I know I usually post my overview of the previous week’s kindness challenge on Friday nights, but since August is officially over (how crazy is that!?), I thought I would wrap up what I did for the last few days with my post tonight. If you want to know why I did this challenge, you can read my post explaining that here. If you want to see my other week overviews, take a look here: Week One, Week Two, Week Three, and Week Four. I plan on doing an overview of the challenge as a whole, my thoughts on how it went, what I learned from it, etc. this Friday, so keep an eye out for that!
Day 28: Food Pantry
So my original goal for this day was going to be kind of the biggest day of the month. I wanted to create a Little Free Pantry in the laundromat at our apartment complex with just a bookshelf and some canned goods that I was decluttering out of my pantry (let’s be honest, I panic bought when quarantine started and don’t normally eat those foods). I did try to make this happen by talking to our landlords and the owners of the complex and doing my best to convince them it was a worthwhile idea, but unfortunately, they didn’t agree. By the time I had an answer from them, I didn’t really feel like I had enough time to get approval from another location and get some sort of enclosed pantry together (since mine was originally going to be indoors). What I decided to do instead was to just donate the dry goods I had to a local food pantry. However, I have not given up on the idea of a Little Free Pantry in the Tifton area. My husband and I have talked about some potential places we could have it, and I have plans to reach out to the people or organizations in charge of those places to try and make that happen. If I am successful, you can definitely count on there being at least an Instagram post about it, if not also a blog post about it in the future too.
This act of kindness was free, since I was donating canned goods/dry goods that I already had in my pantry that were still in date. Like I said, I panic bought some of these at the start of quarantine because I had a lot of anxiety (some of it was still leftover from my parents’ deaths), and a lot of the things I panic bought were not things that we normally eat. I felt like if we hadn’t eaten them in the past couple months, it was safe to assume we weren’t going to, so I passed them on to someone who could get more use out of it than we could. However, if you did decide to spend money on this, canned goods are relatively cheap, so this could still be a relatively inexpensive act of kindness. This was also not too time consuming. I would say the biggest part of this was driving to the food pantry because it’s a little out of town, but even that didn’t take too long. And they also accept other donations (household items, clothes, etc.), and so I took the opportunity to donate some things I had decluttered at the same time as well.
Day 29: Big Tip
I was a server and bartender throughout my last couple years of college, and so I have a special place in my heart for those who work in the service industry. It is a thankless and forgotten job so much of the time, and one that is reliant, essentially, on people’s kindness for your wages. I remember long shifts, rude guests, and disappointing tips when I had bills to pay. I know this has only been made worse by the pandemic, and so for this act of kindness, I wanted to do something for the serving staff. Ron and I decided to get takeout (we haven’t really eaten out at a restaurant since this all started) from a local restaurant because we’ve also been doing our best to support local restaurants over chains as much as possible, and I left a $20 tip on a $16 bill. I know this might seem like a lot to some people, but having been in those servers’ shoes before, I know just how much that meant to them.
This act was definitely not free, but it didn’t take me any extra time than I would have spent going to the restaurant anyway. And while I know $20 on $16 is a lot, you could just do a little over 20% the next time you go out to eat or leave a nice note on your receipt (along with a proper tip), letting your server know what a good job they did.
Day 30: Cookies for Christin
I knew I wanted to do something for my other sister, Christin, and her family for this challenge before it was over, and I thought about getting her flowers, like I did for my sister-in-law, but (mostly for the sake of variety), I wanted to do something different. With my husband and a few other specific people I had on my list for this, including Christin, there was not really any specific material thing I could think of that I truly thought they needed or wanted. And since I consider myself a minimalist, I try to stray away from material things unless I think they are truly warranted when I can, so I decided to make her some chocolate chip cookies. I knew that she would like these, and I definitely knew that my nephew, her three year old son, would appreciate them. I used this recipe, which is my new favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies (although I add pecans for a little crunch), and she sent me a video not long after I gave them to her of my nephew holding one of the bags and saying “Thank you Aunt Rachel.”
I have a bit of a sweet tooth, and so I have been keeping the ingredients for these cookies on hand lately. So I know they weren’t technically free, but I didn’t even have to go out and buy anything (and if I did I would have just chalked it up to groceries anyway). This act of kindness was one of those that was a little more time consuming because I had to bake the cookies, but it really wasn’t that long. These cookies don’t take long to whip up.
Day 31: Coffee for a Coworker
I didn’t realize it at first, but I didn’t really have anything planned for this last day. I didn’t realize it until the weekend before (this day fell on a Monday), so I came up with something fairly quickly. One of my co-workers and I have been working together on a lot of projects, and it’s been fairly stressful. He’s done a really great job, and he doesn’t always get the sort of widespread attention and recognition that he really deserves. While this doesn’t really make up for that, and I acknowledged that in a note I wrote him, I wanted to do something for him to brighten up his Monday and to show that I genuinely appreciated him as a co-worker and all the work he has put into the projects we’ve been assigned to together. I was able to find out his favorite drink from Starbuck’s, and I went by there before coming in to work.
This act of kindness was actually free because I used a gift card to Starbuck’s I had been given for my birthday. However, even if I hadn’t had the gift card, this still would have only been about $5, so it’s still one of the cheaper options. It did take a little extra time in the morning because I had to drive to Starbuck’s first, wait in the drive-thru, and then go to work, but in the grand scheme of things, it really wasn’t that much extra time that day.