Can one good deed spark another? Director and actor Tyler Perry is proving it can through his new youth initiative created alongside his upcoming film, "Good Deeds."
Partnering with GiftCardGiver.com, "Good Deeds" is looking to address the basic needs of thousands of homeless kids at Covenant House, a nonprofit organization providing food, shelter, immediate crisis care and essential services to "runaway, throwaway kids" through their recently launched "Good Deeds: Great Needs" program.
Good Deeds: Great Needs will be collecting unused gift cards from anyone willing to make a donation and give those collected gift cards to the Covenant House.
"Tyler Perry continues to be a real champion for our kids," said Kevin Ryan, president of the Covenant House, in a statement. "He is a star who believes in giving back, and because of that belief he is helping so many homeless kids find new hope and new futures."
Perry has been a long-time supporter of the organization, having previously provided a gift to help renovate the Covenant House Georgia crisis center and purchased a new outreach van to support street outreach efforts as well.
In addition to Perry's own partnership, Lionsgate, the leading independent filmed entertainment studio distributing Perry's new film, will also make a financial donation to Covenant House for every share of the "Good Deeds" trailer.
The goal of the campaign is to reach 500 shares. They are currently just past the halfway point.
"We're THRILLED to be a part of this!" the creators at GiftCardGiver.com revealed on their site. "We're planning a trip to the movies ... to watch the film, and we'd love for you to join us!"
Sometimes one good deed can change your world forever, the Good Deeds: Great Needs website says, outlining four easy steps to help do just that: watch, share, pledge, and send. In other words, all patrons have to do is watch the trailer, share it with friends, commit to helping, and send in their gift cards, used or unused.
When cards are sent to GiftCardGiver.com, volunteers collect the donated gift cards, organize them, and after obtaining a "reasonable mass of dollars in gift cards" ranging anywhere from $100-$500, they give those cards to the Covenant House.
In some cases, the organization also purchased the needed items themselves and delivered the gifts directly to the recipients depending on the person, project or organization.
The process is a simple yet very effective and creative way to meet felt needs all throughout the world.
Having started with $50 in gift card donations, GiftCardGiver has now grown to be a $60 billion industry through the help of everyday people.
"How many gift cards do you have sitting in your wallet?" the organization asks. "We guess you have at least $5 of unused gift cards right now. What's 5 bucks going to buy you? Maybe a pair of socks ... but 10 people giving 5 bucks will buy a kid a winter coat, or 1000 people giving $5 may give that same kid a warm bedroom to sleep in through the night."
Whether there is one dollar left on the gift card or $100, GiftCardGiver is willing to take all the donations and make it worthwhile for those in need, in this case, for the homeless youth at Covenant House.
"We are very grateful for [Perry's] partnership and to Lionsgate for supporting our kids," the Covenant House's president expressed.
As the leading advocate on behalf of street youth, Covenant House has been working beyond meeting basic needs for more than 40 years, striving to move each homeless youth forward down the path to an independent adulthood, free from the risk of future homelessness.
Their services include but are not limited to: medical care, job readiness and vocational training, drug abuse treatment and prevention, legal aid, mother and child services, transitional housing, and life-skills training.
Covenant House homeless shelter facilities are located all throughout the United States, Canada and Central America. Last year, the organization cared for more than 70,000 at-risk and homeless kids in 21 cities around the world.
Tyler Perry's "Good Deeds" opens in theaters everywhere on Feb. 24.
Perry himself will be starring in the film as Wesley Deeds, a successful and wealthy businessman who has always done what's expected of him until he meets Lindsey (Thandie Newton), a down-on-luck single mother who works on the cleaning crew in his office building.
When he offers to help her get back on her feet, his one good deed changes the course of his scripted life and finally gives him the courage to lead a life that he's always wanted.
The movie also stars Brian White, Rebecca Romijn, Jamie Kennedy, Eddie Cibrian, Gabrielle Union, Beverly Johnson, Jordenn Thompson, and Phylicia Rashad.
Perry, an outspoken devout Christian in the entertainment industry, will host a live chat about his upcoming film on Feb. 13.
To learn more about the Covenant House and their services, visit www.covenanthouse.org.