It's easy to see how to help some people, but what about those whose needs are not so obvious? This story may have happened a while back - but it was a lesson which has stayed with me and helped me ever since. It was Thanksgiving and I was volunteering with my parents at a shelter for the needy. We stood behind the counter dishing out hot food to whoever came in. Most of our diners looked like they had been having hard times, their clothes were threadbare, they were dirty. In short, they looked needy! Then, a man came in, who looked anything but needy. He was well groomed, he wore an expensive suit. I wondered what he was doing there and my jaw dropped in amazement when he joined the line for food. The closer he came to my service station the more I muttered. What was this man doing, I wanted to ... Read Full Story >>
A couple of months ago I was renting a house to work from. I was fairly well set up, but didn't own a lawn mower and after a week or two realised I would have to find some way to deal with the growing grass! Funds were short, and I was on a fairly tight budget which didn't extend to paying a lawnmowing company. I was thinking about this one Sunday as the "Mr Whippy" ice cream van pulled up outside on the street. I hadn't had a Mr Whippy ice cream for years, and on impulse I grabbed my coin purse, shook it to gauge affordability, and headed outside. On the pavement were three young boys aged around 10 years playing. I think a couple of them may have been from next door, but I was new there and hadn't really met anyone yet. It was a hot day and I asked them if ... Read Full Story >>
I've just joined this site today and have a story to share regarding my 7-year-old son. We went to visit a friend of ours that lives in a nursing home and he saw that she collected angels. As a family, we make jewelery. My son asked if he could make this elderly lady an angel necklace and send it to her for Christmas.
I purchased an angel pendant and he made a beautiful necklace that anyone would be proud to wear. I called her after Christmas to see if she had received it. She had received it, she cried and said she wore it to bed every night and that the many people who commented on it. She said, "I will wear it until the day I die!"
I told my son what she had said and he just smiled and hung his head. Now he has made her a homemade Valentine and we are trying to find an envelope large enough to send it. I have a feeling that my son will remember this lady for every little thing. I'm so proud of him! This was all his idea!
I wanted to share a story from a time in my childhood when I was living with my step mother. She worked all day so I was responsible for doing the household chores and taking care of my younger half brother. During that time in our life, my dad was not present much, but I didn’t mind, my step mother took great care of my little brother and I in any way that she could. I loved her and always wished she could spend more time with us but she worked Monday through Saturday between the hours of 8:00 am and 10:00 pm. At that time my little brother was about 4 years old and he missed her so much all the time. He would always wait up for her but would fall asleep many times before she returned and when she left for work he would be asleep. One day, ... Read Full Story >>
It was bitterly cold and I had been watching a homeless man make himself comfortable in a "shelter" next to a power unit on the canal bank. His "shelter" was a tarpaulin taped to the metal unit and anchored with rocks to keep the wind from blowing it away. He had been living there for over a month in weather that often dipped below freezing. In all the times I passed that makeshift lean-to I never saw him with warm clothing or food. I knew what I wanted to do. I was young, living at home, and when I told my parents what I wanted to do they were alarmed. I could be putting myself at risk, taking a box to a homeless person in the night time! But I knew, on some intrinsic level, that I would be safe. I went to the grocery store and got an apple box with a solid top ... Read Full Story >>
There is a man who always stands out on different corners of our city, holding a sign that reads "Will work for food for my family." Normally I don't have much extra to help him too much. Many times my mom is with me and she makes me pull over and she will hand him some money. Tonight, I was on my way to the store to get milk when I saw the man. My daughter and her friend in the car. We all felt so awful that this man was standing out in the cold, wet weather. Many people make comments that he should be able to work. I often wondered why he would stand out there rather than be in the warmth of a building to work. Well, he may not have an address, and you need an address in order to apply for a job. Either way, I don't ... Read Full Story >>
For years I was a reporter, with five of those years covering an affluent community. Month after month of little girl beauty contests, conservative politics and people calling for the extermination of prairie dogs wore on my soul. Then I wrote "Becoming Jamie" the story of a seven year old girl, born a boy, but aware of her own transgender status. I veiled the family, for their safety. The photographer created an image that illustrated the girl's journey thus far to herself. We ran the story. I went back to the grind of the daily story, the details of government and sustainable business, and the thousand other stories swirling through a community. Then I got an email that I had won a prize with the press association. I had enetered only one story. I knew it was "Becoming Jamie." I called the family, to tell them the story was up for an ... Read Full Story >>
My brother and I were shopping at a department store one day. My mother had taken him home separately and had returned to get me. As we were walking towards the car, I saw a homeless man sitting outside the department store we were shopping at.
