Random Acts of Kindness, Week 1

DSC03292It’s time! Time to share the lovely things that you’ve been doing this month to help others. Each December we run a few Random Acts of Kindness blog contests, to encourage you to keep your eyes open for ways that you can help others. I know that many of you are aware of this all year long (just because you’re nice like that.) For others, this is always a good reminder that it doesn’t have to cost a lot of extra time or money to help make someone’s day, and to be an encouragement to them. On Friday’s blog, I gave you links to the contest from last year, in case you wanted to read some of the comments for ideas.

What am I doing? This year, our church has been talking about encouraging people to give more, spend less, worship more, and love all. I like that idea. How do you give more, but spend less? Give your time. Give things that you no longer use. Give encouragement and support. Have you knit some of your gifts this year? Then you’ve given time to each of the people who will be getting those gifts. I’ve made several gifts this year, and hope to do that each year. I’m also going to go through the overabundance of scarves that College Girl and I have knit up, and we’ll be washing those up and taking them to a local homeless shelter. ย While we’re at it, we’ll go through our winter coat closet and see what else we can add to the pile. While I love cold weather, I don’t like to BE cold. I like to be all bundled up. There are plenty of people in all of our communities who don’t have the luxury of being bundled up, so hopefully a few warm items will help.

What random acts have you done to spread holiday cheer and encouragement? Leave it in the comments and we’ll do a random drawing for prizes that we’ll announce next week. (Do you do these things for the publicity and the drawings? No, of course not. But your comments help to give ideas to others, and the drawings make it a little more fun.) ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ll do a second Random Acts contest next Monday, and the last contest the Monday after that, so keep looking for ways to commit some acts be a blessing to others. Speaking of contests – have you joined our Facebook and Twitter pages? I put up one of our 24 Hour Quick Contests this morning, so it runs through tomorrow morning. Pop over and enter. The prize is a Loopy Ewe Gift Certificate!

Sheri justaddinginafewre-stocksandupdateslatertoday.


  1. I flew home to the US from Switzerland last week, and the gentleman I was sitting next to was coming to the US for the first time to visit his sister who was getting married. He was from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and his English consisted of “thank you”. I’m not sure this is an RAK as much as being a decent human being, but I spent several hours of the flight helping him fill out the customs paperwork and using pictures and hand gestures to explain the drink and lunch options. When we arrived at Dulles, I made sure he got through customs (they can be so incredibly mean to non-Americans, I really don’t understand), helped him collect his luggage and recheck it, and find the gate for his next flight. The trip, and this experience in particular, made me realize how lucky I am, and how incredibly brave this man was to pick up and travel for three months to a country where he knows none of the language, and certainly very few Americans speak Bosnian.

  2. I have a very dear friend who is still struggling through the grief at the loss of her beloved dog a few months ago. She is an avid knitter and hasn’t even really felt like knitting, so I am sending off a skein of Wollmeise to her (Kurbis–she likes those autumnal colors) to help cheer her up and maybe re-energive her knitting mojo.

  3. My husband and I bought our neighbor an international calling card so he could call his brother. The brother lived next door but after nearly six months without work, returned to Mexico in November. They are/we both amazing neighbors and we wanted to make sure they can stay in touch. It was just a little gesture to show that we appreciate them and hope their family stays in contact as much as possible.

  4. One lesson to me is a woman who took precious oil and her hair to wipe the feet of Jesus. This is what it means to mean to RAK. I am severely handicapped and one of things I have always wanted to do is to serve people at local shelters at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I will probably never be able to serve them so my husband sets aside money from his wages in my name because he knows I would rather serve, but in my name he sends a check, a little larger each year to feed them a very good meal. I know I do not deserve this random act of kindness, but it is my husband and if I should win, then I will make him a scarf, mittens and socks. He will wear only the socks I hand knit. He thinks that is better than anything he pays for the homeless to eat. I have been given a very special gift and I cherish him everyday. I remember this week he has gone to work everyday in sub zero weather. I am the receiver of his RAK.

