Nova Scotia

What's in that 'awesome' envelope? Free money to spend on someone else

Awesome Foundation hopes those who find envelopes of cash hidden around Antigonish, N.S., this Saturday will pay it forward.

Awesome Foundation hopes those who find envelopes of cash in Antigonish, Nova Scotia will pay it forward

Free money will be distributed throughout Antigonish, N.S., between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. this Saturday. (James Smeaton)

The goodwill will be flowing in Antigonish, N.S., this Saturday when members of the Awesome Foundation plan to hide envelopes full of cash around town in the hopes that residents will pay it forward.

Awesome Antigonish is the local branch of an international organization that provides small grants — no more than $1,000 each month — for unique community projects that wouldn't otherwise qualify for funding through more traditional sources.

Ten local trustees pay out of pocket to support the fund.

'Alice in Wonderland' vibe

James Smeaton, the "dean of awesome" for Awesome Antigonish, said the plan, which involves putting between $5 and $20 inside 155 pink envelopes and hiding them around town, has "an Alice in Wonderland kind of vibe to it."

"It's wide open what people want to do" with the money, Smeaton said, but the important thing is to "imagine how you can make somebody else's life a little bit nicer."

Last year's event, which was the first of its kind for Awesome Antigonish, led to some true acts of kindness, he told the CBC's Information Morning

Melissa Boudreau's family brought a rose, nail polish and a purse to a nursing home resident. Then they wrote letters to people in town. (Melissa Boudreau)

Gift for nursing home resident

A woman named Melissa Boudreau said in a Facebook post that she and her family decided to match the $5 they found to make $10. 

Then they bought a single red rose, picked up some unopened nail polish and an unused Vera Wang bag from home, and took the gift to a nursing home, where they asked to visit with a resident who doesn't get many visitors.

The resident "was thrilled," Boudreau wrote in her post. 

On the way home they bought some stamps and proceeded to write letters to four people from town to "tell them why they're awesome," she added.

Margaret MacIsaac says her grandnephew used the money he found to buy lunch for a stranger at McDonald's. (Margaret MacIsaac)

Lunch for a stranger

Margaret MacIsaac posted on Facebook to say her grandnephew used the money he found to buy lunch for a stranger at McDonald's.

Eileen Grant said in an email that she found $30 in an envelope and passed the money along to the relatives of a local high school student who had died suddenly, to help cover funeral expenses.

Others wrote to say they handed the money to strangers on the street, or donated it to various local charities.

This year, the money will be distributed between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday on James Street, Main Street, in the Antigonish Market Square and on the St. Francis Xavier University campus.

Shane MacIntosh used the $5 to buy coffee for him and a friend. (Shane MacIntosh)

With files from the CBC's Information Morning