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InTown Gives Back: World Kindness Day

InTown Gives Back: World Kindness Day

The air might be colder, the days a little bit shorter, but there’s plenty to celebrate as we head into the holidays—and no, we’re not talking about Thanksgiving turkey. The giving season kicks off earlier than you think with World Kindness Day on November 13.

It’s not a day of rest, thanks, or even a civic holiday, but it might just be the most meaningful holiday of the year. Created in 1998, this unofficial holiday spearheaded by a coalition of NGOs and charities is celebrated across the globe in countries like Canada, the UK, Japan, Australia, the UAE, and of course, here in the US. And, it’s just what it sounds like, a holiday that transcends ethnicity, beliefs, species, and borders to bestow kindness on all living beings.

So how can you spread cheer this World Kindness Day and every day? InTown Suites has gathered a few ideas:

Civic engagement is one of the easiest ways to celebrate World Kindness Day. After all, change starts at home, and what’s more rewarding than raising up your community. Food drives for local hunger relief organizations, planting community gardens, and organizing free events are all ways to bring together neighbors while tackling a local issue.

Here at InTown Suites, the communities surrounding each of our 189 locations are important to us, especially our guests who are often new to the area. The staff at our Newport News City Center (XNN) Extended Stay got together this past Halloween to provide visiting families the chance to carve pumpkins together while enjoying some Halloween treats—all free of charge.  For many of the participants, it was their first time ever carving a pumpkin. There was even live music! When a guest heard what the staff had planned, he set up his speaker and keyboard to play some wickedly fun Halloween music to accompany the celebration. Property Manager Larriaun was in awe of what an impact such a seemingly small gesture could have. “We all had a ton of fun and the smiles drove home the point of World Kindness Day,” said Larriaun.

Lots of people have trouble asking for help. Whether it be your elderly neighbor, your children’s school, a local charity, or a country devastated by natural disaster—we can all use a helping hand from time to time. Even when “help wanted” is not advertised, you can guarantee that someone near you needs help.

Keep your eyes open for opportunities to volunteer and you’re sure to find plenty. If there’s an issue that’s been on your mind or a story that stuck with you from the news, go ahead and do some digging. Call, email, or knock on the door and offer your services. It can be as simple as offering to pick up groceries for your elderly neighbor, and as large as flying across the world to help rebuild after a hurricane. There is no how-to on volunteering, just now-do.

We may not always have the time we’d like to volunteer with a charity close to our heart, but that doesn’t mean you can’t participate. Charitable donations are a great way to celebrate World Kindness Day by giving to an organization you believe in.

Money may not buy happiness, but it does help many nonprofit organizations continue to provide the services, advocacy, and education needed to help those less fortunate. It can be daunting to choose a charity or NGO to donate to. Do your research and look for organizations that are transparent with where donor dollars go, have up-to-date financial reports on their site, and/or offer specific projects and programs to donate funds towards. The American Institute of Philanthropy has a great site called Charity Watchdog to help you find which organization to give to.

Your donation doesn’t have to be a passive action either. Many organizations host signature events like walks/runs which you can fundraise for. Want to bring back casual Fridays? Pitch the idea of a $2 donation in exchange for jeans in the office, or make the work week more exciting with a 50/50 raffle for a local charity.

Sometimes we all need a little something to help us through a difficult day. There’s nothing stopping you from brightening someone else’s day, regardless of if they are strangers or not.

Buy the person behind you in line a coffee, let someone go ahead of you in traffic, bring a sweet treat in for coworkers, or complement that person with the great shoes, even if you don’t know them. It may seem small, even silly, but every bit of kindness we give has a much bigger impact than the gesture itself. Need some more ideas? The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a great resource for inspiration.

Found yourself on the receiving end of a random act of kindness? Pay it forward! Call it good luck, karma, or chi, but kindness has the capacity to grow endlessly if we continue to give as much as we take.

Enjoy the gift of giving today and every day!