Every once in a while, you come across an idea that has been shared that has you saying, “Wow! I have got to do this!” It can come in the form of a trip, an activity ~ or a day. A day that inspires you to do things outside of your normal routine or maybe even outside your comfort zone. Back in the beginning of January, I came across just one of those ideas. I was reading posts on the Random Acts of Kindness Facebook Foundation page when I came across a blog post from Making Life Whimsical
As I read ~ hook, line and sinker ~ I knew this was something I wanted to do. I contacted Amy from MLW to ask her if it would be okay to borrow her idea and the name, Kindness Inspires Kindness, because her day inspired me. I posted on Facebook about wanting to organize and carry out the day, and I ended up with The Giving Crew. This one shared post from Amy has generated 8 other Kindness Inspires Kindness days in my circle of friends. Social media does have its pitfalls, for sure; but there are certainly some incredible things about it as well!
We met in January to have a planning meeting to decide what we wanted to do, where we wanted to go, and to pick the date. With a little over 6 weeks, the most amazing day was organized and carried out. Many people contributed (the Academy Thank You list will follow at the end of the blog). Facebook posts were shared, and donations of pet food, books, items came. Last Sunday, we met to sort out and organize all the items for KIK.
And so, without further adieu, I bring you our day ~ Kindness Inspires Kindness in the Capital Region.
First stop was Bob’s Diner in Watervliet. Our morning started at 8:30 am for breakfast to get the much needed energy for our day’s events. I purchased 5 $10 gift certificates to Bob’s to be handed out. Maddie, Amelia and Melissa handed them out to people we selected. At first when the certificates were given, the looks on the people’s faces were a little skeptical. But the skepticism turned into big, appreciative smiles (as well as a few thumbs up after the fact).
Next up was the Unity House/Bethany House in Troy. We brought care bags to the shelter ~ 19 bags for men, 19 for women and 12 for children. Beyond the sweet comments of the young woman who greeted us to accept the donations ~ was an incredibly sweet moment when Maddie handed one of the young boys his own care bag. The smile on his face happens to be one of those that will be burned in my memory of the day.
It’s Laundry Time! We dropped off a little donation at the Green Island Laundromat – interestingly, even though machines were going, we were the only souls in the place. Easy to share our kindness and leave!
Our next stop was to For Your CANvenience. Many people in the Capital Region may have been seeing posts and fundraising events for a young woman by the name of Kristy Cavanaugh Scalise. Kristy, is a young woman from Watervliet, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer during her 2nd trimester of her pregnancy. I saw a posting on FB that For Your CANvenience set up a fund (#DG2498) for people to bring cans and bottles there in her name. We pooled our cans and bottles and dropped them off as a donation to Kristy. I can’t remember if any of the Crew actually knows Kristy – but we do know cancer and the exhausting affect it has physically, emotionally and financially. Every penny helps … or in this case every can and bottle helps.
Just up the road was our next stop, Starbucks to share some Kindness. We were given a gift card to Starbucks. We went through the drive through to give the card and watched as the surprised faces were told it’s already been paid for. The first car pulled up to let us for a quick chat.
On our way to our next stop we saw two people to share a little kindness with – Mr. Liberty and just a random woman crossing the street. We gave them a gift certificate to Stewarts for coffee and a lottery ticket – hope they were both winners!
Next on the agenda was a stop at at the Hudson Mohawk Humane Society. Here we met some soft and furry new friends who are waiting for someone to make them a part of their family (my personal favorite was Scottie – if my heart didn’t belong to Coco, and if she wasn’t part of our family … Scottie would have been coming home with us). Aside from food donations, the shelters can always use empty shoe boxes, bleach, newspapers, pillows, towels, blankets, hand sanitizer – check out their needs page or contact them to see what you can contribute. When you go, you may find yourself a new member of the family!
Not done yet! We headed to D7 at Albany Medical Center to the Children’s unit. This stop included bringing bucket and box loads of books, magazines, coloring books, crayons, reading books, sketch pads, crossword puzzle books, word search books and Sodoku books for patients and their families. We couldn’t forget the wonderful nurses station who provide care to the patients! They got a delectable tray of my mother’s home baked cookies (those who have had them know, this is an awesome treat!), along with baked goods from Freihofer, hand lotions, hand sanitizer, candy and chocolate. A special thanks to Ms. Trawinski, Art Teacher at Blue Creek Elementary for having the kids make cards that we could distribute at Albany Med and at the VA to bring a little get well cheer!
