Gifts given for no reason focus of The Sussy Project

Woman organizes giving group

INDIANAPOLIS - Ever heard of a sussy? A sussy is a gift given for no reason.

If you haven't heard of this until now, you're not alone. In fact, the founder of The Sussy Project hadn’t heard about the idea until 10 years ago.

"It's not universally known, but hopefully that's something The Sussy Project can change," said Meggie Dials, who runs the project from her dining room in Indianapolis.

It takes a lot of time to organize, but it’s not her full-time job.

Dials works for ExactTarget, traveling across the country to meet with clients. However, at the end of the day when she checks her email, there's always a smile on her face.

"It's changed my perspective on a lot of things," she said. "I'm working and I check my email to see one of these nominations. No matter how bad my day was, it's typically not as bad as what I'm hearing from some of these people.”

How does it work?

First, Dials accepts nominations. They've come from as far away as Croatia, but most of the nominations come from the Midwest region.

Dials' "Sussy Squad" reads through the nominations and picks deserving people, though she admits at this point anyone who is nominated is chosen, and buys a small gift to put in the mail. A group of 30 volunteers back this project.

"We're not changing the world $20 at a time, but we're making people smile $20 at a time,” Dials said.

The $20 gifts have ranged from spa gift cards to cupcakes and flowers. The Sussy Squad chooses whatever gift would make the day of the person nominated.

"These can be people that work really hard at their job. They might have gone through some tragic loss. They might have lost, it's anything. We've seen just about everything,” Dials said.

Usually, sussies are mailed, but once in a while, Dials is able to visit the recipient in person.

RTV6 tags along for a sussy

Peggy Barnes was the recipient of a recent sussy. Her friend nominated her for resiliency and selflessness.

Dials read the nomination letter.

"She's managed to put her head down and get through all the curveballs life has handed her and still have time for everybody," Dials read.

Barnes was shocked when Dials showed up at her work with a gift in hand and TV crew in tow. In the end, her smile and gratitude told the whole story.

"I like the formalness, that you can actually dedicate it to somebody, so I will absolutely pay it forward,” Barnes said.

The Sussy Project has a simple concept: honor someone with love, just because.

"Who wouldn't love to be surprised by kindness and say, 'Someone else thought of me,' and they didn't just think of me, they took the time to act," Dials explained.

Dials asks all of her sussy recipients to share their experiences on her blog. Read them here: http://thesussyproject.com/2013/06/

Until recently, The Sussy Project has been funded by Dials alone, adding up to a lot of $20 gifts.

She recently set up a sponsor program -- http://thesussyproject.com/sponsor-a-sussy/

Eventually, Dials would like The Sussy Project to become a nonprofit organization.

Nominate someone: http://thesussyproject.com/nominate-someone-as-a-recipient/

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