27 Acts of Kindness: Days 17 and 18

Howdy, Cactus Huggers!

Earlier this week, I expressed that I was feeling a little burnt out, and hoped that the week would get better as it went on.

And I’m happy to say that it did.

The acts of kindness from the last couple of days are especially unique, because I’m not sure whether I’d be able to do them if we weren’t experiencing a time of social distancing right now. This will probably make more sense as I explain exactly what they were…

Wednesday, 4/22 – Act of Kindness #17: A few days ago, I saw the sweetest video that moved me to tears: An elderly man living in a nursing facility was gifted a pillow from a nurse with his deceased wife’s picture on it to replace the photo of her that he sleeps with every night. It is simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, but mostly it’s just an incredibly lovely act of kindness that the caretaker did for her resident during these challenging times. (Watch the video here.)

This video, coupled with thoughts of my own grandmother who spent the last several years of her life battling Alzheimer’s in a nursing home, prompted me to wonder about how the elderly in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are handling the current state of things. I can’t imagine it’s easy. We hear news almost daily about different facilities that are directly affected, and I’ve seen and read a number of stories about residents who are sorely missing their loved ones who are unable to visit them at the present moment.

It’s got to be incredibly difficult and painful.

So I wanted to research ways I could help someone, anyone, who is living in one of these facilities and who might need a pick-me-up. I came across this link, which supplied a list of facilities in the country that are accepting letters, cards, and drawings for their residents.

But I wanted to do something more.

On that same web page, I saw the link to www.carenotcovid.com. I learned that I could film a 30-seconds-or-less video that The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living will show to nursing home and assisted living residents across the country in order to give them support and hope. An excellent idea, right? It took me fewer than 60 seconds to make my video, upload it, and share it on Twitter. In addition, I made an Instagram story so my followers could see some of the ways they can help, too…because wouldn’t it be awesome if those living in nursing homes and assisted care facilities received tons and tons of uplifting messages?

Yes…yes, it would be awesome.

27 Acts of Kindness_ Days 17 and 18
Does anyone else (besides me) think that these GIFs are just the bee’s knees?

Thursday, 4/23 – Act of Kindness #18: I got to do a really cool thing yesterday afternoon: I attended a virtual meet-and-greet with high school students in which I answered their questions about how my business is handling this challenging time. This neat opportunity was made available to me by my company, which recently launched a special COVID-19 volunteering and giving page on one of its directories.

I had no idea what to expect going into this, and I was worried that I might be talking aimlessly for a full half hour to bored high school students. But that’s not at all what happened. After I introduced myself and explained what I do for my company (and how it operates), I was pleasantly surprised when they really engaged in conversation with me, and asked me thoughtful questions such as how I’ve created a sense of normalcy working from home during this time, what my biggest challenges are, and whether I think these events will change the way business and society operate in the future. It was a very fluid conversation and the students thanked me profusely for my time at the end, which made me feel like it was truly appreciated that I set aside part of my afternoon to talk to them.

And it made me feel really thankful that associates within my company put in the time and energy to make these volunteer opportunities available to us so that we can participate in something constructive to help combat feelings of helplessness.

27 Acts of Kindness: Days 10 and 11

Hey Cactus Huggers. How’s it going? Is everyone holding up okay?

(I’d ask if you’re “hunkering down” but that phrase is just overused these days. So I’m just doing a standard “how ya doin’?”)

It’s hard to believe that many of us have been quarantined for more than a month now. Surprisingly, I’m holding up okay. Sure, I miss going places, and I would really like to hug a bunch of the people who I’m missing more and more with each passing day. But I know that self-isolating is the right thing to do for the time being.

Besides, I’ve had work and some personal projects to keep me busy, and that always helps.

And you know by now that the acts of kindness challenge is among my personal projects at the moment! Here’s what we’ve got for Wednesday and Thursday of this week…

Wednesday, 4/15 – Act of Kindness #10: One thing that my family and I have been particularly grateful for throughout this crisis (besides each other) is the fact that we have food. It’s a basic need that so many people in this world go without, and we often take for granted that we not only have it, but we have a wide variety in choices of fresh produce, cuts of meat, dairy products, snack bars, and some treats, too. We’re so dang lucky that we can afford to keep our kitchen well-stocked and to have access to so much in the first place.

