What is Present from a Stranger?
Just before Christmas, hand painted Christmas cards are handed out to strangers on the street with money in them - a present from a stranger.
Card handed out in 2015 -
Why am I doing this?
To make strangers smile!
Imagine how you would feel if someone handed you a card on the street with a present of money in it, for you to use however you like?
"Thank you for the fifty pence present in the beautiful card. It was handed to me by my boss the manager of a Mind shop, she said "I think this should be for you". I am a volunteer who lives on benefits and was sent to work at Mind by the Jobcentre. I bought a pincushion from the Mind shop as my present, it is pretty, red velvet and satin with sequins. I need a pincushion because I spend a lot of time making dollies clothes for my grandchildren. The fifty pence will go toward Mind projects in Eden such as "The Befriending project" organising volunteers to help people with mental health problems, also to pay for information leaflets we keep in the shop about different mental health issues. So the answer to your question "Did it make me smile?" Yes, and there’s a good chance it will help many others smile in the future.
Merry Christmas, Happy New year." - Recipient of Present from a Stranger 2015
This man was handed a card the first year I did Present from a Stranger, he came back down the street to tell me that this was the nicest thing he had received.
Why am I crowdfunding?
Each year I have been increasing the amount of cards and the amount of money in the each one. They started with 50p each, then £1 then £2.
This year it would be amazing to put an amount in the cards which could really help someone.
I am hoping to hand out cards with a minimum of £20 in.
The more money I raise with this crowdfunder the more cards I can hand out with larger sums of money in!
Why do I feel this is an important project?
Everybody has their own battles, concerns and problems to overcome, whether you know it or not.
Everybody can benefit from genuine kindness from a stranger.
These cards have meant different things to different people, they have made peoples days, they have given people the opportunity to help a charity close their hearts and they have reminded people that their is kindness in the world and have inspired them to be kind themselves.
Below are some of the responses I have already had from the cards.
"Happy New Year,
A year ago you stood in Penrith handing out Christmas Cards and gave one to me which made me smile. It may have felt like a little token of spreading Christmas cheer, an act of kindness or simply a way of satisfying your own curiosity but your one pound coin has turned into so much more for me. Here's the story...
A year ago my long term partner and best friend left me. He is a good man, just didn't love me anymore. It wasn't an easy decision for him but broke my heart all the same. So when I say your card made me smile you may now see that smiles were in short supply at the time.
I thought long and hard about how to spend your one pound and it has sat on my mantlepiece all this time. In a move round this Christmas I found your card (which had been misplaced) and again it made me smile. Without meaning to your one pound coin has become a little reminder that there is kindness in the world, it reminds me everyday to be a good person and not to let life's ups and downs make me bitter. It's my little coin of sunshine and hope.
For that reason your pound coin will never get spent it will stay with me until someone I care about needs it more than me at which point I will pass it on with your card and a story.
Thank you for your gift, I love it and have probably needed it over the past year.
I'm sorry it's taken a year to let you know what happened to it but I guess it has taken me a year to work it out!
May your 2016 sparkle for you!
"Hi, just to let you know I donated the £1 to the victims of the Cumbria flooding - I thought it fitting to support a good local cause,
"Hi, thank you very much for the card only just opened it as I left it on the side didn't expect it to be the nice card it was. A lovely gesture bet not many people opened it cos people don't seem to care these days. have a lovely Christmas Katarina"
Thanks for your card, it made me smile.
My Dad got a card too. We put ours on the lucky dip lottery on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, we didn't win any cash!
I hope you had a lovely Christmas and all the best for 2015.
What happens once the money is raised?
I will hand paint the cards, the money will be attached and a message written inside, something like -
As you can see, I have attached money to this card. This is yours, a present from me/us to you for you to use any way you wish.
This is in the hope that it will make you smile.
I/We hope you enjoy your present from a stranger and enjoy the festive period!
All the very best"
I will be handing the cards out on Saturday 23rd December, I would love it if you would like to help me hand them out. If you would like to, please get in touch and I will let you know where in Cumbria, and what time I plan to hand them out.
Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If any of the strangers get in touch after receiving their card I will post their message online.
Thank you for considering helping this project, please get in touch if you would like more information or would like to get involved.
All the very best,
Further Information about me.
Hi, I am a multidisciplinary artist who predominantly creates installations and watercolour paintings. My work mainly focuses social issues I am passionate about with the hope of inspiring change.
I am inspired by people, by their thoughts, stories and the things they choose to keep. I take a lot of pleasure in encouraging others to create as I enjoy watching the creative process and discovering people’s personalities and stories through their art.
My previous work has included an installation called Project Mayfly - an installation of hundreds of card mayflies created by the pubic, each inspired by something they cherish and an installation called Farm? which was about intensive factory pig farming and consisted of 1023 pig sculptures.
More information can be found on my website - www.katarinaprior.com