When a tragic event like the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre occurs, we always remember where we were and what we were doing at the time we heard the news. I was in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant, getting ready to drive the kids home for their naps. I checked my e-mail before pulling out, and saw the breaking news alert from CNN. (Following 9/11 I signed up for breaking news alerts, so in the event of a disaster I’ll know immediately) I was hit with a wave of emotions, sadness, shock, anger, but most of all helplessness.
I’m thousands of miles away, what can I do to help – other than pray for the families of the victims, the teachers and every parent and child that would fear going to school? Then yesterday, while my children were playing outside, I heard about Ann Curry’s #26ActsofKindess. What an inspiring way to give back and celebrate the lives of those lost last Friday.
As Ann Curry was contemplating the events in Newtown, she thought, “What if? Imagine if everyone could commit to doing one act of kindness for every one of those children killed in Newtown.” So she took to Twitter and challenged the Twitterverse with her plan to perform 20 acts of kindness. The response was overwhelming and people changed the 20 to 26 to cover every child and adult that lost their lives.
As word has spread so have the acts of kindness as people share their random good deeds on Twitter. One guy Tweeted “#1 of #26ActsofKindness I scraped the ice off my neighbor’s windshield this morning.” Awesome, I bet that was a nice surprise for his neighbor! There are stories of people buying coffee for the next 3, 10 or 26 people that order after them at Starbucks. Others are baking goodies for first responders, hospital patients without family or volunteers.
My first random act of kindness was small. Last night I rounded up the shopping carts that were blocking parking spaces and returned them to the store or the corral.
Small and simple or large and far reaching, it doesn’t matter, these acts are contagious and they’re making the world a better place.
Some people are writing 26 notes and numbering them, so the recipients of their random acts know they’re done in memory of the Sandy Hook victims. (Jeana created a simple template #26ActsofKindness printable cards you can use) Others are just sharing their acts on Twitter.
Just had a woman pay for my tea at Starbucks because of #26actsofkindness. thank you, stranger! There’s hope for us yet!
— alannah graham (@alannahgraham) December 19, 2012
Of course, even in light of this amazing movement, there are always those who have to be negative. I have seen countless mentions of “shouldn’t we be doing this daily?” or “why does it take a tragedy for something like this to happen?” and here is how I see it. Don’t ask why and don’t put people down for doing good things. In an ideal world, this whole thing wouldn’t have happened to begin with. Be happy that something good has come from an awful event and instead of criticizing, JOIN IN and smile :) – Jeana
There’s a 26 Acts of Kindness Facebook page filled with ideas and inspiration. Below are just a few of ours that we’d like to share.
What can you do?
- Drop off magazines at a Nursing Home or Hospital waiting room
- Shovel the snow off your neighbor’s driveway
- Donate a toy to a local shelter
- Send Christmas cards to soldiers
- Pay for someone’s check at a restaurant (someone did this for my hubby and son once and they felt so special)
- Pay off someone’s layaway (Toys R Us announced it will donate $200 worth of toys, or the value of the average layaway order at its stores, every time someone pays off a stranger’s layaway order. The retailer will continue making donations until $1 million in toys has been given away.)
- Leave a card on a random car with a gift card or some cash
- Donate blood
- Bring in your neighbor’s trash cans
- Donate to Sandy Hook, by making paper snowflakes or financial contributions
- Donate to Shot@Life and help pay for life saving vaccinations
- Feed it Forward with Restaurant.com and give 10 people $10 e-gift cards for FREE
- Watch this video from Duracell, every video view will trigger a battery donation for Toys for Tots on behalf of Duracell through Dec. 25, Christmas day
Also, I love the “Everything Happy“ company. For every “Happy blankie” you purchase, they give another one to the charity/organization of your choice. Right now, you can donate your “give” blankie to Sandy Hook or donate both blankets to Sandy Hook or any charity of your choice.
“May we focus our energy on those who were taken from us and let their memories inspire us to do good. May we look for opportunities to give service and work toward bettering our communities. I feel that if we can do these things we will again feel empowered, and we will make a difference.” An excerpt from a statement by victim Emilie Parker’s(age 6) father Robbie Parker
We all need to feel good about something in the wake of this tragedy, let’s restore faith in humanity and perform #26Actsofkindness, in memory of Sandy Hook. Are you in?