I told my mom to hold on a minute. I walked towards the man, and handed him a twenty dollar bill. I usually wouldn't do this, but I knew that I had to this time. When I handed it to him, a tear ran down his eyes, as he said "God bless you".
When I returned to the car my mom told me she was so proud. I asked her why and said that I felt that when people need help, and we have the urge to help, we need to just help them. She then told me that my brother, who she had taken home earlier, did the exact same thing.
By James David Mancini February 2011 I remember as a young boy I was living in a poor suburban neighborhood as a foster child. Lost in the system of child services and forced to spend lots of time alone. I would often wander the different neighborhoods on my own and offer to help rake a yard, mow a lawn, or wash some walls in exchange for some pocket money just to buy some school clothes or candy. I will never forget this one time I knocked on the door of this elderly woman and asked if she needed her leaves raked in the yard. She asked why I was not in school and I showed her my torn pants and the soles of my shoes, which were worn and no longer keeping my feet warm and protected. She allowed me to work in the yard for pretty much that entire day, feeding ... Read Full Story >>
We had our first child in January and were so overwhelmed by all the love and kind wishes that people from around the world shared with us and our little one. She was showered with blessings, flowers and gifts from near and far and in some cases from people we didn't even know personally! :) My husband's business friend had a shirt made with her name on it for the football team he supports, another lady in Ireland (who we have never even met!) had candles made with her name on them, another friend in India had dresses made for her, our aunt knitted lovely hats and sweaters for her, friends bought her loads and loads of adorable clothes, another friend from New York had a blanket made with her name on it, another friend sent us cupcakes from a famous bakery that spelled out "Welcome Sareena," another friend gifted her ... Read Full Story >>
18 years ago I discovered I was unexpectedly pregnant, I was on my own and in an extremely limited financial situation. I worked at a pet shop, a job I loved, but cleaning cages with unrelenting nausea was pretty awful to deal with. Having little money, and unable to keep anything down, I started losing weight instead of gaining it. There was a neighbor woman I had visited with a couple of times, and to my surprise, she started working at the pet shop too. Everyday, for lunch, she would produce large, organic salads and other very healthy meals. To my surprise she insisted that I have some of her lunch. I tried to refuse, but she was determined. Puzzled, I managed to eat, and when I admitted to everyone at work that I was pregnant, she was very excited, and kept on feeding me, despite the fact that I couldn't hold it ... Read Full Story >>
I recently posted a story about a local man in a difficult situation, and how his plight had inspired my children to help. I posted a follow on story about how my children started a fundraiser (making angels) to help out a local man and his family. The man is out in all kinds of weather, holding a sign that reads, "Will work for food for family." We don't see stuff like that in our area much and he touched my children's hearts and they raised $100.00 for this family. This story is the final instalment. Yesterday my husband and I took the kids to give the man the money they had raised for him. My husband called him over to the car, and I got out to explain who we were and tell him about the fundraiser. He was very soft spoken, rather young, and extremely respectful. We talked about how hard times are right now, ... Read Full Story >>
My now 7 year old grandson, who lives 100 miles away, has had my mobile phone number memorized since he was 4. Since then, he has called me every night before he goes to bed to tell me about his day or just to say "Good Night Gramma". He also frequently calls me at other times during the day just to share a happy or sad moment. Many times he's dribbling a basketball with one hand, or laughing with a friend about something that I never quite catch on about, or crying about something he may or may not want to talk about while I'm on the other end of the phone. I just listen and empathize or laugh with him - just share his current emotion. I always let him be in charge of the subject, the emotion, and the amount of time he's on the phone with me. Many ... Read Full Story >>
Her facial deformities make her look scary. She is around eight or nine years old and she begs for living. The first time I saw her I got a fright and almost squealed. A few times after than I handed over some coins. Later, I felt annoyed with her and her parents for scaring others to get money. Eventually I thought of giving some more money or talking to her but I was worried she might become a nuisance, so I didn't. I told myself she probably wouldn't understand my language, but that was just an excuse and I felt bad about it. Today, when I saw her sitting on the footpath counting coins, I thought she would come to my car and beg but she didn’t. I started walking home from my car but then thought maybe I could do some good here if I could overcome my inhibitions, discomfort ... Read Full Story >>
