A Chicago mother who has spent her time giving back to the community despite being furloughed from her job received the surprise of a lifetime as a recent guest on The Ellen Show.
Single mother Kelli Wright was furloughed from her job last year right around the same time her grandmother died. She was out of work for six months before finding a new job and worked odd jobs to make ends meet for herself and two children.
“I would say ‘Ok what bill is due this week?’ and I would go out make the money I needed for that particular bill,” Wright told NBC 5.
Throughout that stretch, Wright managed to stay afloat and do so while giving back to those in need.
“So I go out to different tent cities,” Wright said. “I go out there and I provide blankets, water, food, heaters, whatever they need. Everything I do is solely out of my pockets.”
Wright isn’t sure how Ellen DeGeneres heard of her story but was grateful for what happened during her and her two kids’ appearance via video chat on one of the show’s ’12 Days of Giveaways’ episodes.
“Kelli I know one of your favorite things about my show is when we surprise people so I want to surprise you right now,” Ellen told her.
That surprise included $10,000 as well as several thousand worth of gift cards to various stores like Amazon, Nordstrom and H&M.
“I’m going to take the Target, the Ace, the Amazon [gift cards] and get more heaters so I can go out there and make my rounds,” Wright said.
While Ellen was impressed with her determination to give back to those in need despite her own financial troubles, the effort also didn't seem to go unnoticed by Wright’s two children Christopher and Amiya.
“She’s such a hard working person and she’s so loving and caring,” Amiya said.