Pay It Forward: Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness
Once you reach a point of stability and security in your recovery, you’ll want to express your gratitude for the people who have loved and supported you on your journey toward becoming a better person. But sometimes, it’s also rewarding to share joy with total strangers. In honor of Random Acts of Kindness Day this Wednesday, Feb. 17, what are some creative ideas you might use to pay it forward in your sobriety?
1. Write Uplifting Notes
Handwritten notes are somewhat of a lost art these days. Buy or make stationery, then leave affirmations on people’s cars, on park benches or tucked into the pockets of clothes in department stores. Or, send thank-you notes to essential workers like the staff at your local grocery store, teachers, police, postal employees and firefighters. You might even want to consider signing up to be a pen pal to a soldier or inmate.
2. Donate When You Can
Many deserving nonprofits are operating on tight budgets, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you can afford to make a financial donation as a random act of kindness, consider doing so. If not, food banks always need nonperishables or foods with a long shelf life, like dried pasta and beans, peanut butter and canned vegetables. Most homeless shelters for humans appreciate donations like socks and toiletries, while homeless shelters for pets want blankets, towels and pet food.
3. Tip Generously
Many service workers are struggling to make ends meet, and restaurant owners and employees are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. Even if you don’t feel comfortable dining indoors yet due to safety concerns, you can still support locally owned restaurants by ordering curbside takeout or contact-free delivery. Be sure to tip as liberally as your household budget allows you to. For an extra boost, write glowing reviews of your favorite eateries on sites like Yelp.
4. Be a Good Neighbor
Most Americans admit they don’t know their neighbors. You might not be on a first-name basis with the people in your neighborhood, but you can still practice random acts of kindness for them. Make inspirational signs and post them on lampposts throughout your neighborhood, or in the common areas of your apartment complex. If you have a driveway, write encouraging messages in chalk and change them weekly. Or, if you have belongings you no longer use, but that still work, you can post a message on a service like Craigslist or Nextdoor offering to give them away for free to anyone who needs them. Those with older neighbors can offer to run errands for them or help them maintain their yards.
5. Give Blood
Giving blood is another excellent random act of kindness. According to the American Red Cross, one blood donation can save up to three lives. If you are eligible to give blood, please consider doing so. Due to the pandemic, there’s a greater need for blood than ever before, and the Red Cross has implemented stringent safety standards to keep donors, employees and volunteers healthy and virus-free. If you’re not available to give blood, you can sign up as an organ donor instead.
6. Buy Gift Cards
Get gift cards for a gas station and leave them at the pumps, or buy gift cards for the grocery store where you usually shop and hand them out to other shoppers. You’ll bring a smile to someone’s face, and perhaps you’ll also inspire them to pay it forward and do the same.
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