Kindness is Helping a Teacher with Classroom Supplies

This post is part of #Write31Days where bloggers write every day in October on one topic. I am writing about Acts of Kindness, random and otherwise. It will be interesting to note how I am different and/or how my community is different.

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I just read that 94% of teachers nationwide spend, on average, $479 of their own money each year on classroom supplies. That is a lot of money coming out of their own pockets. Many of these teachers also have children and are paying for supplies for their own children, as well.

These teachers used their own money  because they want their students to have basic supplies and experiences that enhance the quality of their education. They are being kind to their students; kind at a big cost to themselves personally.

Synonyms for kind include the following … thoughtful … considerate … charitable … sympathetic … philanthropic … neighborly … humane … generous … big-heated.

Since 2003 I’ve bought LOTS of school supplies to put into my Operation Christmas Child (OCC) boxes. I get these on sale all year round and have plenty of school items to include with the other gifts (hygiene, toys, clothing) I put inside the boxes.

Several years ago, I thought to ask two teachers I know, if I could get anything for their classrooms. Both needed coloured pencils. One teacher also asked for dry erase markers. This year I thought to ask another teacher friend and she also asked for dry erase markers.

I must confess, I don’t always think about them when I am shopping; whereas, OCC is always on my mind. But I want to change that mindset. I want to be kind to these teachers. So I texted and asked what I can get them. They responded with  . . .

  • erasers
  • black, dry erase markers
  • tissues
  • hot chocolate
  • pudding cups

A package of dry erase markers, coloured pencils, or tissues are things I can pick up when I grocery shop. Each item is less than $5, but is a huge benefit to my teacher friends, who all work in low-income and high homeless areas.

Sometimes being kind is about having open ears and eyes. And sometimes it is about spending $5 on a school item instead of on a carton of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia.

Your Turn . . . Do you buy supplies for a teacher’s classroom?  . . . Or have you been oblivious like me? My children are in their 30’s, so it hasn’t even been a thought to be kind in that manner. . . . If you are a teacher and/or already buy for a classroom, what are some items you’d suggest?

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

My Landing Page for This series . . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure.  Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

Go here for yesterday’s post: Kindness is Baking a Birthday Cake for Someone You Don’t Know

Previous #Write31Days Topics

Thanks go to Elizabeth Symington for making my #Write31Days button and basic graphic for the kindness quotes. Elizabeth is writing a 31 days series on Summer of Service in Yosemite.

. at . 2 comments

Kindness is Baking a Birthday Cake for Someone You Don’t Know

This post is part of #Write31Days where bloggers write every day in October on one topic. I am writing about Acts of Kindness, random and otherwise. It is my hope that my community and I are different as a result of this 31 Day Series.

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Is birthday cake an important part of your childhood memories?

My answer is, “Yes.” I don’t remember all the cakes my mom made. But I do know that she made our cakes. A family favorite was German Chocolate cake. I don’t think I ever made my kiddos a German Chocolate cake. But I did always serve them a specially decorated cake that matched the theme of their birthday party. Receiving a homemade birthday cake always made me feel special. Giving my kiddos a homemade birthday cake, was one of the ways I hoped my kids would feel special.

Did you know that there are kiddos who never get a birthday cake? Never.

This is one of my practice cakes.

In 2010 Libby Gruender from Sunnyvale, CA read about a young girl in a Midwest foster home who received a birthday cake. The girl reacted by running to her room while crying. Of course the foster mom thought she had done something wrong and went upstairs to right the situation. It turns out, the girl was emotional because this was her very first birthday cake.

Gruender decided right then to make sure kids in her community received cake for their birthdays. That is why she created Cake4Kids. There are currently chapters in ten CA counties.

Mary Barnes started Sacramento Cake4Kids in July, 2018. So far there are about thirty Sacramento bakers. Volunteer bakers are required to attend a one-hour orientation. All the orientations are on a Saturday and are from 12:30-1:30pm. The schedule for the 2018 orientations is as follows:

  • The October 20th­­­­­ orientation will be held at Arcade library.
  • The November 10th orientation will be held at Arden-Dimick library.
  • The December 22nd orientations will be held at Arcade library.

This vegan, chocolate, gluten-free cake was the first cake I delivered to the agency for a four-year-old boy.

