Random Acts of Kindness
We have all heard of them. Maybe we have been the recipient of having our coffee paid for in the line at Starbucks. Maybe we “elfed” a neighbors house during the holiday. Either way, we know that Random Acts of Kindness are small opportunities to make a large impact in the world.
As we are approaching the new year, I decided that our family needed to create a 2017 kindness plan. While I would love to be able to have a weekly project, I had to be realistic and set an expectation that I thought our family could attain. I don’t want the kindness project to feel like a burden or an impossible task to accomplish. The problem with creating difficult goals is that when you miss one week, you often just throw the plan out the door and give up. For our family, focusing on one selfless act a month seems like a reasonable and financially doable task.
When researching for this post, I realized that there are basically three categories in which our family can make an impact in our community:
Service Projects: A service performed by an individual or group that benefits a local community.
Donation Projects: The collection of items, money or food to be given as a gift without charge.
Random Acts of Kindness: selfless act performed by kind people to either help or cheer up a random stranger, for no reason other than to make people happy.
So, how to get started in planning your Year of Kindness?
First, call a family meeting, print out the attached planning calendar and a list of possible activities and start to brainstorm some good ideas. You can also visit my Year of Kindness Pinterest Board for more inspiration. Another way to narrow down your list is to identify some monthly themes, for example, an Easter egg hunt for a low income area near Easter, adopting a classroom for back to school in August, ect. These seasonal events will help your family arrange your calendar. If your family has trouble choosing or has more than 12 ideas, try voting or drawing ideas out of a hat.
The second thing you need to consider is your monthly budget. When looking over a variety of projects, I felt that $35.00 per month would be a good amount. Of course, every families ability is different. You have options to make all your activities free or less expensive. Some months may cost more or less, feel free to adjust your budget monthly but make sure that you don’t over do it one month and find yourself scrambling the next.
Third, give yourself at least a couple of weeks to plan your monthly act of kindness. Some projects may require more planning than others. You may consider inviting others to participate in your Year of Kindness. Create a local Facebook group and invite your friends and neighbors to participate. You can share ideas and support one another. Share pictures and praises of your kindness acts.
Here is a starter list for some kindness project ideas:
- Organize a food drive for your local food bank.
- Plant some seedling trees for Earth Day.
- Find a local veteran and line their sidewalks with flags for Veteran’s Day.
- Contact a local animal shelter. Many shelters need volunteer walkers, towels, food or litter.
- Make cookies for a shut in, widow and nursing home in your area.
- Have your children’s design special placemats and make copies of them. Bring them to a nursing home or Meals on Wheels.
- Create Homeless Blessing Bags or Blessing Socks to hand out when you see people in need.
- Make Birthday Boxes for your local food bank or foster care program. These would include the needed items to make a cake and have some simple decorations.
- Purchase a t-shirt or item from a family that is raising funds for their adoption.
- Write compliment cards and give them to friends or strangers.
- Create a giving jar for the month. Put all your change in it and at the end of the month give it to someone as a surprise.
- Take cookies or treats to your local police and/or fire station.
- Surprise a neighbor with an Easter Egg hunt in their yard. Fill eggs with candy, compliments and surprises. Leave a basket of goodies for them to “egg” a neighbor and pay it forward.
- Set up a “toy soldier” prayer box. You can get a list of service members from your local service groups.
- Serve “At Home.” Create a list of activities your family can do for each other.
- Surprise all your home service people (mailman, garbage man, water delivery) with a treat bag and thank you cards.
- Gather community friends to build a blessing box or book sharing box in your neighborhood.
- Make a “sunshine box” and deliver or mail it to someone who could use a little happiness.
- Buy Back to School Backpacks or extra school supplies for someone who needs them.
- Host a pregnancy center shower for a local ministry that helps mother’s in need.
- Organize a used book drive for a local school or area that needs book.
- Leave bubbles or small toys with fun notes around your local playgrounds.
- Buy diapers for Diaper need week.
- Raking leaves, mowing the grass, shoveling snow.
Are you planning on starting your own Year of Kindness? Share with me your ideas in a blog post comment or on my Facebook page. I would love to see how kindness travels!