  5. A member of our bookgroup has been struggling with a chronic illness. Another member has learned to knit gloves and I recently learned to do socks on two circular needles. We both contacted her this week and told her we’d love like to learn how to make these for others and asked her if she’d be our first test case. Kathy will knit her some gloves and I will do some socks. We’ll bring yarn out to her home after the holidays so she can pick out some colors and we can take some measurements.

  6. Our office adopts a family at Christmas that are less fortunature. This year I made each of them a scarf and purchased extra toys for the kids.

  7. I volunteer my time every week with New York Cares recording books for the blind and dyslexic and twice per month knitting for the homeless – with both activities, I can’t imagine not doing them, they’ve become part of who I am today ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I’ve knit gifts for each of my daughter’s teachers.

    In the more random category, every time I drive in this exciting winter weather I’m on the lookout for someone to let in – in parking lots, stuck on a side street, etc. People can get pretty mercenary when the bad weather is making them late and I’m making an effort to counter that.

  9. I’m a teacher and have been tutoring a small group of girls who aren’t my students. They can’t afford a paid tutor, but they really need help. And this is SO not about money — but instead about opportunity and comradeship and encouragement. I feel as if I am the one who is on the receiving end.

  10. Last night while Christmas shopping I observed two oldr men trying to find several titles of DVDs. They were having a tough time and there were no clerks around to help. So I asked them what they were looking for and we searched the DVDs and found the ones we were looking for. It only took a few minutes away from my own shopping and they were grateful for the help.

  11. Last Saturday was our annual trip into NYC. We do enjoy putting money in homeless folks cups. Sometimes they just seem amazed that money is being put in.

  12. It is always amazed to read other peoples RAK’s. So many wonderful things being done!

    Our church was supporting a Christmas Gift drive for our local mental health agency. We purchased 2 gifts(1 for a girl and 1 for a boy). Also there are several families in our church that are going through some really tough times. We have been blessed in so many ways and felt that we could do Christmas giving for another child in one of those families.

    I have found myself saying “Merry Christmas” more often to total strangers. Opening up doors for those with their hands full of Christmas bags or boxes.

    Also helping out a dear friend who got some very sad news a couple of days ago.

    I know I could do more and seeing everyones RAK’s is good motivation to do better.

  13. It doesn’t really seem like much, but two people were running late for step class, so I set up their board and risers. They were so happy when they got there and saw their spots all ready to go! I never ‘fessed up, just smiled…

  14. I’ve been working in a shelter for people with mental health problems for the last few months. It’s made me see even more how our society protects our most vulnerable the least. I try to keep people like this in mind in my daily life all the time, and do feel my work is an act of kindness–at least I try to make it that way by treating people with respect, giving them quality services, and advocating for them. Yes, I get paid, but very little (less than before I left work to go back to grad school in social work over 10 years ago!)

    A coworker and I bought some new decorations for the facility and brought some in. It’s a pretty dismal looking place despite our efforts in the best of times. With limited funds–even more this year than most–we wanted it to look nice. Some of the clients got involved in decorating and others commented on how much they liked it. It was really nice. I have also donated a whole bunch of stuff to the agency to make it look more homey and welcoming.

    I also have given a larger than usual contribution to the local food drive, by quite a bit. We don’t have a lot, but we have food and don’t have to worry about our next meal. For so many , especially now, that’s not the case, and the food bank, like other charities, has been hit hard by the recession.

    It’s not much, but I do try. I appreciate this contest as it makes me think of other ways I can be a kinder, better person.

  15. I almost forgot–for the last couple of months I’ve been trying to be on a yarn diet. I’ve kind of failed, but the idea was to take the money I’d usually spend on yarn and donate it here: http://www.fistulafoundation.org/

    These womens’ lives can be devastated by something that is unknown in the west, but can be so easily fixed with just a little bit of help.

    I’m making the donation at the end of the year, and throwing in the money for the times I’ve “slipped” as well.

  16. The orchestra I play in offers an annual “Holiday Pops” concert. Every year it’s just a blast (remind me next year to tell you about it). We invited the Marines to sponsor a Toys for Tots collection at the concert, and got a great many donations. I used the opportunity to bring in all those toys that my kids got when they were little, but never seemed to be interested in. I know there are kids out there who will welcome them.

