12~12~12 and Random Acts of Kindness

There was a little bit of buzz in our house as to whether there was an interesting way to mark the last repetitive date we would see in our lifetimes. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but we take any excuse to make a production. I had been coming up blank until I looked at our ‘Things to Do’ Board and saw ‘Random Acts of Kindness Day’ still hovering around undone. 
If you are good about volunteering or have a regular way of showing your kids how to give to others and put a little love out into the universe, you’re doing better than me. I have not pinned down a regular way to volunteer myself or give that bug to my kids. It’s a New Year’s Resolution – yes, I make them (and of course, I break them). So I asked the boys over breakfast if they thought we could make 12-12-12 ’12 Acts of Kindness Day’. They were a little hesitant, but when they thought up a contribution of there own, they are willing participants.
We made a short list, gathered some supplies and headed of on our adventure.
Our first task was some mail. We made index cards with inspirational quotes on them and folded them up in cards for mailing to random people from the phone book. The boys put ‘This is a random act of kindness – Have a great day!’ in each card. We talked about how someone could get a quote that speaks directly to them and take it as a sign. We sure hoped so.
We then piled up some coloring the boys had been doing for colorasmile.org. The coloring pages are sent out to various agencies and distributed to people who might enjoy them. Many make their way into the hands of recipients of home meal distribution programs like Meals on Wheels.
We then moved on to the task the boys thought up. They wanted to put quarters in the vending machines at the thrift shop, turn the handles and leave the toys for unsuspecting kids – they thought that was just one of the best things that could happen to a kid!
We waited for quite some time to see if they could catch a glimpse of a kid doing it. Gavin’s friend said, ‘what’s with all these well-behaved kids holding their mother’s hands and not begging for toys!’ We never got to see it, but we imagined later that it did.
We then made a run to collect and drop off food to the Somerset County Food Bank. We have been made aware several times lately that they are REALLY low on food, so that was something we could do. I armed them with the list the food bank provides and set them loose.
We visited our local library and brought cookies for our librarians who find us books on every subject imaginable and rescue our holds that should be sent back, but they give us a little extra time! We also left two envelopes with $2 each for the next two people that have fines.
The best part of the day was our lunch at A Better World Cafe. A neighbor who keeps me supplied with interesting tidbits clipped from the paper made me aware of it some time ago. I’ve always wanted to go, but now we had a good reason to get out and support such a valiant effort. I love the concepts behind the cafe. It is a multifaceted effort combined with Elijah’s Promise. They not only provide excellent food in the cafe, but training for people who need it in the food service industry – They give a man a fish, AND teach them to fish!
The meals are all whole foods, local, seasonal and high quality. They believe everyone, regardless of budget, should have access to ‘good food’ – amen! It was a stark contrast to the processed, boxed items we had left at the food bank – which is necessary – but I wanted to point it out. The paying customers support the ‘complimentary meal’ of the day and 13% of the cafe’s diners order the free meal.
We had an delicious lunch, supported this great cause, learned that we would love to go back and Chef Rachel generously spent several minutes telling the boys about the organization, explaining why cafes like this are so necessary.
The boys seemed to have a great time and got a lot out of spread a little love out into the world! I am telling you about our day, not to brag about the good we did, because I know lots of people that are doing it on a regular basis and so much more. I am inspired when I hear of others efforts and hope you will be too. I would like to make volunteering, donating, service to others and supporting charitable organizations part of our lives for myself so I will have the ability to pass on the habit to the boys. If you do something regularly I’d love to hear about it.
Service to others is the payment you make
for your space here on earth.

~ Mohammed Ali

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