(I apologize for getting this post out late! There was a lot going on Friday and this weekend in general, including an internet outage, and by the time I was actually able to get this up, it was nearly Tuesday, so I decided to wait to post this. I hope you’ll understand!)
Hopefully by this point you know what the August Act of Kindness Challenge is, but if not, you may want to go read this post before continuing. This week definitely seemed to go smoother than last week (except of course not getting the blog post up on time, but you know, life happens (; ), and I think in part, that was because a lot of my tasks were a little easier during the week. I’m hoping this momentum continues though, and I can finish out the month strong!
Day 14: Blood Donation
For my fourteenth act of kindness this month, I did a very simple, no-brainer act of kindness by donating blood at a local blood drive. I know some people aren’t a big fan of needles, but to me, this is important enough to face your fears. There is always a constant need for blood, and now even more so due to the pandemic because the Red Cross is much more limited on venues where they can host a blood drive due to social distancing requirements. (Also, if you’re wondering, social distancing was observed and everyone was required to wear masks. They also take all donors temperatures before they’re allowed to donate). A bonus with this act of kindness is that the American Red Cross now does COVID-19 antibody testing for free for all donors, but sadly, I had no antibodies.
This act was free, but it does take a little bit of time. Like I said above though, I think it’s incredibly important, now more than ever. Even with an appointment and filling out a rapid pass, I was still there for about an hour or so, just do to how busy the staff was and then the time it took for the actual blood donation.
Day 15: Homemade Meal
My husband and I delivered a homemade freezer meal of baked ziti over to his brother (my brother-in-law), sister-in-law, and nephew. We haven’t seen them much over the course of the pandemic, so it was nice both to drop off the meal and visit for a while outside. This was very simple on our part, but Ron’s brother works a lot and our sister-in-law is a busy stay at home mom, so I think it had the potential to make a big impact for them on a busy night.
This was not technically free, but I just counted it into what we would normally spend on groceries. Generally whenever I make baked ziti, I make enough for two batches anyway and put the second in the freezer, so this was relatively inexpensive. It also didn’t take that much additional time because I was already cooking baked ziti and just gave them the second batch I normally would have thrown in the freezer.
Day 16: Banana Bread
So this task was not as simple as I originally thought it would be, and it would not have been possible without the help of my husband, but we made loaves of homemade banana bread for the neighbors in our apartment building. This added up to seven loaves total, which for some reason didn’t seem like a lot at first, but it totally was. I used this recipe, and while it was a little more complicated than your average banana bread, I would definitely recommend it. I normally add nuts to banana bread, but I left them out this time because I didn’t know if anyone might have allergies and I wanted to be sensitive to that.
This was also not technically free, but I also rolled up the things I did have to buy for this into our normal grocery budget. Except for the bananas, there was a lot of leftovers on pretty much everything, allowing me to use it for other things later, so it seems silly to include that in my overall budget for this challenge. Even if I did, bananas and all, it would have been less than $10 or $15 for everything, not counting things I already had at home like flour and sugar. This act did take a lot of time though. My husband and I spent a couple hours in the kitchen working on this, and then there was a lot of clean up afterwards because our kitchen is small and just gets messy so quickly. Our neighbors really liked the gesture though and were really excited about it. To me, it seemed a great way to pass on kindness, but also to build community and get to know each other a little better. To me, that makes it a great act that you could do with a family if you wanted to, and I think the baking aspect would make it fun for kids too.
Day 17: Flowers to Family
For the seventeenth day, I cut some wildflowers and delivered them to my sister-in-law. I didn’t know it at the time, but that same day my brother had a scare with COVID and had to get tested, so the flowers really brightened her day. Luckily, my brother’s test came back negative, but I know it was still scary at the time. Although the flowers were a small gesture compared to what she had going on, I’m still glad I did it, even though I had no idea that was actually going on.
This was actually free because I cut wildflowers myself rather than buying the flowers, and then arranged them myself (although not that well). It took a little bit of time, but nothing crazy. Again, this might be something fun to do with kids because they might get a kick out of looking for and picking wildflowers (as long as you have permission to do it), and even with older kids, they might have fun arranging them as well.
Day 18: Ballet Bag
One of my cousin’s on my mother’s side was one of the founding members of New England Ballet Theatre, a nonprofit professional ballet company in Hartford, Connecticut. Like pretty much all performing arts groups, the pandemic has made what they do even harder, so I decided to support them. I also decided to support them in a way slightly different than just a donation since I had already done that twice this month, and they offer a bag with their logo for purchase, so I purchased that with the idea that I can use it as a reusable grocery and produce bag. To purchase a bag for yourself, visit this link.
The bag cost me $26, and it only took about a minute to order it. So although it was not one of the free or cheapest ideas I’ve done so far, it isn’t time consuming at all, and it also goes to a very deserving organization. To learn more about NEBT, click here.
Day 19: Change for Candy/Toys
The original plan for this day was to leave enough quarters in our apartment complex’s laundromat for at least one load of laundry, but I didn’t check for quarters until the early evening, and I didn’t have nearly as many as I thought I did. Also, whenever we looked at the laundromat to see how many we would need, we found out that the machines now take cards instead of coins. I’m not sure if this is a 2020 Coin Shortage thing or if it’s been like that for a while because we fortunate enough to have a washer and dryer in our apartment and don’t have to use the laundromat. Either way, because I didn’t plan ahead very well, I couldn’t do what I initially planned, so instead, I put change on top of a vending machine for toys and candy at a restaurant nearby.
This act of kindness cost me about a dollar or so in change that was just sitting unused in my car and wallet, and had it not been for having to swap to a different plan, it would have taken substantially less time. I am also especially partial to this act of kindness because I have a feeling that (with the new plan) that a kid will get to enjoy this.
Day 20: Facebook Reviews
It’s so crazy that I am so far over the halfway mark for this challenge at this point, but for my 20th day, I wanted to leave reviews on Facebook for some small businesses and nonprofits. I specifically wanted to leave one for BN Crafts, a business owned by my husband’s sister, because she is just starting out with this business, and we ordered a t-shirt from her a few months ago. That is where the idea for this act of kindness originally came from, but since it was so easy and simple, I decided to leave a review for some other places like Espresso 41, Fresco Italiano, Plough Gallery, Wiregrass Farmer’s Market, and Ruth’s Cottage and the Patticake House as well.
This activity was free, and even with doing the additional businesses, it still did not take very much time at all. Even something as simple as “Great food!” or “Excellent customer service.” as a Facebook review can make a huge difference for a small business, and if you have the time, I highly encourage you to leave more specific details about what you really like about the place. You never know if you might be the reason someone chooses to stop and check that place out or not.