Every day can be Random Acts of Kindness Day if you choose to make it so. The concept of completing community acts of kindness has been in tenets of religions, storylines of movies and books, and in the stories of humanity for a very long time. However, it was only in the early 1980s that the phrase “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” came into our everyday lexicon. From there, a movement was born, foundations were started, and a national “holiday,” #RAKDay, was cemented on our calendars on February 17th.
Reading about others acts is as heartwarming as initiating individual community acts of kindness. Just this past month, some very touching stories hit the wire about strangers stepping in and stepping up to help others. One homeless man’s small act of kindness even earned him tickets to the biggest football game of the year!
You don’t have to wait until February 17th to come around again, nor do you have to wait for a polar vortex to spread kindness. Take a respite from the news that breaks your heart and read stories that mend it. And then, make room in your day to practice kind acts on your own. If you’re short on inspiration, peruse our list of 14 community acts of kindness and choose to be the light.
14 Community Acts of Kindness to Practice
- Pay it forward. Whether it be the drive-thru, your local coffee shop, or even at the grocery store, merely paying for the person behind you may set off a chain reaction of community acts of kindness.
- Give a compliment to a stranger because nice words have power, too. Not only are compliments free to give, you never know what your kind words will mean to the recipient. Your praise could be the catalyst to changing that person’s entire day.
- Donate blood because every 20 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a lifesaving blood donation. Furthermore, each blood donation can save up to 3 lives. Right now across the nation, Blood Banks are in desperate need. And if that’s not incentive enough, donating blood is free, takes less than 45 minutes – paperwork included – and comes with a few other “perks,” too.
- Double the tip you leave your server. This community act of kindness may cost several extra dollars, but the impact is enormous. Your $20 tip on a $10 meal might be the tank of gas that gets him home. Or your $10 tip on $3 cup of coffee could be the prescription that’s been sitting at the pharmacy waiting to be picked up.
- Clean out your garage and get rid of your old car– whether it’s running or not. Organizations like Father Joe’s Villages rely on car donations to fund many of their homeless advocacy programs. Your donated car is sold at a center or auction, and the proceeds are returned to the non-profit. Here’s the best part – it’s so simple for you, fill out a form online, and the organization does the rest.
- Exercise. This one may seem odd but hang with us. You are part of the community, too. And when you’re kind to yourself, you’re in a better mindset to be kind to others. The endorphins from working out are one of the best “pick-me-ups” out there. Double your impact and bring a friend along with you.
- Pack a Winter Care Kit. Share your luck with San Diego’s homeless and donate $25 to the Winter Care Kit program. In exchange for your donation, the Foundation will pack and distribute a backsack filled with warm clothes, water-resistant poncho, personal hygiene items, and a gift card to Walmart or Target.
- If you have an hour to give, volunteer. As busy as we are most of us can free up an hour or 2 a month to perform a community act of kindness. If you’re unsure how to get started volunteering, think about the issues that mean the most to you. And then get to googling or try a (free) service like Volunteer Match.
- Pick up trash on your evening stroll. When you show your pride in your community by picking up garbage (and recycling what you can), you encourage others around you to do the same. Take a trash bag with you the next time you head out the door, and you’ll return home happier and healthier (see also #RAK 6).
- Leave a love note for your loved one – or even a stranger. Imagine the joy across your kindergartener’s face when she opens up her lunch to see words of encouragement from her big sister. Or the giggle from a moody tween when her dad jots down their favorite joke. And what about finding encouraging words from a stranger on a sticky note under the windshield wiper. We believe kindness like this can, and should, spread like wildfire.
- Check on your neighbors. Whether you pick up the phone, knock on the door, or stop them at the mailbox, just saying “hello” and asking how they are could mean the world to them. And if you have a little extra time, offer to help your elderly neighbor with yard work or other chores that might be harder for them to do.
- Donate socks to a homeless shelter. Did you know that socks are the most needed item at shelters? Purchase socially conscious socks or stock up on your next big box retailer order and drop off at your nearest shelter. We promise that this small act of kindness will go a very long way.
- Turn the tables on the customer service worker who gives you excellent service day after day. Do you have a favorite grocery checker who always checks for double coupons? Or a front desk person in your office building that is always cheerful? What about the maintenance worker at your child’s school that works extra hard to keep kids safe? Bring them a little treat to say thanks for making your life a little brighter!
- Pass on your favorite kindness stories. Lately, it seems like so many of us get bogged down by the negative, but there is so much good in the world. Make sure you’re sharing the good stories, too!
If you’ve witnessed uplifting random acts of kindness, share them with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Just tag us with the phrase #ShareYourLuck. We’ll be posting our favorites to keep the kindness chain going all year long.