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Oprah VW Beetle winners pay it forward

Oprah 2012 VW Beetle winners are returning to Chicago to donate their time and services to two very worthwhile organizations.

If you’ve seen the move, “Pay it Forward” starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, you know what the concept of pay it forward means. That’s exactly what a dedicated group of Oprah Beetle winners are doing when they return to Chicago this weekend. You may remember when Oprah gave away 315, 2012 Volkswagen Beetles to the surprised recipients on the “Ultimate Favorite Things” episode of the “Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2010. Sixty of those 2012 VW Beetle winners are returning to Chicago to donate their time and services to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.

The group will return to the city where they received the keys to their new Volkswagen Beetles and “pay it forward” just like in the movie. In the film that came out in 2000, the young boy named Trevor, starts a chain reaction of goodness for his social studies project with the goal of creating a global outpouring of kindness and decency. Now the tightly knit group of of Beetle owners who stay connected via facebook, will take the good fortune they received and collectively pay it forward.

The recipients of the Oprah Beetle giveaway have never forgotten how it touched them. Kristy Cikowski, 2012 Beetle recipient and teacher at River Valley School in Lemont, IL. said, “The Volkswagen Beetle arrived during an especially trying time for many of us,” “We may not be able to donate a car or a million dollars, but we can donate our time and our smiles to some of those people who are struggling out there. As a group, we understand just how touching it can be when somebody lends you a hand.”

This week, the thankful group will load care packages into the VW Beetles and haul them to the oncology wing of Lurie Children’s Hospital for a pajama party for the kids. After delivering the gifts, the volunteers will help the kids decorate pillowcases, play board games, and read them stories.

The “pay it forward” random acts of kindness will continue as the volunteers deliver needed supplies to the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. They will deliver everything from toothpaste to winter hats to the recovering vets. After the two organizations are served, the volunteers will divide up into smaller groups to “pay it forward” to unsuspecting recipients throughout the Windy City.

Volkswagen of America has been touched by the volunteers giving spirit and will donate $2500 each to Lurie Children’s and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. Just when you think our world is going to the dogs, a story like this renews our hope in the goodness and kindness of people. Now let the rest of us show this kind of “pay it forward” spirit also. All of us have received more than we deserve.