In January of 2013, I came across this incredible idea while parusing the Random Acts of Kindness page on Facebook. Amy from Making Life Whimsical shared this incredible day that she and her friends put together. I was able to gather a wonderful group of friends last year, and we carried out the first Kindness Inspires Kindness day. It was such a wonderful feeling, I wanted to do it again ~ so in January I put another call to arms out, and the planning began for the 2nd Annual Kindness Inspires Kindness event. We decided that while there were going to be a couple places that we would revisit, we were going to branch out to visit some new ones. We also decided that we would spread the kindness in 4 counties – Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Saratoga. The outpouring of support and donations was overwhelming! I try to say it as often as possible, but I am incredibly blessed to have some amazing people in my life ~ with enormous hearts! This year we had a few new additions to The Giving Crew, too.
So, let me tell you about our 2nd Event …
One thing we couldn’t resist was the kickoff for the day, a trip to Bob’s Diner. Bob’s is one of those staples in the Capital Region that you can’t help but love! We had 5 $10 gift certificates to distribute ~ and Melissa was our very willing delegate. She stopped to chat with the other customers telling them what we were doing … and all seemed very appreciative, a few came over to us after breakfast to say thanks and wish us a good day. A very kind soul even ended up contributing toward our bill ~ it was very unexpected, but I guess kindness does inspire kindness.
Kim from our Giving Crew works for the American Heart Association. They are having the Capital Region Heart Walk on May 10 at The Crossing in Colonie. She has formed her own team for the event, so we decided to pool cans and bottles and donate them to Kim’s teams fundraising efforts. We brought them to For Your CANvenience in Latham (just east of the Latham Circle). As we were unloading our cars, a gentleman pulled up, saw our haul, and decided to donate his cans and bottles to AHA as well. How nice! We ended up giving him one of the Dunkin Donuts gift cards we bought as just random giveaways.
Do you have time available on May 10? If so, collect some of your friends, and come to the Capital Region Heart Walk!
We do not forget about our fury and feathered friends! This years, we decided this year would would donate items to Hearts Herd. What is Hearts Herd? “HeartsHerd Animal Sanctuary is located on 21.75 acres of beautiful property in Buskirk, NY. Tending to a variety of animals who have lost their owners, run their course for their owner’s purpose, or just plain ol’ need love – our Herd continues to grow.” Last year they were able to place 121 animals in loving homes. Their hearts continue to grow ~ as they do rescue animals, and do not put them down. We met Bob today, Bob is a blind dog ~ who became part of Tracy’s (of Hearts Herd) family. What an adorable little dog, with a sweet disposition.
If you are looking for a new addition to your family, please consider Hearts Herd ~ or if you are looking to make a monetary donation or items, please consider Hearts Herd.
Babies bring promise for the future ~ they are sweet, innocent and a beautiful blessing. Two babies born today were recipients of our Welcome to the World baskets. A special shout out goes to Mrs. Shephard, Wendy’s mom and Wendy’s co-workers for knitting and crocheting some beautiful baby afghans, bibs and sweaters! We brought a baby basket for a boy and a girl. The baskets included an afghan, a bib, and other baby necessities like wipes, cups and bottles. As we were standing there talking with the nurse, a brand new baby boy was being wheeled into the nursery. We asked that our basket be given to him. (People don’t cross our paths by accident; they are meant to cross our paths for a reason.)
Next stop for the day was Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless located on Sheridan Avenue in Albany. Interfaith Partnership is an organization that serves individuals 18 years and older. To quote them, they serve the homeless, not the hopeless ~ which is very fitting. Donations included personal care items, books and food items. Next time you’re shopping, if you can ~ grab an extra item or two. Do this a few different times, and then consider bringing a bag to one of your local shelters. Little things can make a difference.
There’s always those “things” that happen. Back when we started planning the day, I emailed Habitat for Humanity to ask them if we could bring lunch for workers as part of our Kindness event. I hadn’t heard back from them, so I just let it drop. Little did I know, Habitat was still going to be part of the day. As we drove to the Interfaith Partnership, I noticed there was construction going on right next door … yes, it was a Habitat Project. They are building row houses on Sheridan Avenue. We left the IP and went to the nearest Dunkin Donuts and bought some boxes of Joe, hot chocolate, donuts and munchkins to deliver to the workers. There were two student groups working the shift, one from Albany Law School, the other from Rockefeller College/UAlbany … and even though they were breaking for lunch ~ they were extremely happy to have dessert delivered, too. Over the summer, I decided I will be signing up to work on a Habitat project. I’ve been wanting to and today sealed that up!
Oh, the babies! More baby baskets and items to be delivered ~ this time in Albany County to Albany Medical Center’s NICU. In addition to the 4 baby baskets, Wendy’s mom made a few special blankets that are preemie size ~ and others to keep nursing mom and baby warm. Mrs. Harbour even embroidered our motto ~ Kindness Inspires Kindness … yes, it does indeed!
Of course, we do need to Recover and Replenish … a stop to the Recovery Room was best option.
And now, it’s time for Bingo with our friends from the Marjorie Doyle Alzheimer’s Center in Cohoes. We had a really enjoyable time playing Bingo with them!
