Heading into the second year of the event, Random Act of Kindness Day is already exceeding expectations for the day that celebrates paying it forward.
Aaron McRann, executive director for the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan/Similkameen, said he has already handed out 5,000 random act of kindness cards to local businesses and organizations, the total amount handed out last year, and the event is just over a week away on Nov. 6.
The cards are a reminder to pay it forward when somebody is the recipient of a random act of kindness, an event that was embraced more than McRann was expecting last year.
“I was kind of blown away actually because I was uncertain how much of an uptake there would be, but the community really rallied behind it. It really made it a fun, rewarding day for everyone,” McRann said.
McRann said it was an energizing day and he heard many stories of big and small acts that put smiles on faces. Multiple businesses and organizations in town put on free lunches and barbecues and free snacks were given out at Nanaimo Square. Some decided to tape $5 bills to cereal boxes at grocery stores along with a random act of kindness card, put loonies into shopping carts and one woman handed out loonies and scratch-and-win tickets to everyone she met on the street in downtown Penticton.
There were also more specific acts of kindness that McRann heard of, like the neighbour who helped build a better set of stairs for their elderly neighbour facing mobility issues.
“Everything from that kind of direct, human-to-human contact to helping clean up Ellis Creek, it just went on and on and on,” McRann said. “We had hundreds and hundreds of comments people sent into us. It was really cool. Lot’s of great things.”
On the website for the event www.rakdaysos.com there are suggestions for 101 different ways to celebrate the day, which are idea generators, but McRann notes there is no set way to pay it forward.
“The best thing about Random Acts of Kindness Day, everyone has a different idea and that’s kind of the point,” McRann said.
More schools will be getting involved this year, whereas last year Penticton Secondary School and Princess Margaret were the only schools participating, now Random Acts of Kindness Day will be spreading to the lower grade levels including Carmi Elementary and Witlse Elementary.
The day will take a different shape at each school depending on scheduling, but a meeting McRann had recently with principals in the area showed everybody was on board.
There will be coffee on the brew in the morning on Nov. 6 at the Lakeside Resort and materials including random acts of kindness cards, balloons and posters which people are encouraged to pick up and bring to their place of work.
A celebration of life will be taking place from 4-6 p.m. put on by the downtown Penticton merchants to honour Gordon Kennedy, an elderly man who was known to lend a helping hand when he could to downtown business owners. The event is being put on in collaboration with the Penticton Access Centre Society and the Downtown Penticton Association at Nanaimo Square, where Kennedy was known to frequent. The Access Centre Society will be on hand to take donations in Kennedy’s memory for their “pay it forward” fund.
Those who wish to donate to a memorial plaque for Kennedy, or contribute in any way can send a message to the Friends for Gordon Kennedy Facebook page.
On Nov. 6 those who have either received or delivered a random act of kindness can share their stories at www.rakdaysos.com and the hashtag #rakdaysos will help share and track stories through social media.
Pay it forward
Pay it forward by sending the Penticton Western News an act of kindness you either were the recipient of, or did for someone else in 150 words or less. Some of the submissions will be found in our Nov. 6 (Random Acts of Kindness Day) newspaper and all of them will be available for view starting today at www.pentictonwesternnews.com/community/randomactsofkindness/
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line RAKDAYSOS or drop them off at the Penticton Western News located at 2250 Camrose St.