Lifestyle & Human Interest

'Simplified' Founder Rallies Online Community to Pay Off Local Food Bank's Mortgage


The holidays are a time when many reach into their pockets to give and serve the community around them. Emily Ley was no exception and found a way to use her social media platform to help the people of Pensacola, Florida.

Ley is the founder of “Simplified,” an organizational tool she launched in 2011 that has since become so successful, it’s now being sold nationwide by major retailers such as Target, Walmart and Amazon.

This holiday season, though, Ley wanted to be of service and show her children how to serve, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

So she and her children donated to Epps Christian Center, a Pensacola organization that works to feed the hungry.

Ley’s kids pooled the money that they received for chores and donated $98. Ley herself decided to pitch in $1,000 from her company. They also decided to help hand out Thanksgiving meals on Nov. 20, as part of the center’s annual work to get more than 600 families in Pensacola a Thanksgiving meal, as the Pensacola News Journal reported.

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Epps Christian Center is run by pastor Sylvia Tisdale, and when Ley met her, she was struck by Tisdale’s care for all those around her. So Ley found herself trying to think of ways that she could help the center and Tisdale in even bigger ways.

“There’s one thing that she told me while we were there. She said that feeding people and giving them a full tummy, it just makes them know that they’re cared for,” Ley told the Pensacola News Journal.

“She says, ‘If you show up at my door and say you’re hungry, I will feed you. That is it.’ I just thought that was really cool,” Ley added.

Ley thought about the different ways that money could be freed up for the center so that it could feed even more people. She considered how the monthly mortgage for the center’s facility was an extra burden, how they needed more equipment for food and that spurred her to start planning.

Ley’s Simplified brand and business have given her a large social media following. Her Instagram account has hundreds of thousands of followers.

So she urged her followers to donate to the good work that Tisdale was doing, and linked her Venmo account so that anyone could donate to Tisdale’s service.

When Ley met with Tisdale to tell her about the donations, $25,000 had already been raised, from Ley’s followers around the world.

“$27,000 and counting raised for Epps Christian Center in Pensacola, as they feed and empower those in great need,” Ley wrote on Facebook. “It is REMARKABLE what we can do when we join together.”

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Over the following week, they reached $35,000. This has allowed the Epps Christian Center to get more equipment for its food preparation.

Now Ley is hoping to help Tisdale pay off the center’s $50,000 mortgage payment, so the new goal is $66,000.

“I’m overwhelmed that Emily saw something in me and in what we do to be led to say, ‘I’m gonna help her,'” Tisdale told the Pensacola News Journal.

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