"I wrote 63 songs this year. They're all about Jeter." Just kidding. The game we love, the players we hate, and more.

Culture and Criticism

From Norman Mailer to Wendy Pepper — everything on film, TV, books, music, and snacks (shut up, raisins), plus the Girls' Bike Club.

Donors Choose and Contests

Helping public schools, winning prizes, sending a crazy lady in a tomato costume out in public.

Stories, True and Otherwise

Monologues, travelogues, fiction, and fart humor. And hens. Don't forget the hens.

The Vine

The Tomato Nation advice column addresses your questions on etiquette, grammar, romance, and pet misbehavior. Ask The Readers about books or fashion today!

Home » Donors Choose and Contests

O say does that seed-spangled banner yet waaaaaaave

Submitted by on October 31, 2008 – 6:25 PM25 Comments

…O'er the land of the freeeeeee

and the home of THE AWESOME.

$111,352 dollars raised, 1162 donors participating, and 19,577 children reached.

I must tell you that I did not know for sure it could be done. I thought it could be done; I had seen you do things before that I almost could not believe, and I knew better than to bet against you. I could only hope.

Hope is what you give these kids, these teachers and schools. It's not about the crayons or the turtles or the overhead projectors; they need those things, but mostly they need to know people give a damn. At least a little suck into every life must fall, but the worst part of any suck is thinking that no one cares, that you'll have to live with it on your own. One of the sweetest phrases in English, after "I love you" and "open bar," is "damn, that does suck," coupled with a pat on the shoulder. It lets you keep going.

That did suck. Now it doesn't. Y'all gave six figures of damn (…good band name; quick, somebody steal it) so that enough kids to repopulate my entire hometown could get supplies they needed, and would not lose hope.

Next time you lose hope, come back here and remember how it's done. I know I will.

End sentiment; begin loot! I need to take a day and do little things like dishes and sleeping and catching up on Top Model, but I will begin the prizing shortly, and as soon as I know something about southbound tomato action, I will tell you.

Be Sociable, Share!



  • Academic says:

    QUE FIREWORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is SO awesome!!!!

  • Jean from NY says:

    We did it! The Tomato Nation is Awesome. I had only planned to give $10. I've been out of work for over a year and my husband lost his job of 17 years and now is working somewhere at half his former salary. We aren't even giving out candy for Halloween tonight because the budget is that tight. But…. I gave $10 and then I saw some more projects and I gave a little more and then a little more. We're going to be eating scrambled eggs for dinner a few times a week for a little longer but it is soooo worth it.
    I tell you, this awesomeness is addictive or contageous or something. But damn I feel good and am so excited that we covered every single damn project in the challange.

  • Bo says:

    Last night I came on to give my last installment (third payday in October) and discovered my ATM card was missing. Gulp. Fortunately this morning when I stopped at the bank, my ATM card was safely inside the ATM, where it had been slurped back in when I didn't take it out. No harm done. Except here I am, and there you are. All done! GOOD WORK EVERYONE!

    And I'll find someone who needs the little bit more I have to give. It just won't come with tomatoes.

  • Heather says:

    (sniff) I salute the flag of the great Tomato Nation.

  • KLM says:

    Awwwww. *snif* You all — we all! — rock.

  • Grace says:

    Sars, how amazing that you've inspired us to give so much!

    I give regularly to Donors Choose (yes, even when you're not asking us to), but I always plan to make a donation in October, when you do your drive. I doubt I would know about them without your efforts.

  • Jess says:

    Take that, stupid economy! Times might be tough, but Tomato Nation is tougher. Enjoy all your awesome new stuff, kids!

  • Hollie says:

    Thanks, Sarah. It's nice to be reminded of that. And thank you, because you brought us all together. These days united even a handful of people is almost as (maybe more) difficult than raising "six figures of damn," and you brought 1162 people together. An annual reminder that people don't always suck is something we should thank YOU for, President of Awesome Nation!

  • Maria says:

    "Southbound Tomato Action," the debut album from alt-country rock group Six Figures of Damn.

    First single? "So Much Awesome You'll Cry."

  • camelama says:

    Huzzah Tomato Nation!

    Huzzah Donors Choose!


  • Miri says:

    Wow. I wasn't sure those last bits were going to get wiped up but they did! Nation of Awesome!

  • Jenno says:

    We came. We gave. We rocked!

  • Kymster says:

    Wooooooooooo-Hooooooooooooooooo!!!!! I'm amazed, astounded, awed, and all smiles!

    Congrats to you Sars, for rallying all your readers, and congrats TN readers, for giving and making a difference.

  • Sarah G. says:

    Ye haaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Shannon in CA says:

    @Jenno: "We came. We gave. We rocked!" I think the Official Traveling Tomato Entourage needs that on T-Shirts!

  • Jen S says:

    My allergies are playing up again *snurf*

    Jean from NY, you are a new hero of mine. If you're ever in Seattle, breakfast is on me.

  • Jennifer says:

    Yay! We are a pretty AWESOME group. Thanks Sarah for putting this all together and to the rest of us for making the awesome even more awesome.

  • ferretrick says:

    Note to our beloved President: THIS is what no child left behind looks like.

  • JeniMull says:

    I am truly proud to be part of this group. If I ever run into any of you, and we somehow figure out we are TN/DC devotees – well, I am just going to hug you. So there.

  • Heather says:

    @Shannon: You know, that slogan on a jazzy new Nation of Awesome shirt might sell to a few people…just a thought….

  • Melanie says:

    @ferretrick: so very true. Damn dusty room.

    I am… words cannot express my pride at being involved in this. Sars, you are a true hero. Not only for all the kids whose lives you've touched, or the $110,000+ difference you have helped make in so many lives… for the fact that you have made me so proud to be me.

    Thank you.

  • stormy says:

    Woo, we rock!

    Oh, and Sars, I can do you one better: That's enough kids to repopulate all three of the towns I grew up in.

  • Sandman says:

    "'Southbound Tomato Action,' the debut album from alt-country rock group Six Figures of Damn.

    First single? 'So Much Awesome You'll Cry.'"

    I'm totally buying that album.

  • Princesslola says:

    This is how we get things done. This is it. We have the opportunity to change how this country runs in 2 short days. Vote! And then maybe we'll have to tackle something other than basic school funding.

    Maybe next time we can take on health care, or cancer research, or anything. We are mighty. Go Tomato Nation

  • […] me leave you with these inspiring words from Tomato Nation, explaining just what kind of difference it all made to public school kiddos: […]

Leave a comment!

Please familiarize yourself with the Tomato Nation commenting policy before posting.
It is in the FAQ. Thanks, friend.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>