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Secret Millionaire

Television | New ABC show where the wealthy go undercover in poor neighborhoods to find worthy causes on which to bestow their money

Issue: "Libyan exodus," March 26, 2011

In the wake of the success of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, ABC is set to try another show highlighting goodness and sacrifice. The American version of the British show Secret Millionaire, in which the wealthy go undercover in poor neighborhoods to find worthy causes on which to bestow their money, premiered March 6.

As it turns out, the unsung heroes we see helping their neighbors are much more interesting than the millionaires themselves. Dani Johnson, the first episode's millionaire, meets Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner during her stint in inner-city Knoxville. At 85, the twins are in their 24th year of serving the poor at "The Love Kitchen."

"The very first day I met Helen and Ellen," Johnson told WORLD, "I knew that they loved God and when I heard their testimony, I wept."

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Helen and Ellen now serve 2,000 meals a week, made, served, or delivered by volunteers and peppered with affectionate hugs from the twins. The ladies, who are African-American, credit their father with instilling the virtues they carry out. He taught: "There is but one father and that's the Heavenly Father. There is but one race and that's the human race. And don't take the last roll from the dinner table because you never know when someone will come along who's hungry."

Later episodes feature Marc Paskin, a real estate tycoon from San Diego, as well as other successful people. Each reveals his identity at the end of the episode and gives a check to the organizations or individuals with whom he has connected. However, the real impact isn't in the money, but in discovering the beauty in ordinary people. As Paskin tells a Detroit teenager who is learning a career and conquering alcohol despite her rough upbringing, "You're amazing."

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