This morning, I remembered a childhood memory. It made realize that some of the acts of kindness that we might do spontaneously might never be forgotten by the recipients. I was six years old and in foster care. My foster mother was not the kind of person I would have chosen to stay with. One morning she sent me to the store for a sack of flour. On the walk back home I was doing what any six year old would have been doing -- playing. Because of that I dropped the sack of flour and it burst open spilling the flour all over the ground. I knew that this meant I would be in big trouble when I got home. So I ran back to the store and asked the clerk if I could have an empty bag and a scoop so I can gather up as much of the flour ... Read Full Story >>
When I was about 6 years old I lived in Kenya. There was a lot of poverty and there were always street children on the roads asking for money. There was such a big divide between those children and me and I grew up very aware of being so fortunate. We had a wonderful and very kind driver, John, who had been working with my family for decades. He used to take us to and from school. One day we had to take a detour on the way to school and whilst we were stopped in traffic a young street child, probably no more than 10 years old, called out with a friendly greeting. “Jambo, John!” He approached the car and shook John’s hand. John then gave him a little bit of money and waved him off with a smile before we carried on our way to school. I had watched the whole ... Read Full Story >>
Jeremy was born with a twisted body, slow mind, and chronic terminal illness that had been slowly killing him throughout his young life. Still, his parents had tried their best to give him as normal of a life as posible and sent him to St. Theresa's Elementary school. At the age of 12, Jeremy was only in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris often became exasperated with him. He would often disturb the class by squirming in his seat. drooling, and making grunting noises. Sometimes, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, he just irritated his teacher. One day, Dorris called his parents and asked them to come to St. Theresa's for a consultation. Jeremy's parents sat quietly in the empty classroom in front of Ms. Doris, and she exclaimed to them, "Jeremy really ... Read Full Story >>
My son, daughter, and I have been trying to write to people in our family and friends who are going through difficult times. So, recently we decided to make personal note cards for this purpose. My children sat down immediately and wrote to my brother with cancer, my sister with a sick husband, and an elderly friend living in a nursing center. I was so proud of them for being so thoughtful! Then, my son went out of the room and I heard a lot of whispering between my daughter and him. Well, my sister was over and had mentioned that a very close friend of hers (an elderly lady battling breast cancer) was having a birthday. Knowing that she loves angels, he and my daughter found a beautiful picture of an angel online, they printed it out, and he made her a gorgeous birthday card to cheer her day. ... Read Full Story >>
A friend's son was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. Some of the parents at the school where he was enrolled formed a support team headed by the wife of one of the physicians on the case. E-mails were sent out asking for people to volunteer to bring meals to the hospital for them. More people volunteered than there were slots available. A call went out to send things that might be interesting and helpful to get him to participate in his therapies (chemo and physical) and boxes arrived almost daily, including some from South America and military locations in the US and elsewhere. His Mom started a blog about his treatment and virtually every time she described something Mattie needed, someone stepped up to help. He fought bravely but lost the battle almost a year ago. His mom says they would not have made it though without the support of "Team Mattie," those ... Read Full Story >>
[Posting on behalf of a friend who I met at a recent dinner and was inspired by the intention behind Smile Cards.] Chapter One: It was Christmas Eve for most people – for me, and my longest-standing friend Lanie, it was just another Saturday night. We were going to meet for a waterside dinner on the Northern shore of Long Island before I headed onto I-95 on my way back to Providence. I arrived about 45 minutes early and on impulse popped into the Nail Salon a few doors up from the restaurant. The owner approached me asking what services I wanted. “Manicure” I answered. “Manicure Pedicure” she chirped. “No, just manicure today – I only have 45 minutes.” "Manicure Pedicure," she re-chirped. "Manicure Pedicure 45 minutes!" She walked me to the back of the salon, pointed to a chair, turned to her staff and without a seconds pause, she pulled up a chair ... Read Full Story >>
Ethan is six and three quarters and Emily just turned seven, and they are best friends. Their pre-school teacher, Kathleen Albert, has been teaching them about kindness. So, for their graduation project, Ethan and Emily decided to raise money to help feed hungry people by collecting cans. When they were done, they had raised 5,304 dollars for the San Francisco Food Bank - enough money for 15,912 meals!
