Creative Ways To Help Others - And Yourself!

Years ago, I lived in the tiny town of Kutztown, Pennsylvania, where a Baptist church was started by a progressive and brilliant group of young people. One of the many creative things they did was schedule “AOK Days” (AOK meaning Acts Of Kindness), where they would go out and help others. I was not a member of the church but I liked the idea and they let me tag along. At the end of the day, I felt great! My mood was lifted, I got a little exercise, and the smiles of those I helped really made my day.

Over the years, I have added more AOKs. Some require small purchases from the dollar store; others are completely FREE. Now, during the pandemic, acts of kindness are especially important. Those I have listed can easily be adapted to adhere to the social distancing and health safety guidelines, as well.

Why not go out and help someone – and yourself – this week? Here are 15 ideas to get you started:

1. Tape a small ziploc bag with some leftover change in it to a vending machine for others.

2. Leave homemade cookies in the mailbox with a note thanking the mail carrier.

3. Drop off a vase of flowers at a nursing home or hospital.

4. Take your local fire department (or ambulance corp) some muffins or donuts, thanking them for helping the community.

5. Bring your local librarian some flowers or a funny card.

6. Hide Easter eggs all over the local park and leave a basket on the picnic table with a note stating, “We’ve hidden eggs throughout the park, please enjoy an egg hunt with your children.”

7. Leave a small gift for your favorite waitress or waiter.

8. Show up on freshmen move-in day at the local college and volunteer to help.

9. Leave coupons near the items in the grocery store (make sure they are current!)

10. Leave a few diapers and wipes at a public baby changing station.

11. Make hygiene packets for the local shelter. These were a ziploc baggie containing dollar store items, such as: a toothbrush/paste, washcloth, smalll bar of soap, hand sanitizer, and comb.

12. Hide a dollar bill in a book at the library for someone to find.

13. On a hot, summer day, offer to help elderly customers at the grocery store with their groceries, giving them a bottled water to stay hydrated.

14. Volunteer at a local state or national park, cleaning up trails or picnic areas.

15. Go to a local animal shelter and offer some free dog walking service for the afternoon.

Now, by the end of every day I try to help someone (human or critter) because a little Act Of Kindness sometimes goes a long way. Have a great day!

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