Do you ever meet someone who just emanates KINDNESS? Like, before you even really get into a conversation with them, their kindness just sort of radiates out of them? I am not trying to be all hippy-dippy-woo-woo here, but that is how it felt when I met Lyn. She was a shining, quiet, beautiful beacon of kindness!
|Beachy Boho Kindness|
Here’s the scoop: I was in Ormond Beach, Florida. It had been “cold” there for a couple of weeks. I must put the word “cold” in quotation marks because, well, let’s be honest, temperatures in the 50s are not exactly COLD to the rest of the country… But to be fair, there WAS a frost warning 2 nights in Ormond Beach and everyone had to cover up plants for safety! 😊 But when it gets down in the 30s at night, that is COLD for this neck of the woods. And people here, especially homeless people, do not have scarves, hats, gloves, and warm sweaters at the ready when the temperatures drop.
During the cold spell, I drove by a shop that had a rack out front and a handwritten sign saying the items on the rack were free, and people could take one. This caught my attention… A couple of days later I saw a short write-up in the local paper about it, and I decided I needed to go check it out myself. And that is how I ended up at OCEAN CHILD (A Beachy Boho Boutique)*…
|Ocean Child A Beachy Boho Boutique in Ormond Beach, Florida|
Lyn and Andrea are women with huge, kind hearts. They do a lot for the community. When weather got cold in Florida, they were concerned that not everyone had a roof over their heads or a sweater to keep warm. So, they put a few of their own warm clothes on a rack outside the store, with a sign inviting passersby to take something if they would like (or to leave something). Well, it wasn’t long before people noticed… People started helping themselves to the lovely gift of warmth, and they were gone almost instantly. (Sure, some teen girls who think “vintage fashion” is cool also got a free item or two, but things mostly went to the homeless men and women who really needed the warm clothing.) There are quite a few homeless people in the area, and I bet they were thrilled when this rack of warm clothing went up. I am guessing that word got ‘round quickly!
Pretty soon Ocean Child needed MORE items to put on the rack, so Andrea ran down to the Humane Society Thrift Store to pick up some coats. Only, because kindness begets kindness, the thrift store was kind to her, and when they heard about what she was going to do with the coats she was buying, they reduced the price from $5 each to $1 each! (And, again, because kindness begets kindness, Andrea promised to donate any unused coats back to the thrift store when the weather warms up!) Ocean Child also put a post in a local “What’s Happening” group on Facebook, which got over 700 “likes” and many offers of donations. Someone called into a radio station and told the listeners about the amazing project, too. Donated items are coming in at a steady stream – children’s, men’s, and women’s items. Some people have brought in blankets, which Andrea reports are taken by those who need them almost immediately.
|Simple rack, simple concept, MUCH KINDNESS AND WARMTH SPREAD|
Andrea told me the story of one of the people who stopped by, “I had the sweetest man on a bicycle earlier. I went out to hang up some new items. He had a blanket that had just come in. But he was just wearing a lightweight shirt. I said, ‘Don’t you want a jacket?’. And he said, ‘Well the sign says to take ONE or leave ONE…’ And I told him, ‘Oh honey, you take whatever you need. If you have friends wherever you are headed to, you take some for them.’ And he grabbed my hand, his hand was so cold. And he just said, ‘Bless you’ over and over. It brought tears to my eyes. I wish there was more that we could do.” Another woman that stopped was a teacher of disabled children. The kids were coming to school during the cold weather without anything warm to put on for recess. Andrea hooked the teacher up, sending her on her way with warm child size clothing for the class of 5, ensuring that recess could continue.
The kindness just keeps on spreading! “One woman went to WalMart and bought brand new knee socks and sweater boots to donate. Those went almost immediately!” Andrea told me. “And 3 people tried to pay for things on the rack! We told them no, no! Those were donated to US, they are for YOU.”
|The rack is right in front of the store|
I asked Lyn where her inclination towards kindness came from, and she explained that her family has always done charitable things.
· She grew up in a military family. On holidays, her father would always bring men home who did not have family nearby. They would eat holiday dinner with the family.
· The family makes “kindness bags” full of things like crackers, socks, toiletries, candy, Sunny D drink, etc. and keeps them in their car truck to give out to people in need. “The Sunny D is always a bit hit,” she told me.
· On the anniversary on the death of any of their female friends, they get a purse and fill it with “female” items. They draw a heart that says, “In Memory Of ___”, put it in the purse, then give it to a homeless woman. It doesn’t cost a lot of money – they get a very nice purse at a thrift store and items to fill it at a Dollar Store. It is a beautiful way to keep the memory of their friend alive and to pass on kindness in her name.
· At Easter time Lyn invited a homeless woman to their family home to eat dinner with them, but the woman was not comfortable coming. So, the family made a plate of food from the meal and took it to her. They also gave her a battery-operated fan in the summer to help her keep cool.
This family really shows how kindness spreads from generation to generation. Lyn was taught to be kind by her parents. She taught her daughter Andrea to be kind, and now that is being passed on to her 13 year old granddaughter. “When we are driving down the street if my granddaughter sees a homeless person she says, ‘Oh! We have to go get food for them!’. There are a couple of homeless people outside the McDonald’s that we go to. We always include them in our order as we go through the drive-through.’ “
|The store is lovely. The paintings on the wall that you see here were made by Lyn!|
Please keep the kindness going. Be kind to those who are less fortunate. If you are in the Daytona Beach area, swing by Ocean Child (164 West Granada Blvd). Donate some warm clothing (they would especially like gloves and hats). The boutique hopes to give out free sunscreen and bottled water to those who need it this summer, so you could also bring in some sunscreen to help them stock up for the warm weather that is around the corner. And while you are there, THANK THEM for their kindness and check out the amazing work of local artists.
* Ocean Child (A Beachy Boho Boutique) is a lovely store! It is a warm, welcoming space that carries gift items, clothing, and artwork (on consignment) made by 26 local artists. When Andrea opened the store one of the main goals was to have a space for local artists to sell their work without having to set up and tear down repeatedly at local art shows. Artists who sell their work at Ocean Child make a wide variety of things – bath products, crocheted items, painted wood, jewelry, purses, clothing, etc. Please stop in and shop (164 West Granada Blvd, Ormond Beach, FL) – support local artists.