29 Random Acts of Kindness
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Photo courtesy of AIDS/Lifecycle.
William Wordsworth once said, “The best portion of a good man's life - his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.”
Can you remember the last time a total stranger made an act of kindness that affected you in some way? Chances are you do. It’s those little gestures of compassion and generosity that make our world a better place and keep us going through difficult times. Often we get wrapped up in the stresses and pressures of our daily lives, whether at work or raising a family, and miss opportunities to touch the lives of others in both simple and significant ways. The following are suggestions of how to give back throughout the entire year. Share it with your family and friends and watch a little thoughtfulness go a long way and truly make a difference in your community.
Volunteer at a Thanksgiving dinner.
The Auburn Community Thanksgiving Dinner will serve up all the trimmings from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gold County Fairgrounds. For more information, call Sharon at the Salvation Army of Auburn at 530-889-3990.
In Placerville, The Upper Room in Placerville will also provide a hot meal. Visit stpatpv.org/serve/upper.
Cut out extra coupons and leave them at the checkout counter.
Even if you can’t enjoy all the discounts in the Sunday paper, there may be someone behind you in line that could use the extra savings.
Donate $$ to a local food bank.
Twin Lakes Food Bank
El Dorado County Food Bank
Placer County Food Bank
Send a holiday card to someone you haven’t spoken to in at least five years.
Getting mail from an old friend will certainly be a welcome addition to bills and junk mail. Let them know what you’ve been up to and that you’re thinking about them this season.
Be a Santa to a senior.
Choose an ornament at a participating local store with a gift suggestion and brighten up the holiday for a senior at an assisted living community.
Ask someone new at work to join you for lunch.
Being new to an office can be an awkward and intimidating experience. Ease their nerves with an invitation to get to know them better over a sandwich on your lunch hour.
Take a child to a performing arts show.
Share a love for theatre, music or dance with a younger person and expand their cultural mind. Check out calendars at the Folsom Lake College Regional Visual and Performing Arts Center (flc.losrios.edu) or the Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center (livefromauburn.com).
Harvest underutilized fruits and vegetables and donate to local food assistance agencies.
Last year alone, Harvest Sacramento collected over 20,000 pounds of produce with the help of 150 volunteers. Visit them at harvestsacramento.com.
Make homemade Valentines and distribute them to sick children.
Brighten up an ill child’s day with a little paper love creation from the heart. Contact the children’s hospitals at UC Davis (ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/children and Shriner’s Hospital in Sacramento (shrinershq.org).
Be sure to say “I Love You.”
Sometimes we forget to tell those we care about how much they mean to us. Those three words make a difference when spoken often and sincerely.
Shave your head and raise money for kids with cancer.
Be one of hundreds of people each year who face the clippers in support of conquering kids’ cancer. Get info on local St. Baldrick’s Foundation events at stbaldricks.org.
Buy a lottery ticket and offer it to a stranger.
We all could use a little luck in tough economic times. Offer a scratcher to someone and see if it pays off in a big way.
Plant a tree in someone’s honor.
Give back to Mother Earth with something green and watch the gift grow. For tips on planting, visit the Folsom City Arborist at folsom.ca.us/depts/community_development/arborist.asp.
Cash in your recycled items and donate the profits to a charity.
In the spirit of Earth Day, there are plenty of local organizations protecting our environment that could use some cash to aid their efforts. And what better way then by recycling! One to consider is the northern California chapter of The Sierra Club (motherlode.sierraclub.org).
Leave an extra 10-percent tip for really good service.
Many times a waiter or waitress will go out of their way to make sure you are having a pleasurable dining experience. Offer a little something extra the next time you’re fortunate to be served by one.
Have spring flowers delivered to someone you love.
It may be an old fashioned gesture, but a fresh bouquet of flowers is certain to perk up someone’s day.
Read a book to preschool children.
Share a favorite fairytale or story with a child and spark their imagination. Many local libraries accept volunteer storytellers, like the Downtown Roseville Public Library. For more information, visit them at roseville.ca.us/library/kids_place. Check the other local libraries for their offerings (folsomlibrary.com; eldoradolibrary.org; placer.ca.gov).
Bike 545 miles to help end AIDS
Celebrating 10 years, the AIDS/Lifecycle brings hundred of courageous riders together to raise money to stop the disease. Join them on their seven-day trek from San Francisco to Los Angeles and make a difference. Visit them at aidslifecycle.org.
Be a youth mentor
The Boys and Girls Club of America provides numerous outlets for volunteers to make a difference in the lives of young men and women, in education, leadership, arts and athletics. Check out the Greater Sacramento chapter at bgcsac.org and the El Dorado Hills Western Slope chapter at bgce.org.
Adopt a horse
El Dorado Hills-based The Grace Foundation cares for rescued horses and provides equine assisted learning programs, including those geared around early intervention of child autism. For more information, visit thegracefoundationofnorcal.org.
Use a recyclable grocery bag at the market
Paper or plastic? How about neither! Take in an eco-friendly reusable bag and do something kind for the environment.
Get to know a veteran in your community
Make a friend with a man or woman who served our country and show your appreciation by donating time and volunteer skills. Contact your local veterans' organizations for ways to get involved. Visit vfw.org or legion.org.
Add a quarter or two to a parking meter that’s expired.
Put your extra change to good use and save a stranger an expensive parking ticket. It’s good car karma!
Find a home for a rescue dog.
Every August, Woofstock in Rocklin brings together dog-lovers and their pets in a fundraiser for various local rescue organizations. A “rescue row” of furry friends gives you an opportunity to take one home. Visit, woofstocknorcal.com. Also check out other rescue organizations such as Placer SPCA (placerspca.org), Sacramento SPCA (sspca.org) and the El Dorado Humane Society (530-642-2738).
Donate your favorite summer read to a local library.
Was there a book you couldn’t put down on your summer vacation? Share the thrill with another reader by donating your copy to your local library (folsomlibrary.com; eldoradolibrary.org; placer.ca.gov).
Buy office supplies and help support a nonprofit.
Give Something Back Office Supplies lets you stock up on your workplace essentials and give back to your community at the same time. Check out their amazing business at givesomethingback.com.
Share a favorite holiday recipe with a friend.
Have a delicious dish that just can’t be reserved for your table only? Offer one to a friend who cooks so he or she might add to their upcoming holiday menu.
Think pink for breast cancer.
Show your support for finding a cure for breast cancer by wearing a pink ribbon for the month of October. Visit komensacramento.org for other ways you can raise awareness.
Make a pledge to renew your kindness commitment for another year.
Kindness is contagious, the more we spread the love the longer the reach. Keep the compassion going for years to come and make our world a better place.
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