Knowing firsthand how getting a birthday cake equals feeling significant, I am now part of Cake4Kids. My daughter, Elizabeth, also joined this ministry and so the fun is doubled. So far we’ve each made one cake. Although we used the same recipe for the cake, our two cakes looked very different. My marbled cake was for a four-year-old boy. Elizabeth’s flower bedecked cake was for an 11-year-old girl.

There is no minimum number of cakes a volunteer must make. We are advised to practice even before we accept an assignment. And we are advised to make our cake and decorate it a day or two early. That way, should there be a mistake, it is not a rushed scenario to correct it.

You don’t have to be a fancy baker in order to make a valuable contribution. I am not a fancy baker although I’ve made scores of birthday cakes. A fun aspect of Cake4Kids is learning new things.

  1. I learned to bake a vegan cake that was tasty. Two sample cakes were thrown away.
  2. The vegan frosting recipe was easy to create.
  3. A chocolate cake is much easier to coat with white frosting, if you lightly pre-frost it, and then put it into the freezer or refrigerator to harden before putting on the main coat of frosting. This is known as dirty icing or crumb coating.
  4. YouTube videos helped me to perfect marbled frosting.
  5. I made chocolate letters out of melted chocolate chips spooned into an icing bag. I was pleased with how the letters I made looked.
  6. One tip that made sense is to use a turntable and a bench scraper (yes, from the hardware store) to ensure that the frosting is evenly distributed.

This is my daughter’s cake. It was also chocolate, vegan, and gluten-free. Both our cakes had vegan, vanilla, butter cream icing.

And this is just the tip of the information iceberg. There are many resources on Pinterest, in books, and at the Sacramento Facebook Cake4Kids group. Plus, Cake4Kids gives each volunteer $100 to use towards classes at cake shops and online.

Barnes recruits volunteers to bake birthday cakes for kids who are homeless, in foster care, recent immigrants, or victims of human trafficking. Cake4Kids is for children and young adults up to the age of twenty-four. Bakers never meet the kids who receive cakes. We drop them off at an agency in order to protect the child’s privacy. More information can be found at their website, Cake4kids.org.

If you’d like to be kind and bring joy into a child’s life, attend an orientation. Together we can help Sacramento area kiddos eat cake.

Your Turn . . .  How important is cake to your birthday celebrations? . . .  If you live in California, consider joining in and making cake as an act of kindness. . . . If you are a cake decorator, what is your best tip? . . . Do you have any questions?  

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment.

My Landing Page for This series . . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure.  Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

Go here for yesterday’s post: Kindness is Organizing a Sock Drive

Related Posts . . .

Previous #Write31Days Topics

Thanks go to Elizabeth Symington for making my #Write31Days button and basic graphic for the kindness quotes. Elizabeth is writing a 31 days series on Summer of Service in Yosemite.

. at . 10 comments

Friday’s Fave Five October 5, 2018

Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices. ~ Robert Braathe

This week I am choosing an attitude of gratitude by sharing five things from my week. These are five things for which I am grateful. If you’d like to join, go here.

ONE. Milky Coffee.  Usually I drink 1-2 cups a month. This week I have been having a cup a day at work. Even though I accidentally bought decaf, it is a comforting beverage, especially with all the milk I put in.

Your Turn . . .  Is there a beverage you drink everyday? The main beverages I drink are water and hot tea.

TWO. Single Serve Coffee Maker. A friend gifted my this and it uses both ground coffee and K cups. Since it is a single serve machine, it is small and fits just right in my limited space kitchen. I learned that I can get 15 ounces of delicious brew from each K cup. Now that I own a coffee maker, I might have more than (my new average of) one cup a day.

Your Turn . . . Is there a kitchen appliance you can’t do with out? Some friends have been astounded that I didn’t have a coffee maker. 

THREE. Cemetery Tour. Some senior folks from church had to cancel last-minute, but 4 of us made it to Sacramento’s historic, downtown cemetery. Our guide, Melanie, dressed in period costume. We were fascinated by the dozen or so stories she told about our capital’s citizens.. I want to go back because there is more to hear.

Your Turn . . . Does your town offer historic tours at the cemetery? Have you been?

FOUR. HARD RAIN. It only lasted 15 minutes or so. The rain flooded the sidewalks but was quickly absorbed into the ground. Thunder, lightning, and the pound of the rain were delightful to experience. Don’t you love the smell that rain brings? I just learned there is a name for it: petrichor. The term derives from the Greek words petra, meaning “stone” and ichor, which is the fluid that flows in the veins of Greek gods. Of course, researchers have a more scientific explanation.

