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Anonymous donor mailing $50 and $100 cash gifts to Minnesotans hurt by COVID-19

"I cried," said one recipient who found a card and money in her mailbox.

GLENCOE, Minn. — Rain dripped down upon Skyler Johnson Wednesday as she stood in her front yard under an umbrella. 

Days earlier, just steps away, Skyler opened her mailbox and found sunshine.

“I cried,” the Glencoe resident says.

The envelope was postmarked St. Paul. Skyler found a $50 bill tucked inside a card and a note that read, “I’m sorry the government has a terrible pandemic response plan. Here’s a little something to make up for your losses.”

The anonymous writer signed the card, “Love, a friend.”

The card arrived as COVID-19 was turning Skyler’s life upside down.

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She was being laid off from her part-time nanny job and her in-home cottage baking business was quickly drying up.

“All of my orders have cancelled,” Skyler says. “Nobody’s having birthday parties, nobody’s having weddings.”

At that moment, the note in her mailbox couldn’t have meant more.

“It’s just $50, but next week it could be putting food on our table for our kids,” Skyler says.

But she’s left with a question. “Who did it?  Who was kind enough to just do something like this?”

In Norwood-Young America, it’s a question Arielle and Jeremy Brandenburg are asking too.

On Monday, Arielle went to the mailbox and found the same anonymous note with $50 tucked inside.

“It was bills, bills, bills and then this,” Arielle says.

Arielle’s note arrived as the phone had gone silent on Jeremy’s tile setting business.  

“That’s definitely help with some groceries,” he says.

To Arielle, the anonymous note and $50 provide a good dose of perspective.

“You hear about people at the grocery story fighting over toilet paper and then you get a card like this in the mail,” she says.

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The same card arrived in Bloomington at the home of Rana Leonhardi.

One difference.

“They actually sent us $100,” she says, holding up a crisp new Benjamin.

Rana, who doesn’t know the other families, is married to an executive chef just laid off from his job.

She, too, is puzzled by who might have sent it.

“I don’t know,” she says. “Little miracle worker I guess.”

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