Craiglist ad sparks Christmas cheer

Published 10:18 pm Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mike Wade, who’s giving away a Walmart gift card for Christmas, said he’s a small businessman who wants to help a family in its time of need.

Mike Wade, who’s giving away a Walmart gift card for Christmas, said he’s a small businessman who wants to help a family in its time of need.

The opening sentence of the Craigslist ad read: “Hello. I am in need of girl’s clothes sizes 3-6 months and 6-8 youth.”

The writer had fallen on hard times after becoming a single mother of three, and also needed home items to help her start over, she wrote.

“I don’t have much but I can pay something if you are trying to get rid of things around the house. However donations would really, really help. So if you have anything you would like to get rid of, especially girl’s winter clothes, please email me and I can pick up asap.

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“Also if you have info on food banks in the area or other organizations that help, that would be helpful too. Thank you and be blessed.”

When he came across it, the ad made Suffolk small businessman Mike Wade think long and hard about folks who are having a tough time this Christmas.

“I emailed her and said, ‘I have a $25 Target gift card,’ and gave it to her,” he said.

Wade started Express PC Solutions, which several years later has two Suffolk locations, out of a trailer.

After talking to his fiancée, they decided to do more to help others in need this Christmas.

They’re giving away a $250 gift card to one family that can use it and inviting folks to contact them about prospective recipients.

They’ve chosen Walmart. Wade explained this would allow the family that receives the card to purchase both food and Christmas gifts.

“We can’t do a whole lot — we are just a small business — but we can help one family,” he said.

After talking to other small business owners, who he said loved the idea, Wade hopes to roll out the concept next year on a larger scale, depending on how it pans out this time around.

“Maybe we can do half a dozen gift cards next year,” he said, adding that interested business owners can contact him.

“I pretty much feel we are going to get swamped with emails, because of the fact that people need help. I get a feeling it’s going to be hard to read some of these emails. Especially if you have children, it’s tough.”

Wade said he often sets up payment plans for folks unable to pay after bringing a computer to be fixed. “I’m talking only a $100 bill,” he added.

To nominate a family, email its story to, or take a letter to 914 N. Main St. or 2108 Holland Road, by the end of Dec. 13, including full contact information for the family.

“Because I’m a naturally skeptical person and I see all these schemes online, this just stood out to me,” Wade said of the Craiglist ad that touched his heart.

“I read it a couple of times and it seemed 100-percent genuine. I emailed her right away, and she emailed me back in a couple of hours and said, ‘Any help would be great.”