Murphy, Texas, 24 December 2015 | 07:00 AM America/Chicago “Virtual” Network Delivers “Real” World Christmas Miracle Residents of Murphy, Texas log onto Facebook for the same reasons as millions of others across the country – for entertainment, gossip, conversation and to share news big and small. But what makes one group of women in this Dallas suburb stand out is they’ve also tapped the power of social media to help their real-world neighbors. From helping families in need to sock drives for the homeless, they have made a major impact in the lives of hundreds of deserving people. Coining themselves the Moms of Murphy (MoMs), the secret Facebook group was started in August 2012 by Hedy Berg as a hyper local buy/sell site. A short while later, Hedy connected with a fellow photographer, Sarah Toth who became the second admin for the page. With Sarah taking on a leadership role, the focus of the group shifted as well. In addition to its buy/sell origins, the group began to focus on networking and philanthropy. “It’s not all about selling baby clothes anymore. People are so eager to be a part of the group now. We had to limit membership to Murphy residents only,” shared Sarah. All through online organizing, Moms of Murphy have held several drives and craft fairs to help those less fortune. Recently they held a sock drive. “We learned the most needed but least donated item in shelters were socks. So we pulled together and donated more than 2500 pairs of socks to area shelters,” said Sarah. In 2013, Sarah had an idea to take their positive impact via social media even further. “We have a community that is very giving and has the ability to do so,” Sarah said. “So, let’s give someone a great Christmas; let’s bless a family.” Since the initial idea, every holiday season, the MoMs “Bless a Family” with a connection to Murphy. The first year, they helped two families who were in dire need of help. One Garland, TX family was led by a grandma raising her deceased daughter’s three children. The MoMs gave them a memorable Christmas and even paid for daycare for the two younger children for five months. All through networking and organizing via the Facebook group, the MoMs were able to turn the family’s water back on and fill their house with much needed furniture, groceries and Christmas presents. In 2014, the MoMs selected the Mullen family. The parents of three children both had stage four cancer. The MoMs went above and beyond for the Mullen family by paying several months of their mortgage, donating and buying children’s furniture and clothes, and cleaning out and re-organized the garage and pantry, ultimately stocking both with groceries. “It all came from the MOMs and our connections. Sadly, Dwayne Mullen, lost his battle with cancer in March 2015. We still help out the family with meals and other things as needed,” shared Sarah. Throughout the year they adopt “mini-bless a families.” Recently the home of a family member of a MoM was hit by a tornado and another local family had a house fire. The MoMs stepped up to help. What the MoMs are doing has grabbed national news attention., but they are humble and continue with their good works. This year, through a new application process, the MoMs picked a family from neighboring city Sachse with ties to Murphy to bless this holiday season. Mom Kristina has breast cancer and the financial and caretaking impacts of the disease have hit the family hard. The MoMs came together and have been able to grant the family almost everything on their Christmas lists, something the family will NOT be expecting on Christmas morning. The MoM who nominated them, Shari, was even able to take the girls on a shopping spree to get some wardrobe essentials, thanks to the money raised at the MoMs November Craft Fair and other generous contributions by members of the group. “We have been able to take some of the stress out of the holiday season,” said Sarah. “Not only from a financial standpoint, but physically having to worry about shopping for the three children, wrapping gifts and all the details that go into making a holiday great.” Kristina finished her last round of chemotherapy in mid-December and was thrilled to “ring the bell” which indicates the official end of her chemo treatment. To date, the group has more than 1700 members, several who work for State Farm. State Farm is one of the larger employers in the Dallas area, with approximately 7,000 employees. Jodi Wooten, is one of those MoM/employees. “Being a part of the MoMs of Murphy is a natural extension of being a State Farm employee,” shared Jodi. “Both my company and my Facebook community really believe in giving back and serving.” “The Bless a Family events are an outcome of Sarah’s great idea but that’s the great thing about the group - someone brings up an idea and then says, ‘Hey would you like to join me and make this happen in our community?’ The power of social media to do good is amazing,” shared Jodi. The MOMs encourage other towns and Facebook groups to take the initiative and make a difference year-round! Look for opportunities right around you – you can also make the most impact on your immediate neighbors. Whether it’s donating socks for the homeless, taking a meal to someone in need or organizing a charity event – it will make a difference!