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Thursday, December 20, 2012

#26Acts of Kindness

Every time I think about what happened in Newtown, CT last week I start tearing up. It just breaks my heart. And I don't even know any of the families there.

I can't even begin to imagine what the families, friends, and neighbors are going through right now...or even how they will restore a sense of normalcy to their lives. Of course, our hearts go out to them, and many of us will help with donations. But I can't help feeling that I want to do more, and I know others feel the same. Tragedies have a habit of leaving the survivors with a need to fight back.

That's where #26Acts of Kindness comes in. Ann Curry of NBC News had posted on Twitter, "Imagine if everyone could commit to doing one act of kindness for every one of those children killed in Newtown." The response was overwhelming, and participants upped the ante to 26 acts of kindness: one in memory of every child and adult lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Others are opting for 27 acts, to include the killer's mother, who was also a victim. And still others are carrying out 28 acts of kindness, to also include the killer as he was struggling and in pain, too.

The number is irrelevant; the point is to do something nice for someone else and to let them know that you are doing it in memory of those victims in Newtown, CT. And to ask that person to pass it along. You can do 1 thing, 28 things, or 200 things. The point is to do something, and to inspire others to join in.

Here is a printable sheet of cards to leave behind with each of your acts of kindness, to help you  encourage others to pass it along. Or just keep a Post-It notepad with you. Or even scrap paper will do.

Should you choose to be a part of this movement, try this for your first act of kindness: make paper snowflakes for the students at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Those students will be relocated to another school and the PTSA is trying to organize a Winter Wonderland to welcome them. Get the kids involved and start cutting! Please send snowflakes by January 12, 2013 to:

Connecticut PTSA
60 Connolly Parkway
Building 12, Suite 103
Hamden, CT 06514

Your second, third, and fourth acts of kindness could be to send holiday cards to thank the first responders in Connecticut:

Monroe Police Department
7 Fan Hill Road
Monroe, CT 06468

Newtown Police Department
3 Main Street
Newtown, CT 06470

Connecticut State Police
Public Information Office
1111 Country Club Road
Middletown, CT 06457

Thanks to Mamatoga for posting those CT addresses.

Need more inspiration? Here are more ideas; just be sure to leave a note about #26Acts and encourage people to pass it along!

  • Donate to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims Relief Fun, which will provide counseling and help pay for funeral services
  • Buy Newtown breakfast. You can reach out to local businesses, like the Newtown General Store (203-426-9901), help people in town. One person in CA donated 100 cups of coffee! Another paid for breakfast for first responders in Newtown. 
  • Pay for the person behind you at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks. Be sure to leave behind a card to let them know about #26Acts, and to pass it along.
  • Send a holiday card to your children's teacher(s) or a favorite teacher from when you were a student. Be sure to let them know how much you appreciate them.
  • Leave bakery treats for the mail carrier or garbage collectors.
  • Let someone go ahead of you in line.
  • Take dog food, treats, and toys to an animal rescue shelter.
  • Leave a big tip at a restaurant.
  • Donate clothes.
  • Donate toys.
  • Put a $20 in a Salvation Army red kettle.
  • Leave change in a vending machine or laundromat.
  • Bring lunch to a homeless person.
  • Leave an already-read book in a waiting room for someone else to enjoy.
  • Leave a happy note and a flower on someone's windshield in a parking lot.
  • Put change in an expired, or nearly expired, parking meter.
  • Offer to watch a friend's kids for a few hours to give mom or dad a break.
  • Make Christmas cookies for your neighbors.
  • Make a donation to your favorite charity.
  • Make Christmas cookies or other treats for your pediatrician's office.
  • Bring a Starbucks gift card to give Santa after your kids pose for their picture.
  • Bring bakery treats to your local fire department, and let them know how much you appreciate them. 
  • Donate toys to the children's ward at a local hospital.
  • Visit someone who is sick, just to cheer them up.
  • Find a local blood drive and give blood.
  • Donate an old winter coat to One Warm Coat or Coats for Kids
  • Continue helping the victims of Hurricane Sandy
  • Check out volunteer opportunities in your area by visiting DoSomething.org
Check out what others have done and posted on BuzzFeed. There are more ideas here. Learn more on Facebook. And check out #26Acts on Twitter.

Be sure to Post a Comment and share your one random act of kindness, or - better yet - your #26 Acts. As always, thanks for reading.

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