Maybe it's the big red leotard factor, but I often get emails from people in town that essentially say, "I want to give xyz but don't know WHERE or even HOW give." It's exciting because one of the major long term goals of our Kindness Project is to be able to facilitate this very thing.
"The Kindness Project is about changing cities BY good INTO good through multi-level, coordinated, intentional, strategic KINDNESS. There is an untapped level of synergy and interconnectedness between business, government, social agencies, the church, education... along with regular families ALL working TOGETHER. The Kindness Project will facilitate change on a city-wide scale, towards ordinary people taking care of each other through coordinated kindness."
On Christmas Eve I got a message from a local Brantford non-profit organization saying, "We have TOO MANY Christmas gifts and need to find homes that need encouragement and a boost... and we need to do in the next few hours!" Good problem to have, but it's a real problem. Distribution systems are a real issue... even with kindness.
Thankfully... I believe the culture of the city of Brantford has begun it's transformation towards the "People caring for People" that, while many feel it is utopian in modern society, is actually quite achievable with intentionality and wise work. So I asked my social media network, "Who would like to be Kindness Superhero today?" One of my primary messages as Captain Kindness is that kindness is super-power. Putting someone else first and thinking of them before ourselves can be such a cultural anomaly that when it happens, it's fundamentally transformational for the giver and the receiver (and in the case of this story) the one who gives the "seed to the sower (2Cor9:10)"
I had MANY responders! I simply got to play laptop-point-person gathering information & stories to pass on to the organization for them to put together gift packages. Kindness Superheros across the city drove to HQ, armed themselves with toys and headed into the city loaded to the hilt with GOOD. Real people caring for real people, knocking on a real doors with real things to try and dissolve real burdens.
- There was the story of a home where a lady on disability had lost her husband and job in November. She was really struggling and someone who had been Christmas-tapped-out was able to meet a need and breathe encouragement!
- There was another story of a plucky Christian family of 6 with one income who had a lot go wrong in the past few months financially. They had been struggling with their faith and my friend reported that they had "lost their Christmas spirit this year." Boom. Kindness changed the narrative of the story.
- There was another story of a local pastor who was in the middle of putting together his Christmas Eve sermon and was able to include giving gifts to the lower income kids who would be attending in a few short hours.
- There was another story of something very unique and special. I have a friend who works rehabilitating federal offenders who rarely get work... and certainly couldn't afford gifts for their kids. Rehab of relationships is a tricky process. My friend got the gifts, put them under the tree and wrote, "From Santa" on them anonymously. She said that it brought the men to literal tears. She wrote me after, "This year has been all about giving for me. This facilitated GIVING in this situation. These guys DO care and DO have a heart but just made bad decisions."
I love that story. That's all of us isn't it? We humans can carry a lot of heaviness with us through our daily walk of life. And more often than not, it's unnecessary. But something as simply as this attitude can thwart our very destiny. It steals from us. But it's not a hopeless situation. Oh no it ain't.
In each of these situations there was a practical need met... yes. But it's is rarely if ever REALLY about that. Acting generously and kindly opens OUR own hearts to see the world differently. Giving "seed to the sower" opens that door for others freedom. And the recipient is reminded that they aren't alone. The impact of kindness is EXPONENTIAL!
In our city, there is more than enough to care for each other. We lack nothing except sustained human intention towards each other instead of ourselves. This was a marvelous Christmas Eve because I believe I caught a glimpse of what the future could look like.