These last few weeks have been absolutely crazy for me. Lots of little trips out of town and family visiting from out of state means not much time for cooking, let alone blogging. I’ve got some stuff saved on the computer for you I just haven’t had time to type it all up. But I’ll get it all up later this week and next week. In the meantime, I wanted to share this with all of you.
I was on facebook earlier and saw a status update from a friend regarding what she was doing for Lent this year. Now, I’m not Catholic, but I like to do something for the Lent season, just as a reminder to myself that Easter is coming up and to prepare myself for that holy day. This year I had planned on doing random acts of kindness, one act on each day of Lent. My friend had the same idea and was asking for suggestions as to what to do. She got a ton of responses and people loved the idea. I realized that some of you might like the idea too. So I’m sharing it here.
I made up some cards and printed them out on cardstock to pass out so that people don’t think I’m strange when I do nice things for them. They really come in handy when in a drive thru, paying for the order of the car behind you. Just hand it to the cashier to give to the driver when he tells them the order is already paid for. Or when leaving things behind to be found randomly, leave a card with it to let the finder know it’s ok to take the item.
Here’s some of what I’ve done:
I made up some sack lunches for the homeless. I put some non-perishable food items in a paper bag, then I added a toothbrush, a small tube of toothpaste and a small package of wipes. I stapled the bags shut and I just carry them in my car, when I see a homeless person on the street corner, I just have to hand them a bag. Super easy and takes a few seconds. I bought the food items on sale and I got the toiletries from the dollar section, so each bag was only cost a few bucks to make.
I ordered pizza for the nurses at the hospital where my mom works. I realize this is not exactly random, but you get the idea. I just went to the nearest pizza hut and ordered the pizza and paid for it there. (This turned out to be more complicated than I thought, apparently they aren’t used to people walking in and ordering for delivery. They were a little confused.) I also tipped the driver so they wouldn’t have to pay anything. I just asked the delivery driver to give them one of the preprinted cards when he dropped off the pizza.
I took a handful of change and put it in a small ziploc baggie along with one of the cards and taped it to a vending machine in the cafeteria of my hospital.
A friend who has done this in the past said she bought five dollar gift cards for Target and passed them out wherever she went…in addition to the tip for the waitress, stick it in the window of the car next to you in the Target parking lot. She said that sometimes she would even pass them out to other shoppers in the store, her faves were kids and pregnant women. Just be sure to hand them a random acts card so they don’t wonder why you’re giving their child a gift card!
Here’s some other suggestions that were posted: Take treats to your local police and fire stations*. Treats to staff at local childrens hospital*. Visit a nursing home (maybe have your kids make cards to take with you for the patients.) Donate animal food/toys to a local shelter. Clean out your closets and donate old, gently worn clothing to your local homeless shelter. Volunteer time at a shelter or food bank. Take your child’s teacher Starbucks in the morning. Volunteer to read to kids at your library or your child’s school. Leave a treat for your mailman in the mailbox*. Pay for another table’s meal when out to lunch. Tape quarters to the washers and dryers at the laundromat. If you live where parking meters are used, tape quarters to a parking meter. Take some freezer ready meals to someone who has been sick or just had a baby. Hide one dollar bills in the toy section of the dollar store.
*It was suggested, and I second this, that when taking treats to the hospital or police or fire, although homemade goodies taste better, it’s generally better to bring purchased, packaged treats. I know when people bring stuff in to us (which is, admittedly, very rare) I won’t eat anything that’s homemade, you just never know what’s in it or the condition of the kitchen in which it was cooked. Chalk it up to watching too many episodes of hoarders! So stick with the packaged stuff…muffins, bagels, cookies, etc.
I realize that most of these suggestions require spending money and know that money is tight for most people, but if you look around I’m sure that you can find opportunites to surprise someone with a random act of kindness that doesn’t require any money at all. Giving time is often more appreciated than giving money.
So I’m challenging you all to join us this season and spread some love with Random Acts of Kindness. I’ll bet that by the time Easter comes around, we’ll be so blessed by this, we won’t want to stop!
Here’s to practicing Random Acts of Kindness!