As you know if you read last Friday’s blog post (if you didn’t, it will make more sense if you go back and read it now), I am going to be doing an overview of the past week of my August Act of Kindness Challenge. Let me tell y’all so far, I am really having fun with this challenge! I have had to get creative with coming up with activities for each day, and I have loved the response I’ve gotten so far.
Day 1: Trash Pick Up
For the first day/act of kindness, I wanted to do something that felt big, but that I could still do on my own. I thought a trash pick-up would be a great idea, as it would have a big impact, both environmentally, and just on people’s perception of our neighborhood. I spent at least an hour and a half this past Saturday (August 1) picking up trash around our apartment complex and the surrounding neighborhood. A lot of our neighborhood is also easily visible from several main roads in Tifton, although there are sidewalks, so I thought it was awesome that I was picking up in such a visible area, where potentially people might drive by and be inspired to pick up around their own home or neighborhood. I wanted to work on this project for a little longer, but because I had on reusable gloves and had to have my phone and keys on me, as well as holding onto the trash bag, it made it hard to bring water along with me, and I got extremely hot and (I think) a little dehydrated the second time I went out. In the end though, I did still save two bags of trash from eventually ending up in a waterway, and the majority of it was recyclable.
This act was completely free because I already had trash bags and the reusable gloves on hand, as I’m sure you probably do as well. While I did this activity mostly by myself (my husband did tag along before having to leave early on), I think this would be a great activity to do as a family or with a group of friends, or even to organize with a large group. And although it was free, it can be time consuming, particularly if you it by yourself, or in a very small group, and then try to sort through the trash later to try and recycle all that can possibly be recycled.
Day 2: Memorial Donation
For the second day/act of kindness, I chose to make a donation to Albany State University, which is in the city two counties over from where I live now (and the city where I used to live), but rather than just make a donation, I did this as a memorial donation. Someone close to me recently had a best friend of many years pass away, and this friend was an alumni of ASU. As I know from personal experience, it can be hard to find the right things to say or do for someone who is grieving, particularly now, but we must acknowledge that person’s grief and pain. This was a way I came up with to do that for this person in my life, and I know they appreciated it.
This act obviously did cost some money because it was a donation, but it was something I had budgeted for in my budget of $150. I donated $20 to the student emergency assistance fund specifically at ASU, and although it wasn’t free, it took less than two minutes to fill out the online form and payment information. I think donations like this can be a great way to acknowledge what someone is going through in a much more meaningful way (in my personal opinion) than cut flowers than will die or a gift that may not be particularly meaningful to them.
Day 3: Pennies for Neighbors
For the third day/act of kindness, I wanted something that was both cheap and that wouldn’t take a lot of time, and I found the idea on Pinterest of placing pennies on the ground with some sort of chalk art or message on the ground, so it’s clear they were placed there intentionally for passersby. Before I went to work this Monday morning, I went around our apartment complex and simply drew hearts with chalk and placed a penny in the middle of each one. I tried to spread them out equally around our complex as much as possible, rather than just around the building I live in. And what was really cool about this is, later in the day, I got a text from my husband with photos. He had found some quarters he didn’t know were in his car, and decided, completely on his own, to add two or three quarters to each of the hearts.
So while this act was not completely free, it was very close. On the morning that I did this, I just grabbed a handful of pennies out of our change jar, and I think it was around seven or eight, so $0.07 or $0.08, plus the quarters Ron added, which I really don’t count since we didn’t know they were there. I also already had the chalk, and it literally only took about half a small stick to draw all the hearts. As far as time is concerned, I think it took me 10 minutes tops to complete this act.
Day 4: Free Movie
This day/act was another one that was both cheap and quick to accomplish, which is perfect for me to do during the week. Back around Christmas ish time, Ron and I had purchased several Redbox codes (essentially the equivalent of a gift card) for part of a gift, and we had used a couple of the leftover codes since then, but not all of them. Once COVID hit, we were not grocery shopping nearly as often, which is when we typically picked out a movie. So while I am sure we would have used this code at some point, I thought it would be nice to share the love a little. I got a free print out from papertraildesign.com where I could just write in the code, and I just taped that over the card swipe at a local Redbox this past Wednesday.
While technically this was not free because I did have to pay for the codes several months back, I did not include it in my $150 budget since it was already paid for. I think it would have been less than $2, and the print out was free. It also took me just a few minutes total to get everything done that day as well. If you want to do something similar to this but don’t want to purchase multiple codes at one time, like Redbox generally makes you do, you could always tape a bag of popcorn to the Redbox machine or slip a few dollars into your movie case when you return it with a note explaining its for snacks.
Day 5: Chalk Messages
This act was really simple. All I did was write messages like “Have a great day” in the breezeway of our apartment complex for our immediate neighbors to see. I really wanted to do this project a little bigger, with more messages all over our complex, but when I did this, it was raining, so I was really limited the areas I could write any messages without it washing away before anyone saw it.
This activity is a great one to do with a family, especially if you have young kids. In fact, we even did it with one of my nephews, and he got a kick out of drawing with the chalk (and playing in the rain) as I wrote the messages. When my sister brought over my nephew, she also brought over a pack of chalk because they already had plenty, so technically this activity was free for me. Even if you did factor in the cost of the chalk, it would still be relatively cheap and would also offer a fun activity for kids as well.
Day 6: Thank You Note
This was another simple and free act/day, but I think it’s something that can easily make someone’s day. I chose to write a thank you note for the woman who cleans our office at work. This is often a hard and thankless job under normal circumstances, but during this pandemic, I know it has only gotten harder. The least I could do was write her a genuine, heartfelt thank you note.
This activity was free, as I used stationary I already had on hand, and even if you don’t have stationary already, you could easily just use a regular piece of paper and an envelope. I think it’s the thought that counts with this more than what the note is written on. This also didn’t take a lot of time. Thank you notes are generally only a short paragraph, so even though you are sitting down and writing something heartfelt, it still doesn’t take much more than 15 or 20 minutes tops.
Don’t forget, you can follow me on Instagram for more up to date postings of my acts of kindness each day!