This week is Random Acts of Kindness Week with Valentine’s Day on the 14th. It’s a time to “share the love” and to step up our random acts of kindness. I am all for candy, flowers, notes and cards, but I really love how United Way finds other ways to bring joy into people’s lives now and throughout the year.
Heart of Florida United Way, for example, is calling on more than 200 volunteers to help alleviate hunger and homelessness throughout the Orlando area with a project called Share the Love on Valentine’s Day. This day of service will allow volunteers to share their love through a variety of projects including: sorting food donations at a food bank or emergency pantry; serving a meal to homeless families; cooking a meal for students at a school for at-risk youth; putting together weekend snack packs for low-income elementary students to take home; and more.
United Way of the Piedmont is asking volunteers to assemble “Bags of Love” to be delivered on February 14 to recipients of Mobile Meals. The gift bags will contain items like a Valentine’s card, candy, toiletries, gloves, or books. This project has proven to be one of the community’s favorites; typically United Way donates more than 600 bags. Companies, United Way donor affinity groups, students from a local middle school and others are participating.
These United Way volunteers are practicing deliberate acts of kindness in connection with Valentine’s Day. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, which is an international nonprofit, recognizes random acts of kindness about this time each year. The immediate call for action is for an individual to attempt a random act of kindness, like leaving your change in a vending machine, or saying good morning to a stranger. The foundation offers ideas for random acts of kindness, shares lesson plans for teaching kindness in the classroom and has a place for sharing your stories as well.
I hope you find lots of opportunities throughout the year to step out of your comfort zone and attempt a new way to give of yourself. Whether your kindness is random or deliberate, when you reach out a hand to one, you improve the condition of all. That’s what it means to Live United.