No matter how dire the circumstances, kindness from others is one thing we can always count on. By now we’ve all seen the myriad ways communities around the world are stepping up and taking action to help others during the pandemic, showing solidarity by joining a mutual aid group or committing individual acts of generosity. But even small, random acts of kindness can make a world of difference—especially for those dealing with feelings of isolation and loneliness. Here are some simple ways for you to join in on the action.
Send greeting cards to neighbors and essential workers
Sometimes the simplest act can make the biggest impression. Writing a note to a neighbor is a safe, fun, and easy way to stay connected. You can even turn it into an art project by crafting your own cards like Kaloni Taylor, a member of the Idealists of the World Facebook group, did. If you’re not into arts and crafts but still care about presentation, Hallmark is offering free greeting cards for this exact purpose!
Spread the love beyond your neighborhood by dropping a note for your mail carrier or delivery person the next time they come around. You can also mail cards to your local medical center to show your appreciation for our healthcare professionals. And for bonus points, order stamps online to show your support for the postal service, which has been struggling during the pandemic.
Fulfill an item on a stranger’s gift registry
With weddings and baby showers canceled or turned into Zoom meetings, many new families are getting started on their own and without the in-person support of friends and family that they may have envisioned. One generous gift from a stranger can go a long way toward putting a smile on someone’s face, and that’s just what one user on the Random Acts of Kindness subreddit decided to do.
An essential worker going by the handle ColoradoNative456 came into some extra money and wanted to do something nice for others. She checked Amazon’s baby registry database and chose names at random, eventually sending gifts to families around the country. “There's no way of telling if someone from the registry is in dire need or not, but I hope that I at least brought a smile to their faces as their packages arrived,” she noted in her post. “Everyone needs something to smile about.”
Fulfilling random registry items has been a go-to random act of kindness for a long time, but the pandemic has given the gesture a special weight, as it’s a way to show a global sense of camaraderie in times of isolation. To send a random baby or wedding registry gift, just type any name (even a single letter) into the top search field on Amazon and select 2020 to get the most recent registries. Once you’re ready, hit “search,” and you’re off!
Leave care packages for those in need
Whether you’re someone who has always kept a full pantry in case of emergencies, or you just got lucky at the supermarket once or twice, a great random act of kindness is to simply share the wealth. If you have extra food or supplies at home, leaving a marked box or tote of essentials in a common area—such as a lobby or laundry room—can really help neighbors in need. You can also donate to a local food bank or pantry, or set up a table on the sidewalk outside your home and leave things like non-perishable food, paper goods, and other supplies there for others.
Another option is to make a specific care package for an elderly or immunocompromised neighbor. You can leave it at their doorstep with a note from you, or keep it anonymous—it’s up to you!
From posts on Reddit to our very own Idealist Instagram, photos are popping up everywhere showing the heartwarming effects of these simple acts of giving. If you’re looking to show kindness to others, one of the best ways is to simply give a little of what you have.
Have you tried any of these random acts of kindness? Do you have other great ideas for this list? We'd love to hear from you! Tag Idealist on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with whatever you'd like to share.