I was at Giant Eagle in Washington Square on Sunday doing my usual grocery shopping. It was me and my daughter, going about our business, singing silly songs about ravioli and picking up a few miscellaneous items. We approached the deli line and grabbed a number, something that an eager-to-help pre-schooler is always happy to do. It was just after we took our number that I noticed that a woman was already in line ahead of me, but she had failed to take a number of her own. I offered her our spot in line, we were in no rush. It was only fair, she was there first. She smiled sweetly and told me to go ahead, even though two more people had already approached the line and secured numbers of their own. She was a mother herself, although her kids were grown and she now had great-grandchildren, and she understood that shopping with a little one wasn’t always the easiest task. I was grateful and thanked her for her kindness. All in all – this whole scene lasted about three minutes. But here I am, two days later, still talking about this small, but poignant gesture.
I feel lucky to be a member of a small, charitable organization in town called The Canton Chapter of The Foundation for Community Betterment (Betterment for short). Our mission is simple, we help those who share our philanthropic spirit, but lack the means help themselves (I’m paraphrasing). Last fall, during our annual charity fundraiser, Rocktoberfest, several posters around the room carried this message:
GOOD IN THE WORLD
During the event, second to our well-deserving recipients, these posters became kind of the star of the show. Attendees, Betterment members and recipients alike were seen being photographed holding these posters. It became clear that this message was a big part of what our organization is all about. Good people doing good things for other good people. It was simple – so simple that we decided to make it our theme in 2013.
This week (Feb. 11-17) is national random acts of kindness week and Betterment is celebrating by kicking off our own kindness campaign here in Stark County. Each of our members is currently loaded up with stacks of our "Be the Good" cards. The front of the card shares the message above. The backside of the card shares this message:
“You just received a RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS sparked by the FOUNDATION FOR COMMUNITY BETTERMENT. We believe a simple gesture that touches just one life can positively impact an entire community. Our hope is to create a RIPPLE EFFECT of goodness. Will you join us! Pass along this card when you do. BE THE GOOD.”
The back of the card also asks recipients of the cards to share their story on our Facebook page or through Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #BeTheGoodCanton. And most importantly, we ask that those who receive the card, hand it off to someone in return.
Only a few days into this campaign and we are already feeling the excitement and the impact on those who have been on the receiving end of one of these cards. One of our members shared a card at the Washington Square Starbucks drive-thru over the weekend when she bought the coffee order for the person in the line behind her. Within a few hours, a message was posted to Betterment’s Facebook page thanking us for the kind gesture.
Random Acts of Kindness do not have to be expensive. They are mere gestures that allow others to be reminded that there IS good out there in the world today. For me, being granted that closer space in line at the deli was enough to remind me that there ARE good people out there – people who do not have a calling card to be thanked. If you do find yourself on the receiving end of one of these cards, or a kind gesture of any nature, please share it with us, and most importantly, pass along that kindness to another.
Be sure to “like” The Canton Chapter of The Foundation for Community Betterment on Facebook to follow the stories of those who have given and received these acts of kindness, and let’s not forget about the hashtag #BeTheGoodCanton – you can also find us on Twitter @BettermentRocks. If you are interested in handing out some cards of your own, please comment below and we will be happy to find a way to get these cards in your hands.