That’s why I chose to donate to my town’s community food bank as Wednesday’s act of kindness. I was actually able to double my donation, thanks to my company’s new COVID-19 giving and volunteering program. So not only am I fortunate enough to be in a position to give back to my community, but I’m also privileged to work for a company that’s actively supporting the communities where its employees live and work.

And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.
We’re getting fancy now with an act of kindness-inspired GIF!

Thursday, 4/16 – Act of Kindness #11: I admit that yesterday’s act directly benefited me. Allow me to explain.

When I started doing research on different acts of kindness that I could do without in-person contact with others (because obviously it’s important to protect ourselves and our loved ones right now), I was surprised by how many suggestions revolved around things like calling, emailing, and texting other people. I guess I hadn’t thought about it this way before, but setting aside the time to let someone, anyone in your life know that you’re thinking of them is a huge gesture of kindness and friendship. So, inspired in part by the notion of reconnecting with old friends, I helped make that happen last night when I video chatted with three T1D pals who I literally haven’t seen in years.

It was awesome to reunite and catch up on everything that’s happened to all of us in that span of time. And it was a major reminder to me that I know some extremely cool people! One biked across the country a couple years ago with another group of T1Ds (you may have heard about a little thing called Bike Beyond), one has participated in the Boston Marathon not just once, but multiple times (!), and the other has helped an amazing nonprofit grow from a wee tiny thing into a pretty huge freaking deal. It’s truly an honor that I can say that I don’t just know these people, but they’re friends, and friends that I’m glad I made time for (and hope to hang out with, virtually and in-person, more often).

Things have been strange lately, and are strange now, and will continue to be strange for some time…but at least the company we keep, whether it’s physically under the same roof, a few miles away, or across the country, can keep us in positive spirits and make things feel…well, a little less strange.

27 Acts of Kindness: Days 3 and 4

One of the best parts about doing this kindness challenge during an, um…pandemic is that it requires me to think creatively.

I’m trying to avoid doing acts of kindness that prevents direct contact with others, because hello, social distancing!

So this means a lot of my efforts aren’t exactly tangible. But I’ve already started to feel that warm-‘n-fuzzy feeling that often comes with doing good for others, and it’s truly lovely.

More specifically…

Wednesday, 4/8 – Act of Kindness #3: I had an incredibly frustrating and mostly nonproductive work day – and to make it even more maddening, it wasn’t my fault; rather, there were various technological issues going on with my machine. I had to seek the help of my company’s IT person in order to resolve it. We spent a full hour on the phone, and during our call, I couldn’t help but notice that she wasn’t only juggling her job responsibilities, but she was also doing what she could to take care of her three young children. I was in awe of her ability to stay cool, calm, and collected throughout the entire troubleshooting period, so I decided to express my gratitude for her via email. I sent her a note in which I thanked her for her efforts, and also told her that I know I’m not the only one in our company who recognizes her hard work (in a meeting earlier in the day, the entire group on the call was singing her praise). She responded to my email and let me know that she really appreciated my kind words after a tough day, which put a huge smile on my face.

newcity (2)
“This is the best way we know how to bring a little respite to those fighting to keep us safe and healthy and remind them that we are thinking about them.” -New City Microcreamery

Thursday, 4/9 – Act of Kindness #4: So I had noooo idea what I should try to do for my fourth act of kindness. I have a list of ideas, but I’m also open to spur-of-the-moment acts inspired by the events of my day or observations that I make. And wouldn’t you know it, I had a major stroke of inspiration when I opened my personal Instagram profile.

I was scrolling through my feed when I noticed a post from a local ice cream shop that I adore. They were announcing a fundraiser called “Scoops for Heroes”. In the post, the team explained that the purpose of this program is to deliver pints of ice cream to our heroes on the front lines; specifically, individuals who work in hospitals and first responders. The goal was to raise $2,000 to start deliveries next week, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to employing team members and purchasing the goods needed to provide pints of ice cream to our hometown heroes.

Delicious ice cream and support for a local business, its employees, AND the amazing people who work to keep the community safe…what’s not to love about supporting a fundraiser that involves all of that? I was more than happy to contribute and I have total faith in my community’s ability to come together and meet (and more than likely, surpass) the creamery’s goal.

If you’re interested in contributing, too, here’s the link to the GoFundMe page.