The Giving Crew decided to share kindness with two local cancer patients ~ with a couple gift baskets of food and some gifts. There is no kind, polite or sweet way to say this ~ Cancer just purely sucks! We just wanted them to know, we were thinking about them ~ and maybe brighten their day as they continue their battle. Keep up the fight!
My Aunt Lonnie used to always say when someone was in the hospital, don’t forget about the nurses. Bring them a little something to thank them for their loving care ~ and it is something always done when someone is in the hospital. Though we didn’t have anyone in the hospital, we did want to bring a little cheer to the nurses to brighten their day. We prepared cookie trays, breakfast goodies, and a little basket with hand lotions, hand sanitizer and chocolate-dipped spoons. A shout out to Bimbo Bakeries/Freihofer for their generous donation! Not only were treats provided to the nurses stations, but items were also brought to the Interfaith Partnership. Lynn and Wendy made some great plates of cookies, too, that were shared. Lynn’s treats were also given out to a couple random people, including one adorable little girl rockin’ some pretty cool shades when when we were at the NICU. Last but not least, thanks to my mom for the trays of delicious cookies!
A little donation to my alma mater, SUNY Empire State College, was something I wanted to include as well. These donations are put toward student scholarships and student programs during the year. I recently attended the inauguration ceremony of ESC’s new president, Dr. Hancock. The theme was #reemerge ~ and in so many ways, I feel that students at ESC do just that. Whether it is to continue on the same career path as we have been but opening opportunities that can come with a degree (or higher degree), or finding a completely different path ~ many of us are re-emerging in ways we may not have originally imagined.
Kindness Inspires Kindness is more of an event ~ it didn’t take place just for one day, it’s actually spanning a few days because of schedules and deliveries. Today, a few of us are heading up to Operation Adopt-a-Soldier. Last year, we adopted one particular soldier and sent him some soccer gear. This year, we bought and collected a whole bunch of different items that can be spread out and shared with many more of our brave men and women serving overseas. We are bringing them personal care items, puzzle books, ear buds, candy, playing cards, cards made from our local schools and a monetary donation to help offset the costs of mailing items to our troops. God bless our troops and may they return safely!
I can’t even begin to describe how in awe I am of what Operation Adopt-a-Soldier does. They have almost 250 soldiers that have been adopted. During this time of year, every 2-3 weeks, they mail each soldier their own individual care package. People bring donations, which hopefully cover the continuous stream of packages being sent out – and then there are fundraising events that raise money to pay the postage costs. Each package costs about $12 to mail … Starting in the fall, the up the amount of package deliveries to once per week. Again, I’m awed by what they do, the organization of it ~ and what a kind, loving gesture of thanks to these men and women.
Monday was a little heavier heart kind of kindness sharing. We started off with a delivery of 20 chemo care bags to the Oncology Center in Troy off of Burdett Avenue. The bags are just meant to be a little pick-me-up for those in their worst battle. We included tea, candy, some personal care items, puzzle book, ear buds and a journal. Blessing of better health and days to all that walk through those doors ~ not just for the patients themselves, but their caregivers as well.
When we brought the bags in, the normal look of uncertainty was there … who are you, and you are doing what?! That quickly changed ~ and we were invited in to the office to bring in our goodies. As we were putting things down, a newly diagnosed patient was there for their first visit. Another new face of cancer. We gave the patient one of the bags, and she was very excited ~ the bags we used were so convenient, the patient mentioned they could bring things back and forth to treatments in that. Imagine, being excited for that … my heart wasn’t quite sure what to do.
The VA Hospital has a new protocol for bringing donations. We have to go through a special office ~ one that’s open only during the week (keep that in mind if you decide to bring some goodies to them). For the veterans, we bought a collection of puzzle books and playing cards to be distributed.
And then ~ to the Melodies Center, the Children’s Cancer Unit at Albany Medical Center. There are no words … simply no words …
We will be bringing them puzzle books, puzzles, Play-doh and a couple beautiful handmade blankets my friend, Jean, made.
To repeat what I said earlier ~ may everyone who walks through these doors, have the blessing of better health and better days, for both the patients and their caregivers. God Bless!
Spreading some kindness around the Capital Region this weekend, was a wonderful thing! There will be more!
I saw a posting today in Instagram which I found fitting to close the blog with ~ “Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes it’s the little things that occupy the biggest part of their hearts.” I have to say, that is a two-way street because that also seems to occupy the biggest part of mine, too. Not everything needs to cost money. Maybe one day, you just go and volunteer somewhere, or play bingo with a bunch of residents at a nursing home or Alzheimer’s Center; help an adult through the Literacy Volunteers program; help out at a community garden – Habitat for Humanity – veterans organizations … find or know your passion, and share it with someone else.
Thanks for reading! Until the next time …. The Giving Crew
Anita, Victoria, Adriana, Beth, Melissa, Meg, Wendy, Lynn, Meg & Jenn
(Academy of Thank You’s! Besides The Giving Crew ~ my parents, Bimbo Bakeries, MaryEllen, GB, Mrs. Shephard, Mrs. Harbour, Jean, Danielle, Moscatiello’s, MarEle Boutique Accessories, crafters at NYS Bar Association, Steve, Pam & At Your Service – there are others, I will be adding …)