Rae and Lloyd Marquis celebrated their 50th anniversary in a special way.

$50 sure can make a difference.

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Rae and Lloyd Marquis decided to celebrate their 50th anniversary by sending $50 to 50 family members and friends. But as they began sending the money, their list grew to 73 close friends. In total, they sent $3,650.

Rae had read a story about a woman who sent $20 to family and friends for her 80th birthday. She was inspired to do the same for her 50th anniversary to Lloyd.

“We were celebrating our 50th anniversary, we have done a lot of traveling,” Rae says. “We really didn’t want a party because that would only affect us, we weren’t planning on a trip.”

Along with the $50, the couple sent a letter explaining that they should use the money “for good” and a blank postcard. They hoped that their friends would write back detailing how they used the money.

“We are excited about this and hope you enjoy being a part of it,” the couple wrote in the letter. “This is our attempt to spread joy to our world and our family and friends.”

Rae and Lloyd met at an apartment dumpster in 1968. After meeting, the two went out for pie. Even though Rae liked her pie hot and Lloyd like his pie cold, the two were meant to be.

“Who thought a couple who met at the garbage can would end up together for 50 years?” Rae says.

Rae and Lloyd got married in 1970. They stood at the altar in crutches because of a minor motorcycle accident a few months before.

They lived in an apartment on Fitzhugh until 1976 when they moved to a home Lake Highlands. Rae and Lloyd are members of the Lake Highlands United Methodist Church.

Since sending the letter, the couple has received over 60 responses.

Friends and family have sent money to different food banks, nonprofits and organizations across the country, including Feed Lake Highlands, Forerunner Mentoring, Camp John Marc, Salvation Army, the Ronald McDonald House and Gateway of Grace.

Others have paid it forward to those affected by COVID-19, difficult circumstances or extenuating health problems.

“There were needs before COVID-19 hit, but I think COVID-19 opened up people’s hearts, eyes, minds and pocketbooks,” Rae says.

Beyond the $50 donations however, the couple has made a clear impact in their neighborhood. Many of their neighbors’ children even call them “Grandfriends.”

“It makes my heart swell,” Rae says.