It’s Time for Kindness

It’s getting close to the holiday season, a time of giving and receiving, of joy and family and good cheer. But it’s not a happy time for many people, who may be homeless, poor, hungry and struggling.

It’s time for all of us to be kind, to give back. And I can’t think of a better way than to be part of my friend Marc Smith’s 4th Annual #30DaysOfKindness campaign. Marc has a huge heart, and a keen sense of community, and it’s a testament to his hard work and ability to motivate people that the 30 Days Of Kindness is one of the most popular features of his 30 Day Adventures series.

I participated in the 30 Days Of Kindness last year, and felt so good about my contribution that I’m doing it again! This year, I’m supporting one of the most inspirational organizations I know – Beauty Night Society, founded by the amazing Caroline MacGillivray. Beauty Night is dedicated to building self-esteem and changes lives of improvished women and youth in Vancouver through wellness programs, life skills development and makeovers.

This month, Beauty Night is in the process of soliciting donated items for 1500 Christmas stockings that are being sewn, decorated, filled and delivered to their clients. The stockings are created by fashion designer Nancy Perreault, and are sewn by volunteers. Other volunteers dressed as elves hand out the stockings at shelters, transition homes, housing locations, drop in centres, and health care facilities.

I’ll be donating a few bags of goodies myself – but I need your help to make this act of kindness the best it can be.

Here’s what we need:

Journals (the most requested item)
Jewelry
Gloves
Socks
Chocolate
Coffee Cards
Granola Bars
Stationary
Body Care Products
Nail Care Products
Dental Care Items
Skin Care Products
Hair Care Products
Makeup Samples

From 2-5 pm on Monday, November 23rd, I’m camping out to accept your donations at one of the most community-minded businesses in my South Hill neighbourhood – Eastside Fitness, located at 5854 Fraser Street at 43rd Ave. Please drop in – I’m happy to take whatever donations you’d like to give! And if you’re unable to make it on Monday, let me know by commenting below, or emailing me. I’ll be happy to facilitate your contribution.

I can tell you from my experience that nothing feels better than offering help, no matter how insignificant it may seem. I have been helped by so many people myself – and I’m forever grateful. The best way to repay people for their kindness is to give back as much as I can as long as I can.

Won’t you join me? Your kindness will never be forgotten.

Nothing but Good – On Random Acts of Kindness

For most of this month, my very good friend Marc Smith has been engaging himself and a number of like-minded organizations and individuals in what he calls his #30DaysofKindness – the latest round of his 30DayAdventures. So far, Marc and friends have brought cookies and cheer to seniors, given away warm toques and socks to needy people on Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, handed out flowers to brighten up many commuters’ days, encouraged literacy among youth through book drives and writing tools, and so much more. This inspiring exercise in kindness is happening till mid-December, so feel free to visit Marc’s site, follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook if you want to learn more.

I’ve  known Marc for several years now, and I know about his kind heart and giving nature first-hand. In December 2010, Marc was part of an amazing team of people who helped to organize a fund-raiser for my late husband Dave and me when he was desperately ill in the hospital. It was an event that touched me and my entire family and will always be one of my most treasured memories.

That experience, and Marc’s wonderful work came back to me this past Thanksgiving, when a horrible day was turned around by several acts of kindness from not only friends, but total strangers.

When I left you at the end of the last post, I was stranded in a wheelchair at LAX, having just been informed by the very nice airport police that my stolen  purse and all its contents had not been found. I was at the mercy of a negligent wheelchair attendant who wanted nothing else but to go home on a Thanksgiving afternoon. I was devastated, scared and shaken. It was a Very Bad Day.

But suddenly, happily, things began to turn around.

A very kind attendant did relieve my surly guy, who apparently did go home. She then got her supervisor involved. Her name was Diane, she was an angel, and she ROCKED. She first apologized for her employee’s attitude and neglect. She had me meet with her boss, a lovely man, who also apologized profusely and sincerely. She let me use her cell phone so I could do the best and most expedient thing I could think of. I tweeted my predicament.

But the random act that I’ll most remember from Diane was the fact that she reached into her purse, and handed me $10. I KNEW she didn’t have that much money. I knew it was a big sacrifice on her part.  I cried as I took the money and thanked her. And I hugged her tightly when she dropped me off at my departure gate and told her I’d never forget her.

In the meantime, and through that flight to SFO, my tweet had gotten the attention of friends and acquaintances, who offered help and moral support. My dear friends Lorraine and IdaRose sprang into action. Lorraine managed to cancel bank and credit cards, while IdaRose and her husband Neil arranged a cab (actually a white limo!) to pick me up at the airport to take me to their annual Thanksgiving feast. I was wined and dined and hugged many times that evening by a crowd of very supportive people, got to hang out with the family pe, and even had a night at a nearby hotel paid for so I could rest and recover from the day. I was so very lucky.

And after the initial shock and mourning for my possessions in that bag, I again remembered Marc, and what he and others were doing for their community. For people.

THAT is what I was thankful for on Thanksgiving – the reminder that things are just things, life has its scary moments and hard times, but it’s people, in person and online, those in hugging distance, and those who offer them from afar, that make life worthwhile. Thanks Marc.

Thanks Diane, for making me feel I mattered when all I felt was lost. Thanks, Lorraine, IdaRose, and Neil, for being there when I needed you the most. Thanks, Dick and Barbara, for always giving me a place to call home. Thanks everyone, from the bottom of my heart.  I won’t forget your love and support.

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