May 14, 2014 at 6:16 PM ET
Most flash mobs include a group of people who gather in a public space and spontaneously perform with music and dance. Such outward displays of letting go and living freely are what inspired author and speaker Glennon Doyle Melton to do her own version — a Love Flash Mob — in an effort to raise money and awareness for five families devastated by cancer.
With the Love Flash Mob, Melton created a unique, viral social media outreach to followers of her blog and online community, Momastery.com, asking them to help raise a goal of $100,000, which would be distributed to the families of the five women in need. As of press time, Melton said $90,000 had been raised and posted the Facebook update: “YOU ARE PROVING THAT CANCER DOESN'T WIN, LOVE WINS. We are close, friends. Keep Sharing, Keep Giving, Keep Tagging and Tweeting because all of that IS LOVE.”
Melton believes using a flash mob to do good is simply a metaphor for life. “It’s like everyone wants to be free and dance and do their thing, but it takes one crazy fool to stand up and do it and then people just start joining in. It becomes this big, beautiful expression of love. That’s the same thing these Love Flash Mobs are all about.”
Melton’s nonprofit organization, Monkee See — Monkee Do, held its first Love Flash Mob in 2012 after she received an email about a mother who was terminally ill and had never been on vacation with her family.
“Her sister said, ‘She just doesn’t have much time left, and I want her to get to see her kids’ toes in the sand,’” said Melton. “I thought to myself, ‘What other possible use of social media is there? What could I use this platform, the blog, my 15 minutes of fame for that could be more important than this?’”
Melton’s organization donated more than $25,000 to that first family, sending them on the vacation of a lifetime. Since then, four Love Flash Mobs have been a success — paying for everything from utility bills and diapers, to vans for sick mothers who need help transporting their families — with the fifth and largest taking place today.
The recipients of today’s Love Flash Mob have varying needs. Donations will go toward helping the daughter of a mom who died of cancer, assisting with a mortgage, providing financial assistance for innovative treatments and sending one family to the beach for a final vacation. Melton describes all of their stories on Momastery.com.
The connection between each of them is, according to Melton, that small things done with great love can change everything for a person.
The “small things” asked of Momastery readers and followers? A donation of no greater than $25.
“Giving is not just for wealthy people,” said Melton. “Sometimes people don’t realize how much of a difference a small offering can make. These donations are for the people who receive them, but they’re also for the giver. No one person can sweep in and save the day. No one person can fix this. With average donations of $17, we have raised over $90,000 in six hours. We can do hard things when we depend on each other.”
Melton says the Love Flash Mob would never work without the help and participation of the organization’s volunteers, who she affectionately calls “Monkees.”
“We are so grateful to the Mommas who had the courage to step up and ask for help,” said Melton. “Without them — without their bravery — we wouldn’t get this chance to be reminded of what really matters. You can get so busy with your own life — this kind of thing allows you to see what happens when strangers come together to take care of each other.”