There is no doubt people and businesses have been left reeling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but after one Springfield resident saw a viral TikTok trend, she decided to do her part in helping heal the community.
After seeing a video about the Venmo Tip Challenge on her “For You Page” on TikTok, Amanda Fox was inspired to bring the challenge to Springfield.
The Venmo Tip Challenge was created by Lexy Bately, a popular TikTok user. Bately asked her 1.2 million followers to donate just 50 cents so she could leave a substantial tip for a restaurant server. Her donations quickly reached over $1,000, and she challenged other people to start their own donation process in their hometowns. This challenge quickly became known as the Venmo Tip Challenge and took TikTok by storm.
“I was so inspired after seeing how easily Lexy raised so much money,” Fox said. “Being a server myself, I felt for people who were struggling. It was hard. A lot of places shut down, and when we reopened, a lot of people were struggling with money, especially those who lost jobs or had their hours and pay cut. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to just give back to the community and make a difference in someone’s life.”
Fox initiated the challenge in September by posting on every social media account she has — Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok — explaining what the challenge was and asking for people to donate what they could, even if it was just 50 cents. For eight, straight weeks, Fox collected money for six days and donated each Sunday.
Fox set out with the goal to raise $200 each week. After eight weeks of challenges, she has reached that goal every time. Her most successful week raised $464 from over 100 people.
Fox credited her success to the willingness of her followers to have the heart to help, even in a small way. Fox said out of all the people who donate, about half will contribute week after week, including Paige Steele, an MSU graduate.
“I heard about Amanda’s challenge from a Facebook post she had made and decided to donate $5 each week,” Steele said. “I had made previous donations to other people’s challenges that I had seen on TikTok, but I thought that it would be special to donate to Amanda because we are in the same town and making a difference in someone’s life in our own community.”
When it comes to deciding who will be on the receiving end of the challenge, Fox said she relies on her Christian faith and power of prayer to lead her to the right person. Every week, Fox posts a video to her TikTok in which she surprises a server with the money raised. The sheer shock and thankfulness on each of the server’s faces is evident, and that is what encourages her followers to keep donating.
“The impact challenges like this can make on someone’s life is tremendous,” Steele said. “With COVID, people are losing their jobs left and right and doing whatever they can to make ends meet. I was a server for seven years, and it was always so meaningful to receive a tip from someone that was a little more, or a lot more, than you thought you were going to get. It makes a person feel special, I think, to know that someone was thinking about you and wanted to simply make your day without asking anything in return.”
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