I’ve spent a lot of time this past week thinking about how much I love Fargo.

Sure, it’s cold. And windy. And snowy. But the love that I have for Fargo lies in the heart of its people.

My work, gym, stores and church are all filled with people who greet me with sincere smiles. Even the people I don’t know seem to say with their eyes, “I am glad you are here.” I haven’t lived too many places, but I’m pretty sure it’s a gift to be surrounded by people who care.

Sometimes I wonder how long it would take to tell each of the people in Fargo who touch my life just how special they are to me. I started doing the math, and it got larger than my comprehension level very quickly. Let’s just say, if I thanked one person a day, I wouldn’t even be half-way through my list by this time next year. But since you’ve got to start somewhere, I’m going to begin by giving some long overdue high fives.

This Thursday is National High Five Day. Here in Fargo, thanks to the Lend a Hand organization, there will be a powerful opportunity to tell people how much we appreciate them.

Lend a Hand supports families in medical crisis by helping volunteers plan and market benefit events. The money those volunteers raise is matched by Dakota Medical Foundation, and 100 percent is distributed to the families in need.

Instead of loved ones having to “recreate the wheel” to put on a charity event, Lend a Hand walks them through the process. It’s really an amazing organization, not only because it helps to ease the financial burden of a medical crisis, but also because it reminds the families that they are cared for through the healing power of friendship.

Lend a Hand is raising funds for its families by taking a new spin on National High Five Day. It’s called Give a High $5 Day.

This Thursday, every gift of $5 or more made online to Lend A Hand will be matched by Dakota Medical Foundation and distributed to local families through the Lend A Hand giving fund.

Here’s the part I really love: with every donation, you can designate a high five honoree who will receive a “You have been high fived” e-card and video featuring community members demonstrating their best high fives.

It’s a pretty neat way to tell your friends you think they are special and to showcase how a little generosity can make a big difference.

If you’re wondering how much of a difference Lend a Hand makes in this community, let the numbers speak for themselves. Since the program started in 2008, more than $5.2 million has been donated to 225 families in medical crisis.

Think of how many more families will be helped because you chose to give a High $5.

I hope you’ll put it on your calendar and go online this Thursday to donate at www.impactgiveback.org. While you’re at your computer, visit www.dakmed.org/lendahand to meet some of the local families in need and learn about other ways you can support them.

Not many places can brag about a community-wide act of kindness like Give a High $5 Day. I think I’ll add it to the list of reasons I love Fargo.

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at nphillips15@hotmail.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.


Nicole Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo, and currently the Executive Director of Diva Connection Foundation. She is the mother of three kids and the wife of Bison Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday.