How We Spent My Birthday ~ Random Acts of Kindness

My birthday was less than a week ago, and I wanted to do a little something different from the norm and special for the big day. I remembered reading a post written by a lady who, like myself, had two children and wanted to do something nice and meaningful for others for her birthday. I read in her blog post here about how she and her children spent her 35th birthday doling out random acts of kindness to others and how it was her best birthday ever. That's exactly what I wanted! This is how the children and I spent the day: Random Acts of Kindness!
I don't know if the children were thrilled with the idea of getting dressed early and driving all about town for these random acts. Courtie, try to contain your excitement. Really. You're out of control. 
As the day went on, however, the children came around, and we actually had fun. It's amazing how much fun it is to do nice things for others, especially when you're super sneaky about it. I found these super cute little cutout graphics here that read, "Please enjoy this random act of kindness." The children cut these out for me, and we attached them throughout the day to the goody bags, dollars, water bottles, and other gifts. 
We started the day by donating 15 pairs of new warm winter gloves to the Good Samaritan, located in the back of First Baptist Church of South Boston. They accept donations of clothing and food to give to those in need. Once when I worked as a social worker, a family came to me needing a warm winter coat for their five year old son. I called Good Samaritan and asked if they had one. They not only had a coat, but the volunteer I talked to personally delivered the coat to me after her volunteer shift was over. It is truly a wonderful, giving organization that continually helps those in need. 
We then left quarters at the Laundromat with the Random Act of Kindness tag attached. This was suggested by a friend of mine who had been to the laundromat before and noticed that many people there struggled to find enough quarters to wash their clothes. This is something I am embarrassed to say that I have taken for granted. Not anymore. I hope someone gets a kick out of the random quarters!  The children and I snuck in ninja style, rounded the corner, and quietly left the quarters on the bench, then scooted out hoping to go unnoticed by the lady inside. Courtie high-fived me once we successfully got back to the car. 
We had to buy some grocery items for the upcoming food pantry delivery and some doggy treats and toys for the upcoming SPCA delivery, so while at the Dollar Tree, we each paper clipped a  tag onto a dollar bill and hid them in the store.   This was the children's favorite random act of kindness that day.
Carrington put his in the bin with the die cast race cars. Courtie clipped hers to the side of a ball bin. I left mine on the shelf with the granola and trail mix. I would have loved to have seen the person who found these, but we couldn't wait around. We had lots to do! 
We went through our closets at home, then donated our outgrown coats to the Rotary Club's coat drive. There were boxes around town, and we left ours at the drop off at the Visitor Center.
We filled a gift bag with dog treats, dog food, and toys for the local SPCA. We left the bag with our friend Laura, who fosters through the SPCA. We made sure to include a note of thanks, as well. Working with animals and trying to find foster families for them is a difficult and often emotionally challenging effort.  
Next, we filled a gift bag with canned soups, canned spaghetti and meatballs, and boxed pasta. We delivered it to the food pantry. The Halifax County Food Pantry Coalition includes Main Street United Methodist Church, Serving Hope (The Worship Center), Good Samaritan (First Baptist Church, Main Street, South Boston), and White Oak Fork Baptist Church. In addition to the local organized food pantries, the Department of Social Services located in the Mary Bethune Building in Halifax often supplies food in emergency situations to families awaiting food benefit eligibility. 
Before heading home, we gathered our spare change and made a special trip just to drop it in the Salvation Army bucket. While there, we saw Mark Foster, who had just finished his shift. These volunteers are the best! 
We (I) wanted to do more than we were able to do. I was reminded that  a little bit of planning goes a long way. In the future, I will plan better and do some things ahead of time, like baking cookies. When we got home from the deliveries, Courtland and I baked 18 batches of cookies to deliver to the fire department, police department, emergency room, and others. We had to put off delivering the cookies that day, because we simply ran out of time. 
The next morning, the children delivered caramel mocha coffees to each of their teachers with the kindness notes attached, and gave them each a calendar from their dad's bank. The teachers loved their coffee drinks. Mrs. Glascock texted me to tell me how much she enjoyed hers.  While in line to get the coffee, I paid for the breakfast of the person in line behind me. I paid the cashier and gave her the kindness card to hand to the man instead of his bill. That was my favorite act of the day. 
After the children got home from school, we had a few more loose ends to tie up. We put kindness cards on bottled waters to leave at the gym, pulled magazines to leave at the social services waiting room, and bought travel sized packs of baby wipes to leave on the baby changing tables at the health department, with the kindness cards attached. 
Finally, we started a drive to raise items to send to soldiers overseas. We purchased a couple of things and announced on facebook that we wanted to collect items, and got a good response. We are looking forward to completing that project soon. 
Again, we didn't get everything done that we would have liked, but it was a good start, and now I have lots more ideas of what to do next year. Here are a few:
1. Pick up trash at the park
2. prayer garden
3. cancer garden
4. Put flowers at cemetery, flagpole
5. Coffee to teachers/school personnel
6. Soldiers
7. Police department
8. Fire department
9. Hospital
10. Bank
11. Public library
12. Sheriff’s department
13. Prizery
14. Visitor Center
15. Coats for coat drive
16. Care packages to military
17. House of Hope
18. Animal Shelter
19. Chastain home-take cookies and read books?
20. Play guitar and read books at the alzheimers unit
21. Bake cookies for nursing home
22. Leave something nice for mailman
23. Take something to neighbors
24. Gloves to good Samaritan
25. Food to food pantry
26. Books to child care or checks to different organizations
27. Well water, animals and farming,
28. Change at Laundromat
29. DVDs at Dentist Office