.
Thank you again for all that you do,
We're more than halfway to our goal! Keep sharing the link to this page with friends on facebook and on twitter. I know that we can get to $100,000 if we each tell just five friends that we've donated.
"Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive ... then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
- Howard Thurman
Thanks for coming alive for Barbara and Bowser.
Received a note from MARS Petcare that I wanted to share with all of you. Yay for Cesar Canine Cuisine!
This CBS Live interview has captured the hearts of all of us at Banfield Pet Hospital and Mars Petcare US, makers of Cesar Canine Cuisine®. For the love they share, we join you in support and celebration of Barbara and her dog, Bowser.
Cesar Canine Cuisine® believes dogs are more than man's best friend. They are family. And Cesar Brand celebrates that love with a promise to love them back. Barbara Garcia is a shining example of the love we have for our dogs.
Barbara, Cesar® Brand is offering a year's supply of dog food for your schnauzer, Bowser.
Banfield Pet Hospital believes every family member deserves quality preventive care. That's why we created Optimum Wellness Plans®: our one-of-a-kind, comprehensive pet health care made to keep your pet their healthiest. When Bowser peeped out from below the rubble, he was visibly shaken by the experience. We want to ensure Bowser is at his optimum health for years to come.
Barbara, Banfield Pet Hospital is offering a one year, free wellness plan for Bowser.
We're almost at $50,000 raised! Fifty thousannndddd dollarrrssss! Incredible.
Please continue to share the link back to this page, so that we can find an angel or corporate sponsor willing to match donations made to date. We're one step closer to building a new home with every single donation. Many of you have emailed offering to help and I'm passing them on to Barbara and her family. There is a global pet food company interested in offering Bowser free food & vet care for a year. Hoping to be able to formally announce their participation soon.
Check out Barbara's story in the Huffington Post.
Barbara's daughter took this video on her iphone and sent it to me today. I wanted to share it with all of you.
Barbara and Bowser Update
Good morning! I plan to move the goal UP today to $100,000, in the hopes that a corporate sponsor or angel will match the funds donated. While $50,000 is a LOT of money, and incredible considering this began with a single post to my newsfeed, we need more than that to build a house for Barbara and Bowser. Please continue to share the link to this fund with friends on facebook or twitter if you can. Takes 2 seconds to copy and paste and can make a huge difference. Hoping to have an update video from Barbara and Jackie shortly, that I can share with all of you here.
You're amazing, every single one of you.
Look at what you've done! Barbara's story and THIS fund, featured in Huffington Post's Good News section today! YOU made it happen. Hundreds of you donating and sharing your stories. Thank you so much for getting involved.
We're still looking for a corporate sponsor who will match funds donated, so we can make the dream of building a new home for Barbara and Bowser a reality. Not only did Barbara lose her home, her daughter did as well. Given all of the recent coverage, I'm hopeful that the right company will find us and want to get involved.
Almost $34,000 raised. Will do my best to respond to every note and donation. We're reading them all and feeling the love.
If anyone knows how I can reach John Barrowman, I'd love to join forces. He's trying to help Barbara as well, and is not answering tweets or emails. https://twitter.com/Team_Barrowman
580 is my new favorite number. That's the number of individual donors who have, with their gifts both large and small, made it possible for us to reach the $25,000 mark in just a few days. Unbelievable. Together, you are dog lovers, mothers, fathers, grandparents, daughters, sons, families, widowers, friends, Okies, schnauzers and family members. I've received so many emails from all over the country, and from donors in Australia, the UK and Tanzania. One thing we all share - we were all moved, and searching for a way to lend a hand.
With your support, I know that we can make the dream of building a new home for Barbara and Bowser a reality. If each of the 580 inspires five friends to donate, we'll get there. Please share the link on facebook if you can. While you're there, please visit Barbara & Bowser's fanpage, started by her granddaughter Brooklyn.
Have a wonderful weekend,
Huge day today! Spoke with Barbara and her daughter Jackie earlier and they cannot believe the support that Barbara and Bowser are receiving. They are both doing well. It's truly been overwhelming and miraculous and they thank you profusely for sharing her story and donating.
Please continue to share the link to this page on facebook and twitter and who knows? Maybe we'll wind up on Ellen's couch and someone from Pedigree dog food will stroll on with a giant novelty check for $250,000. Dreams come true, good people like you make it possible. Keep dreaming and have a wonderful weekend.
Love and Gratitude,
I'm overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, donations, personal notes and stories about how much Barbara and Bowzer have moved you. We've raised almost EIGHT thousand dollars in a little over TWO days! How incredible is that? You amaze me and inspire me. The power of social media as a force for good is truly something to smile about today. Check out the video for the latest on Barbara and her family.
Update on Barbara and This Fund!
The CBS piece will air THIS MORNING on CBS THIS MORNING at 8 AM Eastern/7 AM Central. Please tune in to see an update and help get the word out.
Many of you have asked. If you want to write to Barbara or reach out directly, I have her address for her (old) house that was destroyed in the tornado. The USPS has assured me that all mail will be forwarded to her once she has a new or temporary address.
113 SW 8th St
Moore, OK 73160
Interview w Barbara Garcia and CBS news taking place at 3 EST today, via Skype! Will let everyone know when it's going to air. Please continue to share the link on your page and tweet it out if you can. More after the interview!
I am in contact with Barbara and her family. They are so thankful, humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness and generosity. Before the CBS piece aired, I didn't know Barbara Garcia personally, but was incredibly moved by her story and of her reunion with her sweet dog, captured on CBS news (live) after the Moore, Oklahoma tornado on May 20th. Barbara could have been my mother, my grandmother, my neighbor or my friend. I was shattered upon seeing her home destroyed, her recounting her experience and her joy upon seeing that her dog had survived it all. My goal is to ease her recovery, raise enough money to help her start to rebuild or relocate her life, and above all else, to show her that "life in the big city" also means helping one another, even from 1500 miles away.
Some people may feel more compelled to donate money directly to the Red Cross or local Salvation Army chapters, which I completely understand. I was inspired to create this fund so that I could impact one person's life directly and personally, just as she impacted mine. How amazing would it be if social media and the power of human empathy could help build her a new home? Barbara did not have homeowners insurance and is temporarily living with her daughter and her grandchildren.
If I can inspire you to donate $5, $10 or $25 to help Barbara begin to build a new home (complete with a dog house for her canine companion) I'd be eternally grateful and it will go a long way. If you are unable to donate, please share the link with friends via facebook and twitter and help us get the word out about Barbara's story. And "in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."
Let's show her what love and community is all about.
Erin DeRuggiero, Minneapolis, MN