When I first read about Ann Curry’s mission to start a “26 Acts of Kindness” campaign in memory of each one of the 26 children and teachers killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School is Newtown, CT, I was inspired. I figured since I’d just done a couple of good acts a couple weeks before that I could lump them in, in case I couldn’t think of enough. I planned out this first week, and was excited to have so many “down.” Then, I realized I had more ideas than days in the week — and it hit me: why not make it 365 Days of Kindness?
We should do one small “good deed” – big or small – each day of the year. I’m going to strive to!
Is it holding a door for a stranger? Buying a homeless man a meal? Donating to a charity? Visitng with a sick friend or relative? Whatever it is — do it! You’ll feel SO MUCH BETTER about your day, your life, and yourself.
I’m going to keep this as an online journal, of sorts, to hold myself accountable, and, each day, list my acts of kindness. Hopefully, I will reach 365 — or even more — and if everyone practiced this, not just at the holiday season or in the face of tragedy, wouldn’t the world, perhaps, be a better place?
1. Sent gifts including a matching friendship bracelet to sponsor child, Awa, in Africa. I wear the bracelet every day, 24/7, and whenever I glance down at it, I say a prayer for her, her region, and her loved ones, and also take a moment to reflect on how grateful I am. We have so much compared to so many others around the world.
2. Visited an elderly patient, Elvira, in a nursing home. Gave her Christmas presents through St. Barnabus Presents for Patients.
3. Chose a dog – Brownie Boy – off of an “angel tree” and donated $5 and a dog toy to Animal Friends in his name.
4. Took cupcakes to the teachers and staff at Aiken Elementary School, where my husband teaches. Included a card explaining that, in the light of the Newtown tragedy, we were reminded that teachers are heroes, but, truly, they are angels every single day.
5. Sent sympathy cards to Newtown, CT school & community.
6. Sent card to an 87-year-old woman named Patsy, in New York, who collected greeting cards for years, but lost them all in Hurricane Sandy. Reminded her that while the cards were lost, that she still had the memories, and room in her heart to create new ones, too.
7. Sent one of my best friends, Val, flowers, just because she deserves them.
8. Bought a stranger a coffee at Starbucks. (Well, specifically, bought him a $5 gift card to use towards whatever he was ordering. In turn, he gave the remainder of it to the woman behind him, paying it forward!)
9. Sent a get-well card and an angel pin to a friend’s mom who underwent surgery. Also lit a prayer candle for her at church.
10. Sent a friend who is undergoing chemo for ovarian cancer a cute, warm, hat as she shaves her head this weekend.
11. Put a “Christmas goodie bag” in our mailbox for the mailman.
12. Donated to an “abuse an animal, go to jail” campaign. (Animal Legal Defense Fund)
13. Visited patients at the NHS Allegheny Valley School and distributed Christmas gifts with the Lions Club.
14. My mom & I drove around and handed out poinsettias to completely random strangers.
15. Made an anonymous “Merry Christmas” card and left it on a table at church during Christmas Eve mass, for whoever picked it up. (And someone did!)
16. Sent flowers to a friend’s mom who is in the hospital.
17. Donating copies of my the children’s book, “Numbers Elementary,” that my husband authored, to a Book Drive in honor of Sandy Hook Elementary shooting victims.
18. Donated eyeglasses to an eyeglass drive at church.
19. Made a “care package” for a friend going through a difficult time.
20. Left a penny, face-up, at the self-checkout at the grocery store….to bring someone “good luck!”
21. Held a door for a stranger.
22. Let someone out in front of me in traffic, even though I was in a hurry.
23. Visited the pet store and asked to have a dog let out for some play time and exercise.
24. Donated money to church and wrote out a special prayer for my friends’ mom on prayer request card.
25. Canceled our newspaper subscription and instead had the remainder donated to local schools that cannot afford newspapers for their staff or students.
26. Donated money to a small, one-woman dog rescue in Ohio
27. Let someone in front of me in line at Target.
28. Asked someone if she needed help carrying groceries to her car.
29. Sent out some thank-you and “thinking-of-you” cards.
30. Treated a friend to lunch.
31. Sold a Coach planner to someone via Craigslist. Was a couple days late in shipping it so I included a $5 Starbucks gift card.
32. Sent a friend a virtual Starbucks gift card “just because.”