Your Turn . . . What is your view on rain? . . . Did you know that the smell associated with rain has a name?

FIVE. #Write31Days. It began on October 1st. I am still on track and have even pre-written several posts. I am enjoying thinking about Acts of Kindness, Intentional and Random. Here is the list of posts I’ve written so far. Kindness is . . .

  1. Organizing Meals
  2. Delivering Meals
  3. Calling Someone
  4. Organizing a Sock Drive
  5. Baking a Birthday Cake for Someone You Don’t Know

Your Turn . . . Are you participating in #Write31Days2018?  . . . Have you ever? Why or why not?

You don’t have to answer all my questions. But please do reflect on the good things your week yielded.

It would be kind of you to leave a comment.

Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather Large Amount of Gratitude. ~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

. at . 4 comments

Kindness is Organizing a Sock Drive

This post is part of #Write31Days where bloggers write every day in October on one topic. I am writing about Acts of Kindness, random and otherwise. It will be interesting to note how I am different and/or how my community is different

___________________________

 Socks are like a national right, right?

I don’t like having cold feet. I wear socks, not slippers, when feeling chilly. I love socks: plain, patterned, mismatched, whatever. I love socks.

So when I was asked to organize a sock drive for my church, I didn’t hesitate. The collected socks will go to folks who attend the October Neighborhood Meals (NM). Neighborhood Meals is a free community meal served the last Friday of every month at Cordova Neighborhood Church from 5:00 to 6:00 PM. If you are hungry, come and eat; if you’re not, come and serve.

Any type of sock is accepted. But Carla Wilson, a long-time organizer of NM, suggests we bring mainly men’s socks. Black socks are most requested because they don’t show the dirt so easily. These black socks are also comfy for women.

We already have 30 pairs of socks! We will be collecting until the end of the month. The socks will be dispersed at the Friday meal in October, the 26th. Please consider supporting this act of kindness.

Happiness is warm feet.

Kindness is giving someone socks so they can have warm feet.

Have you ever thought about organizing a sock drive? In 2008, Ryan Lundquist (from my area at that time) sought to collect 680 pairs of socks so that each homeless student in our school district could have a pair. The drive scored 3,144 pairs of socks!

Organizing a sock drive might be more energy than you are able to extend. How about donating one pair?

Can you imagine NOT having socks especially as we come into the rain and cold of Fall? 

Your Turn . . .  Are you at a time in your life, when you can take on organizing a sock drive?  . . . If you live in the Sacramento area, please consider this act of kindness, donating socks to the October Neighborhood Meals.  . . . If you don’t live near me, consider buying socks and donating them to your school district and/or local shelters. . . . 

Everyone deserves socks. 

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

My Landing Page for This series . . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure.  Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

Go here for yesterday’s post: Kindness is Making a Phone Call

Related Posts . . . The Forks Eloped With The Socks!

Previous #Write31Days Topics

Thanks go to Elizabeth Symington for making my #Write31Days button and basic graphic for the kindness quotes. Elizabeth is writing a 31 days series on Summer of Service in Yosemite.

. at . 5 comments

Kindness is Making a Phone Call

This post is part of #Write31Days where bloggers write every day in October on one topic. I am writing about Acts of Kindness, random and otherwise. It is my hope that my community and I are different as a result of this 31 Day Series.

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People of every age group and every economic bracket are lonely. I work at a church and oversee the ministries to women and seniors (55 years and older). Men and women tell me they are lonely, lonely for time with family and friends. Many don’t have a sense of belonging. They feel unseen.

Does this describe you or someone you know?

Kindness looks at people and sees their needs. Sometimes the need is simply to notice. To ask questions. To listen. To share time and laughter.

“And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them.” Ephesians 4: 26-27, 29

Our kind words are gift wrapped in beauty with a bow of encouragement.

Give someone this gift of kindness. Today, make a call to a . . .

  • family member.
  • neighbor.
  • co-worker.
  • friend.
  • someone from church.
  • club member (book, civic, sorts).

Who would you add to this list?

 

Your Turn . . . Do you think of a phone call as an act of kindness? . . . When was the last time you received such a call? . . . Are you motivated to make a phone call today? . . . Do you have an act of kindness suggestion I can add to my list?

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

My Landing Page for This series . . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure.  Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

Go here for yesterday’s post: Kindness is Delivering Meals.

Related Posts . . .