Time to re-energize ~ we enjoyed a relaxing lunch at the Recovery Room Sports Grill across the street from Albany Med before we were off to our next stop …
The Albany Stratton VA Hospital around the corner. We walked into the building and weren’t quite sure where to go, and we had not planned on a particular unit or floor to visit. As we were looking around for a directory, enter Henry into our day. Henry was a maintenance man at the VA and asked if we needed help. We told him we just wanted to bring a few things to an area of the hospital and asked him where his favorite floor/unit was. He directed us to 9C. When we got in the elevator we saw the directory and it was mentioned to maybe go to the oncology wing … but we decided there was a reason we ran into Henry, and why he sent us to 9C. 9C has an official name, Hero’s Way, appropriate, don’t you think? Our hearts were a bit overwhelmed, to say the least. We delivered crossword puzzle books, word search books and more cards. We walked around and delivered them to the veterans sitting in the common room and gave the nurses their goodies as well.
One of the nurses mentioned we needed to goto see Tiny, who was still in his room. From the appearance, Tiny was a WWII veteran, a gentle giant from the greatest generation. He literally lit up when all 12 of us walked in, “What are you girls doing here?” We told him that we just wanted to stop down to see him, say hello and thank him for his service ~ there were hugs, there were some tears ~ including some from Tiny. We were brought to 9C for a reason.
We were able to pull our emotions together, to head off to the next stop … the Marjorie Doyle Alzheimer’s Center in Cohoes to play Bingo with the residents. We had a great time playing bingo (I was able to be the caller with some wonderful help and guidance from Julia.) Here we brought prizes for the bingo game – plus replenishment of prizes they could use for the future ~ and yes, more nursing station treats!
Not tired yet ~ Still a few more things on the agenda! We headed off to Carol’s Pizza in Wynantskill to pick up some of her delicious pizzas. We delivered the pizzas and some Freihofer treats to the Watervliet Fire Department and the Green Island Fire Department. A little thank you to the firefighters.
Thanks to a donation of a Gift Certificate to Red Lobster, we were off to see who was going to be the lucky recipient of the gift card. As we pulled into the lot, I could see the lucky recipient. Sandy and Amelia delivered for us. The woman did not want to accept it ~ but then graciously accepted with smiles.
And a few more notables for the day. A couple weeks ago we adopted a soldier from the Adopt a US Soldier site. The soldier we adopted (who is currently serving in Afghanistan) enjoys soccer. Coincidence??? Not sure … but as my dear friend keeps reminding me, we have no control over these things – it’s all part of something greater. Our soldier had his care package mailed yesterday, soccer ball, socks, shin guards ~ and a couple treats. Hopefully, he and others will find their way back to the states soon!
And the addendum to the day happens bright and early this morning (Monday). My first stop of the morning was to New York Oncology Hematology Latham Cancer Center to deliver Chemo Care bags for patients, treat trays and a care basket for the nurses and staff. I should have had reinforcements with me here ~ my heart was heavy going in … and heavier coming out. The appreciation from the women at the desk who helped me bring everything in was wonderful, but the heart certainly hurts after this stop. Then I delivered treat trays and baskets to The Hope Club/American Cancer Society and to the Seton Health/St. Mary’s Radiology and ER Departments. A hug from my wonderful friend Margaret (and part of the Giving Crew) was what I needed to kick start my day into work.
It has been debated and said that when one posts what they did, it somewhat defeats the purpose. As with many things, there are two sides to this view. I saw the posting from Amy a couple months ago, and it inspired me and others to do this day and others like it. The results of this day were just too great, not to share.
Now – the Academy thank you list – those who helped prepare, those who donated – what you did was a part of something that was one of the best days I have ever spent – and was blessed to have spent it with some amazing people!
Thank you to: My parents, Freihofer/Bimbo Bakeries, Joe, Mark, Joseph, Lynn, Telma, Michelle, Patty, Gloria, Gaylen, Nikki, Mary, Beth, Google, Carol, Ms. Trawinski and students at Blue Creek Elementary ~ and if I missed anyone, I will continue to add.
Stay tuned ~ The Giving Crew and kindness will be coming around again.
The Giving Crew
Anita, Victoria, Adriana, Melissa, Katie, Carol, Margaret, Kim, Jenn, Sandy, Amelia, Kristin and Maddie