  17. I work as a case manager helping seniors. Today one of my clients ran out of medicine and didn’t have enough money to buy it. I went to the drugstore, bought the medicine myself and brought it over to her. This contest is great! Makes me remember that I can make a difference.

  18. Yesterday I met a friend who had been diagnosed two years ago with breast cancer for coffee and knitting. She had gone through chemo and a lumpectomy and has been cancer-free for almost two years. After we met, she was going in for a biopsy because they saw something on her last mamogram. She was very nervous and worried. I found out she was going by herself, so I offered to go with her so she would have someone there for moral support. It wasn’t how I planned to spend my afternoon, but I can’t think of anything that could have been more important. I feel just as good about it as I hope it made her feel. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Moral was a little low in the office last week, so this week I baked ginger biscuits, there may well be rocky road tomorrow too.

  20. I’ve been doing more charity knitting this year. I’ve knit 4 pairs of Socks for Soldiers and 2 beanies and I’m knitting Neck Gaiters for a local homeless facility. I assume these would be RAKs because I don’t know any of the recipients.

  21. Gave away all my synthetic yarn to the art teacher at my daughter’s school so the kids could make hats for charity. They actually can’t use wool and prefer acrylic for washability and allergy reasons, and it also cleared my stash for new additions.

  22. It’s not random, but I last year I starting teaching adult classes in English to underprivileged adults. My class is the first one the new students take in conversation and It’s an amazing experience to watch these lovely women go from barely speaking any English at all to being able to really converse. My students from last year come up to me to tell me about how they are doing and ask for tips on pronunciation and their current homework. It’s one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life.

  23. Sometimes a random act of kindness is NOT doing something. Although I am expecting house guests tomorrow and have a long list of things to do, I decided to let my husband sleep in on the first day of his vacation instead of making him get up early to help me. I know he will plenty at his own pace.

  24. I’m taking a friend to the airport tomorrow so she doesn’t have to take a taxi cab. She is going to visit her daughter for Christmas in England and I’d rather have her spend her money on her daughter than a taxi.

  25. I’m 1/2 done with my RAKs for this week. I donated some handknit scarves and hats to the office raffle for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Also, my DH and I are going to shop for the local food pantry this weekend, for their annual food (and paper goods) drive. Everyone’s RAKs are so inspiring!

  26. We took an armload of cereal to the kids’ Christmas concert at school last night, where they were collecting donations for the food drive.

  27. This is small, but, my neighbors ( I don’t know them, they keep to themselves ) have an outside Christmas display. The angel fell over and her head came off-a headless angel REALLY bothered me! I put it back together.

  28. My RAK is to support a cat for 1 month while he/she is waiting to be adopted. I already have 2 cats and a dog, so this is a way to help other animals.

    We also donated to Toys for Tots, and our local Food Pantry.

  29. So far this week I have donated a few cans to our school’s food drive for the local food closet, tossed newspapers sitting on the sidewalk further up the drive so people don’t have to walk so far in the mornings, and left a few candies for my co-workers to enjoy at the end of a crazy-crazy week.

  30. Our local yarn shop is collecting hats, gloves and scaves for Family Services. I don’t have time to knit anything else but when going through some of my yarn tubs looking for something I came across 2 knitted scarves, never worn, never gifted. Off they go tonight to the the LYS to put in their box. They put out an E mail they are still in need of more – so I’m going to do more looking through those tubs.

  31. One of the managers in my group at work loves all kinds of nuts, and throughout the year in the afternoon he tends to go around to people and beg for a snack. I started to pick on him for being a mooch and he as since stopped. However, just last week I brought in a whole bag (about a pound) of pistachios for him.
    I have another one that was done for me. My coworker knows I love cats and so he had a Japanese cat mug and gave it to me this week. It was like our group has a mini secret Santa.

