As I write this on a Sunday evening, I realize that it's been an exhausting week. We've been adjusting to living with our new guests, and to be honest with you—I've had to switch gears into practically a PR machine (which I have no training in). Before I go any further, I want to point you to a new "digital home" we've designed to provide updates from this point on. Called "Neighbors of Daniela" if you want to follow our story as it unfolds, please go here. I also created #Daniela on Twitter after the first few hours of the experience unfolded so you can track all kinds of perspectives here.
On that note, there are all kinds of attention being drawn to this including criticism. To say I knew what I was getting into would be inaccurate. My initial concerns were for the safety of my own family, not what the pundits have to say about this. So what I'd like you to know is that we've had a very emotional week—and are first and foremost grateful that WE ARE NOT ALONE in trying to help a family that needs it. I am not a fundraiser. I'm a dad, husband and full time employee—and an imperfect one at all three. Belinda and I decided not to sit this one out. It's really that simple. You will have to make up your own minds as to the rest.
Next, I'd like you to know that we are fully aware of the responsibility we have taken on, but also know that we are just digging out now. We know that a significant amount of money was raised (over 16k) and we are going to act as stewards of the funds YOU entrusted us with, stretching them as far as they will go in the not inexpensive near northern suburbs. This includes leaving funds aside for taxes etc. Because YOU have lightened the financial burden we were willing to take on, we are going to put some of our own funds toward a cause that I'm going to seek your guidance on. We are also going to let Chip In run it's course. I had no strategy in setting up the time frame of it aside from using the default setting. It ends on February 5th and we will NOT be asking for further donations (we stopped doing that at the 24th hour). If additional funds come in, it will be at the initiation of the donors and we will consider that as we look to give back to the community.
That's really about it. We know that the "miracle" part of this is now over and are working toward the realities of the next phase. This isn't a project or experiment—it's people's lives. Please remember that.
Thank you for the tremendous support you've shown for not just Daniela and her family, but ours as well. We hope we can return the favor through wise decisions as we move forward. We'll continue to need help from "the neighborhood' and we're proud to call you neighbors.