— Booker T. Washington
Story 1: Community companionship
I recently read about a wonderful woman who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. Having been homebound while battling lymphoma, she felt lonely and in need of someone to talk with. She reasoned that there must also be other people who are alone and stuck inside without companionship, so she called the county aging services and asked them to help her reach out to other seniors who might want to chat on the phone, have someone check up on them or simply just get a call to say hello. Shortly after her inquiry, they gave her the name and number of a woman who needed just that. What began as a single call and a lone volunteer has now grown into a program with 350 volunteer callers and even more people at the other end of the line.
Story 2: The Blanket Project
Following the devastation of hurricane Katrina—one of the worst natural disasters in our country's history—a group of people in San Francisco began something called The Blanket Project. Their mission is very simple: to let those directly affected know that we Americans across the country care and are concerned about them. The Blanket Project reminds us that the making of blankets and quilts is a time-honored tradition in which love and care are stitched into an object that gives warmth, comfort and shelter. The Blanket Project envisions every survivor of Katrina enveloped in blankets sewn with wishes, prayers, love and the support of the American people. This grassroots effort invites each of us to make a quilt or blanket to cover someone in kindness and care. Hundreds of blankets have been made and shipped to the Gulf Coast, and thousands more are still being made. Children are making them in schools, women are making them at book clubs and families are making them at home. Anyone can make a blanket—even you.
Story 3: A treasured memento
I heard of a woman whose friend lost everything in the storm. Though she, thankfully, saved her family, everything else—her house, job and lifestyle—had vanished. Wanting to help her, a friend went through all her own photographs, finding many pictures of the woman and her family that had been taken over the years. She gathered them in a book, a treasured memento to share. Her gift is an act of kindness that will help to soothe an aching heart.
Story 4: Project Linus
Covering someone in love is prevalent all over our country. There is a national program called Project Linus, through which women lovingly craft handmade mittens, blankets, hats, gloves and scarves that are then donated to local hospitals and schools to be given to children in need. These ladies and this group provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children of all ages who are very ill or otherwise in need of a "heart-made" gift lovingly created by a volunteer "Blanketeer."
Story 5: Human-chain beach rescue
A story of the power we possess when people work together in kindness recently brought me to tears. As I watched the CBS Evening News, I saw footage of a human chain made up of 30 people who were rescuing five beachgoers from a riptide in Bloomington Point Beach, Prince Edward Island. The five swimmers had been enjoying the afternoon in the water when suddenly a tide yanked their footing out from under them and pulled them without warning into deep water. The swimmers were in danger of drowning, when bystanders linked their arms, formed a long line and, after nearly an hour, managed to pull every one of them to safety. Strangers and friends pulled together, connected arm by arm, and found the strength among themselves to rescue these people in need. Without this human chain, the chain of events probably would have had a very different outcome.
Imagine a world where this loving, thoughtful, kind, intuitive, innovative and powerful force was used to solve all of our problems.
Get some ideas for how you can make a difference through kindness