I firmly believe that doing, witnessing, and receiving acts of kindness makes a person’s life better. When I feel “down”, if I purposely open my eyes and look for kindness, or better yet, go out into the world and do something kind, I cheer up. I feel more alive. I feel engaged with society.
It was in that vein – the spirit of GET INVOLVED, BE KIND, and FEEL GOOD - that I set about organizing a big holiday time kindness!
I had seen photos going around of people leaving scarves tied to trees and things with little notes telling people to feel free to take them. So, I decided to do a project like that with my whole family in Omaha.
First, we needed WARM THINGS TO GIVE AWAY. To find those, I cleaned out our closets and asked my family to do the same. I also posted to a neighborhood list serve called “Buy Nothing”* to see if anyone on there had anything they could donate for the cause. As usual, my fellow “buy nothing-ers” jumped in to help out, and BOY did they help out! Soon I had piles of coats, scarves, fleece shirts, mittens, hats, and gloves - 109 different items to be exact!** I washed them all up and packed them in a big box bound for Omaha. I also printed little tags (written in English and Spanish) – one for each item. Then we headed for Nebraska, where my sisters and niece added even more items to the collection!
|Getting organized with some of the warm items soon to be shared!|
This was a project that the whole family could get involved with and help – from the youngest to the oldest. We thought the tags would be more special if they had drawings on them, so the family artists set about decorating them. They were lovely! The drawings made the items feel more like GIFTS to people who needed them than “donations”. The two oldest family members were in charge of making a hole in each tag and tying on a pretty ribbon. Those were then pinned to each item.
|Sherry making pretty drawings on cards|
|Evelyn was in charge of ribbons|
|Annette making the cards pretty|
|Table full of artists|
|My dad was in charge of punching holes|
|Kemper is a great artist|
|One of the cards - isn't it sweet?|
|Jordan attaching tags to items|
|SHIFT ONE - my niece Ashlee, great niece Tallis and 2 great nephews Kemper and Ryker, friend Jeannie, |
my nephew Nate, me and my sister Annette (plus David, who was behind the camera)
|Organizing things to give away|
|Nate, teaching his son Ryker to share and be kind. I love that all ages got involved!|
|See Diesel, the dog? The guys at the shelter |
loved him and wanted to keep him :)
|The Emergency Shelter was happy to have warm|
clothes to share with their clients
That’s ok, we just took them to other spots! We put some outside a women and children’s shelter. We put some under a Christmas tree at that shelter and gave some directly to the moms there (who were very appreciative). We tied a couple things onto an RV that appeared people were living in it. We took items to a big homeless shelter (where Diesel, the chihuahua that came with us, was very popular!). We left some things in bus stops where we knew people would have to wait in the cold – we put them all over! It was nice to see that when we were driving around during shift two, we drove by some of the spots we left items earlier in the day and they had already been taken!
|Shift two (minus David, who was behind the camera again...)|
|We tied warm clothes everywhere|
|Sharing is KIND|
I am so happy that my family all got involved in this big kindness project. It felt good to be out in the community. It felt good to share some warmth on a cold, cold day. It felt good to be KIND.
|David giving a parking meter a hat :)|
|Scarves - clean, warm, and FREE|
|Gloves, free for the taking if you have cold hands|
|Waiting for the bus can be cold, especially if you are not dressed for the weather. |
We hope that some people who needed extra layers happened on this bus stop.
**We gave out 109 items. It broke down to: 5 shirts, 1 pair of long underwear, 5 coats, 26 pairs of mittens/gloves, 22 scarves, 20 adult hats, 25 children's hats, and 5 fleece shirts. :)