Top 10 Stories of 2012 Countdown - Story #9 - A Spontaneous Opportunity to Truly Teach My Children About Generosity
My kids and I were heading into the superstore over the weekend. On the way, we spotted a man wrapped in a blanket and holding a sign that said, "Lost my job. Family to Feed". At this store, a sight like this is not a normal occurrence. It was obvious the man was embarrassed, but desperate. My 10-year-old noticed him commented on how bad it must be to have to stand outside in the cold wind. While we were in the store, I asked each of the kids (I have seven :) to pick something they thought our 'friend' outside would appreciate. They picked a couple apples, a package of shrimp cocktail, a sandwich, some cheese and a bottle of juice. Then my 17-year-old asked, "Can we get him a gift card?" I thought about it. We were low on cash ourselves, but... well, sometimes giving from our 'need' instead of our 'abundance' is ... Read Full Story >>
Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month. The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought that we could, so she dictated these words: Dear God, Will you please take care of my dog? Abbey died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I'm happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to swim and play with balls. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her. Love, Meredith We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey & Meredith, addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Meredith pasted several stamps ... Read Full Story >>
One of my favorite things in life is my monthly date night with my daughter. We try to include some kind of Smile Card activity whenever we can. This time was no exception! It was 119 degrees today where we live so we thought we would make our kindness act something cool. After eating we went to an ice cream shop. As we paid for our ice cream we told the woman behind the counter that we were doing a random act of kindness and we would like to buy ice cream for the next person who came to the counter. We handed her the Smile Card to give them and told her how we would like to remain anonymous. She read it and told us she thought what we were doing was awesome. She said she would do it and we sat down at the table near the counter. My daughter wanted ... Read Full Story >>
We were one of the last couples among our friends and family to begin having children and were inundated with free baby gear and hand me downs. We are truly fortunate. We were blessed with 2 beautiful babes and for a time, I thought that we might have a third but time and life have moved forward and it became clear that it was not going to be. It took me awhile to be able to pass along our good fortune, partly because I was not ready to part with baby items and partly because we kept looking for someone who had a need. Finally, in the last week or so, I've managed to go through all of the kid's clothes and today, sent my husband to our local Crisis Nursery with SIX black garbage bags full of kid's clothes.When he arrived home, he told me that they were very happy for ... Read Full Story >>
My 7 year old daughter wanted to do some kind act for our mail man. So she made a thank you card, drew a picture. She also taped an organic fruit bar as a small gift. Also tagged him with a smile card. She is so excited:))seeing her smile makes me smile :)))
I had to visit my sister in another town because her husband was very ill. My whole family could not go because school was in session. My children stayed back in their father's care, except for the youngest, who was just a year old. I was nervous taking a train journey alone with my daughter. I knew that I had to go, so I gathered all my courage and boarded the train. After waving goodbye to my husband, I settled down. There were three other passengers in that compartment. Two of them were quite elderly, while one was a young man. My daughter was crying, missing her dad. I tried to console her, but to no avail. I tried giving her water, then some biscuits, but her crying would not cease. By this time I was getting worried about the disturbance being caused to the others. One of the oldies was ... Read Full Story >>
I gave our neighbor children a few daffodils from the bunch blooming beside our front stairs. They were sweet about it, and made a big show of smelling them.
I asked the children what kind of flowers they were and they both smiled, "YELLOW!" :)
I said they could pick a few more daffodils from the front landscape and the boy, about 4 1/2 years old, held one up for me and said, "Here, this one's for you!"
On a busy drizzling chilly Saturday at the local supermarket, I noticed a fund-raising boy scout, with his mom, selling candy bars for his troop.
I drove to the curb, waved him over, paid for 2 and told him to give them away. He was a little hesitant and a little surprised but then he "got it" and was very happy.
For some reason I stopped in the parking lot and watched he and his mom for a bit. No one stopped at his table and plenty of people walked by.
I drove back, stopped curbside, got out, walked up to he and his mom and gave them another $20, telling them to give the candy bars away to anyone walking by. They were shocked and pleased and I told them it was hard work being outside on a day like this doing good works and that we need more Boy Scouts in this day and age.
They were hugely grateful, so was I and probably the adults or kids that got the free candy bars. Then I drove through Starbucks and was a little tingly all over.