Let’s get HONEST here: If the current state of the world were represented as a “mood” meme, it’d be a picture of a grouchy cat wrapped burrito-style in a blanket on a couch.
Okay; now let’s get BETTER: We can start by recognizing that we have access to a great power - our collective energy - and we can set about fixing to make changes. This collective power is an infinite resource and it takes almost nothing to start using it.
When things seem (or just simply are) bad, human instinct can be to “turtle up” and hide from the world. And yes; switching off and tuning out can help - temporarily. But what about if we face the world as it is – current “approaching tire fire” status and all - and acknowledge the good we can each do in it, locally? Local good has a ripple effect that should not be underestimated. Small, localized acts of kindness and love may seem inconsequential but that’s simply not true and I say that as a dyed-in-the-wool pragmatist. The act may be small, local… but the feeling it inspires is true, tangible, and pervasive. When we unleash the power of local love on our communities, we ignite lasting change and improve lives.
On days when basic human kindness seems to be in short supply it can be hard to offer a kind word or helping hand. When what we see around us is mud-slinging vitriol from even those in positions of honour, it is not time to look away. It is time to step UP. This is your job now. What are you doing to combat a general feeling of “meh” where you live? It’s not hard, it’s not costly, and it’s not time consuming to spread good feeling. The United Way Greater Toronto understands the power of Local Love and this September 17, they’re officially kicking off their 2018 fundraising campaign to encourage us all to unleash our local love on our communities. All across Greater Toronto (and remember that ripple effect!) teams of employees, individuals, families, and friends will be out making an impact, igniting lasting change to improve lives in their communities.
Hold a mirror up to yourself and your community. Is there more you can do? People generally want to do good; but we’re also human and often it’s easier to turn away, not understanding the full effect small acts of kindness can bring to a community. Let us help you!
1. Take your neighbour’s paper/mail from their driveway up to their door
2. Offer to walk someone’s dog when you’re walking your own
3. Tutor for a day at a school before a test
4. Hold someone’s door
5. Take a plastic bag on your walk and take and litter you find with you for disposal
6. Pay it forward in the drive-thru (small but mighty; you always hear about these chains via FB when they happen locally; now you can start one!)
7. Pack a lunch for the homeless couple you see each day on the Subway
8. Donate spare sports equipment back to a team after use for a member who cannot afford it
9. Donate new makeup and feminine products to a Women’s Shelter
10. Call a high school and offer to speak on career day
11. Take a friend who feels down out for a coffee and a laugh
12. Knit a baby hat for the preemie ward - and teach the neighbourhood kids to, as well
13. Offer a subway or bus token to someone scrambling in their purse
14. Smile at every single person you see today
15. Leave a roll of dog-scoop bags next to the garbage bin in the park. Sometimes people don’t “scoop” simply because they forgot their supply!
16. Give a genuine compliment to a random stranger
17. Start a “Leave a book; take a book” box
18. Donate your spare change to the charity box at checkout
19. Take the money from your empties and give it to a school fundraiser
20. Take a bag of dog or cat food and some old clean towels to a local pet shelter
21. Organize and volunteer to host a local community cleaning day (parks, creeks, etc.)
22. Give up your spot in line – even if the person behind you has more items.
23. Found a close parking spot? Leave it for someone else who may need it more than you.
24. Leave your quarter in the shopping cart.
25. Keep post it notes in your purse and leave supportive messages in random areas – bathroom mirrors, shopping cart handles, etc. get creative!
26. Advertise an offer of a day of services for the things you are good at – teaching people how to sew, growing tomatoes, baking the best muffins, or editing resumes. Bigger idea: Get a few neighbours in and have a mini-conference in your house on several topics!
27. Call your Gramma
28. Send your friends all the amazing candid photos of them you have on your phone and tell them what you were thinking when you captured them
29. Leave a soccer or basketball ready for use on a field or court
30. Send extra money with your child’s pizza/sub/burger packet with instruction for the school to use for a child who wants to participate but cannot afford to.
That’s a month’s worth of kindness right there! And we’ve made it easy and excuse-free!
If you’re looking for more ways to spread Local Love, or want to learn more about how others are bringing kindness back to their communities, visit LocalLove.ca and subscribe to the GoodNews letter, delivered Saturday mornings for a weekly dose of goodness.
Challenge yourself to give some local love and watch the movement grow! One person may not able to fix all the problems in the world, but one person can improve the mood of their local community. Get in on this – the ground floor is an exciting place to be!