Previous #Write31Days Topics

Thanks go to Elizabeth Symington for making my #Write31Days button and basic graphic for the kindness quotes. Elizabeth is writing a 31 days series on Summer of Service in Yosemite.

. at . 5 comments

Kindness is Delivering Meals

This post is part of #Write31Days where bloggers write every day in October on one topic. I am writing about Acts of Kindness, random and otherwise. It is my hope that my community and I are different as a result of this 31 Day Series.

___________________

Many folks are willing to make a meal for someone else. But for a variety of reasons, they cannot deliver the meal, especially if the recipient doesn’t live locally. Therefore, they think they cannot be part of this act of kindness.

This is where I come in. I offer to deliver the meals. Even though I didn’t shop and prepare the meal, I get to be part of this act of kindness. Win-Win for everyone.

Sometimes being kind doesn’t take a lot of time or money.

But it is appreciated all the same.

Your Turn . . .  Have you ever been the driver of prepared meals? . . . Would you find it helpful to be part of such a team: food preparer and driver? . . . Please share any acts of kindness I can add to my list.

The next time you organize meals, ask if it would be helpful for someone else to deliver the meals. You don’t have to be the driver, as I bet there are others who will volunteer for that act of kindness.  . . .If you do this, please let me know how it goes.

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

My Landing Page for This series . . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure.  Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

Go here for yesterday’s post: Kindness is Organizing Meals.

Previous #Write31Days Topics

Thanks go to Elizabeth Symington for making my #Write31Days button and basic graphic for the kindness quotes.

. at . 7 comments

Kindness is Organizing Meals for One in Need

This post is part of #Write31Days where bloggers write every day in October on one topic. I am writing about Acts of Kindness, random and otherwise. It is my hope that my community and I are different as a result of this 31 Day Series.

___________________________

While you don’t have to meal plan to eat, you do need to shop and sometimes you need to prepare the food. There are times when those two tasks are beyond our capability.

  • You just had a baby.
  • You are going through chemo and/or radiation.
  • There is a death in the family.
  • You are OVERWHELMED with life for whatever reason.
  • Broken bones make it impossible to navigate driving, stores, and the kitchen.

This list could go on. You get the picture. Sometimes we need help with meals.

When I broke my shoulder, I was helpless. I couldn’t wash my hair, change my top, peel a banana, open food packets, or drive. And I was soooooo fatigued. Getting meals was a life-saver.

I recently organized meals for two families (during the same time period). One had hip replacement surgery and one broke a collarbone which resulted in surgery, as well. Folks in my church wanted to help these two families. So I took charge and organized meals.

When I am in charge of this ministry, I usually arrange for three-four meals a week for two weeks. Then we reassess. I get volunteers in multiple ways.

  • Facebook group
  • Email blast
  • Phone calls/Texts
  • Meal Train  – Meal Train is a free, online calendar that organizes the meal giving experience. All the “organizer” has to do is input emails for the requests to go to.

There is no perfect way. I’ve used them all. 

My best tips for meal organization are as follows . . . 

  • If my volunteers want a reminder, I give them one.
  • Encourage your meal givers to use disposable pans/containers.
  • Be on time and let your person know when you are delivering the food.
  • Unless invited, don’t make drop off time a time of socialization.
  • Even if you never get a thanks from the recipient, KNOW that your meal was a huge blessing. In fact, invite the recipient to not send you a thank you note.

All the meals delivered to me were on time, delicious, and followed my food preferences. I healed much better because of these folks. I cannot remember if I sent thank you cards or not. My brain was pretty cloudy due to the pain and meds. So in case I didn’t say thank you – Here it is. “THANKS A LOT, Friends. You made a difference to the quality of my life.

Your Turn . . . Have you ever organized meals? If yes, share your tips. . . . Have you ever received meals? Again, same question, what are tips you’d share about that experience?

If you know someone who is having a hard time, be kind. Ask friends and organize some meals. In my experience, people are happy to be part of this kind act.

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

Related Posts . . .   My cooking means someone died? . . .  My Recipe Index

My Landing Page for This series . . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure

Previous #Write31Days Topics

Thanks go to Elizabeth Symington for making my #Write31Days button and basic graphic for the kindness quotes. Elizabeth is writing a 31 days series on Summer of Service in Yosemite.

. at . 5 comments

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60 Acts of Kindness, Intentional & Random to do my 60th year

The Finish DateMarch 1st, 2019
4 months to go.

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