The Year of Kindness Continues
Aroundabout Local Media checked in with Kevin Williams, who led us in a challenge to show kindness in 2021. We thought it was time for a mid-year checkup. How have you been showing kindness so far? If you find your enthusiasm has waned, let Kevin inspire you again. Let’s head into the rest of 2021 with a renewed emphasis on showing care, concern and kindness to our family, friends and neighbors.
How are things going for you? I want to encourage you to continue on the path of practicing kindness. It requires a daily renewal of the mind. Approach each day with buckets of courage to bring a mindset of kindness.
I have worked in the hospitality business for nearly 30 years, with the majority of it in the Chick-fil-A restaurant business in Canton. My goal has been to learn and teach my team members how to build relationships by treating guests and fellow team members as individuals who matter, not just transactions in a business. Learning how to serve kindness is a pursuit I have gotten to dig deep into, especially as we’ve worked to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.
Kindness can allow a 16-year-old fast-food employee to discover joy by putting their energy into lifting up customers rather than just taking orders. It can allow young couples to get to know neighbors in their community who are completely different from themselves. It can redirect each of us to remove negative distractions (often found on social media) that occupy our minds, and redirect those energies into volunteering at a community organization.
We’ve had huge obstacles to overcome in the last year, haven’t we? Approaching each socially distant day with no hugs, no handshakes, and our smiles hidden, has filled our days with uncertainty and pressures related to work or to our children’s education.
I have noticed two things in 2021, as a small business owner and human on earth. The ways in which we deliver kindness have never been more difficult, and the need for kindness is greater than ever.
The good news is that in these challenges, light shines the brightest. As masks and concerns ease, July is the perfect time for a kindness update − a follow-up from our initial challenge in the January issues.
Since my book, “Irrational Kindness,” was released on Jan. 12, we decided to take a road trip. We supported a variety of different organizations by partnering with Chick-fil-A restaurants in every state between Georgia and New York. We witnessed amazing things happening in the communities along the East Coast, as people encouraged one another and continued to show kindness.
• In Colonial Heights, Virginia, filled tanks and hearts with kindness by giving away gas at Wawa.
• In Washington, D.C., fed families at Samuel P. Massie Academy with a pop-up drive-thru.
• In Aberdeen, Maryland, supported Halls Cross Roads Elementary and Martin House Workshop,
a recovery house for homeless men.
• In Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, presented a check to Bethany Christian Services, to support foster care, adoption and post-adoption.
• In Newark, Delaware, spread kindness at three COVID-19 testing centers and Sunday Breakfast Mission, a homeless shelter.
Remember practicing kindness starts with a dose of courage, one step to serve another person, and moving things from the head to the heart. Have faith that the joy of loving others is a much better investment of our time than yelling at the news or binge-watching Netflix. When we do that, life gets a little irrational in the most beautiful way. Let’s be irrational and know that kindness starts with just one step. Not perfection, just one courageous step.
Neighbors Who’ve Shared Kindness
Over the last six months, we’ve shared some pretty amazing stories of our friends and neighbors practicing kindness. Here’s an update from some of the more touching stories. We hope they will inspire you.
Crocheting Hats Gives 93-Year-Old ‘Something to Do’
In February, we met 93-year-old Izetta Stoner, who spends her days crocheting hats for her favorite nonprofit, The Encouragement Project. She averages two hats a day, and to date, she’s completed more than 2,800; it was tough to get an accurate count before the press date with the rapid rate of her crocheting.
“It gives me something to do,” the Woodstock resident said. “I used to read a lot, and I still read, but I love to crochet, and I’ve enjoyed this so much.”
Food Pantry is a Good Thing ‘To Do’
When Laine Wood had an encounter with a family experiencing food insecurity, it didn’t take long for the community to rally and find ways to help. It wasn’t long before several food pantries were built and placed around Canton.
The food pantries are located at the community garden in Canton, and in front of the Salvation Army store on Marietta Street. Jory Seidel Cannon got on board and created a Facebook page called Canton Pantry Angels, and people Laine doesn’t even know have volunteered to check the inventory daily, and to keep the shelves filled.
A Challenge for the Community
Members of Ursula & Associates, a Woodstock real estate team, delivered 105 bags, overflowing with food, to the nonprofit Never Alone. Their current initiative is to feed 10 families for every home they sell during the second quarter of this year. They’ll continue to donate to the nonprofit, and are encouraging others to help by offering these suggestions.
- Contactless: Through Instacart or AmazonPantry, put together a cart of food to be delivered to a local food bank. Send “Thinking of You” cards to residents of local nursing homes.
- In-person: Join volunteers at Never Alone to assemble food boxes. Volunteer at a nearby animal shelter.
“Each act of kindness or service may feel small, but, we can assure you, is making a difference beyond that moment. We’ve seen it — and so can you,” Realtor Jason Wilson said.
A Successful Shoe Drive
Grace Avillar has been in Girl Scouts for 12 years, and decided to collect athletic shoes for others as her Gold Award project. As an athlete, she recognized the importance of having good shoes when participating in sports, and wanted to find a way to help others who may not be able to afford them. Her project ended May 15, and she collected 512 pairs.