  32. Last week a visitor showed up at our end-of-semester Weaving class, having taken a 2-hour bus ride across the city to meet another student who wasn’t there. We invited her to our Christmas party, and learned she was a refugee from Myanmar, newly arrived in the United States. She had been a backstrap loom weaver in her own country and was eager to weave again, but lacked the finances to pay tuition. Our instructor was able to find scholarship money for most of her tuition, but couldn’t finance the other 25%. When she was out of hearing range, I gave the instructor a check for the balance of her tuition. Another student was kind enough to give her a ride home so she wouldn’t have to repeat that 2-hour bus ride late at night. I was reminded that our community of Yarn Lovers is made up of truly wonderful people!

  33. I go out early to scrap ice off my vehicle windows each morning at 6:30. I decided to clean the windows of my older neighbor’s car. This went on for a couple days and then one morning she popped her head out the patio window and said “caught you”. Since then we have had lovely short visits and we talk about kntting and quilting. I paid it forward and was rewarded with a new friend.

  34. I’m a letter Carrier and I live in Colorado. A week ago it was very cold! As I was going down a pretty main street to my route I saw a parked car on the side of the road. Then I noticed a man losing the battle to collect important papers that were flying all around in the wind. After having a good laugh, cause it was funny! I pulled over, ran across the street and helped that poor man collect ALL of his important papers. But I WAS FUNNY!!

    I try to help those who can’t get around by themselves everyday. On my route I’ve got a few older folks who can’t get around like they used to. So I make a point to bring their mail to them at their house. i also chat a bit with them and make ask if there is anything they need help with. They usually say no, but I always ask.

    I also try to help any animals I can. On those windy days when the wind blows open someones gate and their beloved pet is in the middle of the street, or in the next neighborhood, I load them up in my truck and get them home safely. I can’t count the number of pups I’ve had in my truck! (this also isn’t allowed)

    After writing the above, I guess to sum it up, I’m paying it forward. Hoping someday if it is me that can’t get around, or “my baby” (pup) has gotten free, someone will be there to help me.

  35. My neighor’s dog of 14 years passed away this week. I waited for her to return from the vet’s office and greeted her with a some flowers, a card and a hug.

  36. Let’s see…I mailed out the check that our dept had collected thru out the year in our Christmas Jar. This year it went to a co-worker who, unfortunately, is in hospice as a pt. Included a synopsis of why they were getting this money. Organized a gift basket to give to our lovely Coffee Cart Man who lost his significant other a couple of months ago – thought he would need some recognition that he is still thought of and that we realize this will be a hard holiday for him. Took a kid’s gift to the Community Pantry for thier Christmas party; took gift cards to the pantry as well as food off their “We Need” list; took 4 tags off the Community GIft Tree and filled their wishes with just a little bit extra.

  37. My random act of kindness this week actually wasn’t too random as it took a bit of planning. I “adopted” a family of two little girls for Christmas. I went shopping and bought all their Christmas presents. I have wrapped them and will deliver them on Monday. It was so much fun, since my “baby” is 20 now and no longer have any little kids to buy for right now. Playing Santa was so much fun!

  38. This past week, I just participated in Operation BakingGALS (bakinggals.com), which makes up care packages of homemade cookies for overseas soldiers. It adds something to the holiday baking frenzy to know that they are going to enjoy the results. One of the batches this time is Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies; wouldn’t it be nice if those folks didn’t have to be so far from home during the holidays?

  39. I have done a couple of things this week to help out. I made brownies for Temple Friday night because the person who was supposed to make them had a family emergency. I also bought toys for the local toy drive and dropped them off at the fire house.

    The last night of the Festival of Lights (Chanukkah) was Friday. I love this time of year it’s so magical no matter what you celebrate.

  40. We recently found out our neighbor’s cancer had returned and she would be dong some rounds of therapy. I decided to knit her a shawl to take with her to cover her shoulders during her treatments and at home when she is cold. She loves it and says it helps so much. I just hope she gets better.

  41. Snow. Did I mention snow? Did I say how easy it is to help other people shovel out … and shovel out … and shovel out … especially when it’s a bright, sunny day and everyone is wearing funny hats? I’m gonna keep shoveling, and am grateful that I CAN!!!

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