September 28, 2019
A few weeks back, we shared ideas on how you can show neighborhood kindness. But today, we’re focusing on the ways you can create a kind community beyond your backyard. From a simple gesture to giving your time and money, here are 10 acts of kindness you can perform in your city in honor of Good Neighbor Day.
1. Make eye contact, smile, and spark a conversation.
This kind act works well within your neighborhood and your community as a whole, which is why we’re mentioning it once again. So when you’re out running errands or strolling a nearby trail and see someone coming your way, don’t play it “cool” and keep your head down. Instead, make eye contact, flash a friendly smile, and even consider saying “Hi” or “How are you?” (especially if you’re standing in a lengthy check-out or returns line). It can go a long way to brighten up someone’s day, even if you get nothing in return.
2. Give a sincere compliment.
Step outside your comfort zone and offer a stranger a genuine compliment. Tell the dental hygienist you like his/her shoes, your hairstylist you appreciate his/her sense of humor, and your favorite local shop owner that he/she is so good at what they do (especially in the customer service arena). You’ll not only spread happiness, but you’ll also increase your own!
3. Pay it forward.
You might immediately think of the pay-it-forward chains that occur at drive-thrus such as Starbucks or Chick-fil-A. But paying it forward can go beyond monetary generosity. Think about passing on old clothes and unused toys or belongings before a PCS to the local Goodwill, donating your blood, offering to take a photo for a couple or family who appears to be struggling to capture the perfect selfie, and even giving up your seat in a waiting room or airport to someone who needs it more than you.
4. Volunteer your time.
One main advantage of volunteering your time is, of course, giving back to your community and making it a better place. Find an organization or cause you’re passionate about, and get involved! There’s something for everyone—from animal rescue shelters to food pantries, national parks and museums, retirement homes, and even Blue Star Families communities and beyond.
5. Clean up, clean up.
Who doesn’t want to live in a clean and green community? Host a safe cleanup scavenger hunt at a local park, playground, or beach near you, or visit Keep America Beautiful’s website for more ideas on how you can make a difference where you live.
6. Let someone in a hurry go in front of you.
Whether you’re in the car or at your local grocery store, chances are, you’ll see a lot of determined people eager to get to their next destination or cross another to-do off their list. So why not let someone go ahead of you? In the grand scheme of things, you’ll only have lost out on a minute or two at most, and you lessened the stress of your fellow commuter or shopper. Who knows – you might inspire them to pay it forward!
Whether you give your money, old books to a library or school, or even unused non-perishables for a local food drive is entirely up to you! No matter how you choose to donate, you can feel good about the fact that you’re supporting causes close to home and helping ensure needs are met in your backyard!
8. Hold the door open.
It’s an unwritten social code we all know and appreciate! Especially if someone’s hands are full. Plus, this is such a simple, random act of kindness that doesn’t take up much, if any, of your time, and shows your good manners to your fellow community members. Oh, and if someone does this for you, read #9 below.
9. Say thank you.
Show your appreciation for your local heroes such as law enforcement, military, fire rescue, hospital staff, and teachers. Bring them coffee or donuts, flowers, or a basket of useful goodies they can use day-in and day-out (e.g., lip balm, sunscreen, cleaning wipes, protein bars).
And don’t forget your mail carriers and sanitation workers! Give them a handwritten note of appreciation attached to some baked goods, bottled water, or a gift card for a warm cup of coffee during colder months.
10. Support local businesses.
Small businesses unite the community. So why not be a thoughtful consumer and show you support them by choosing to purchase gifts from their store during the holidays and leaving positive reviews online (via Yelp or social media pages)? When you do, you’ll directly put your support and money back into your neighborhood.
Want to increase your sense of belonging and connectedness to your community?
We’re eager to support you and empower you to thrive, no matter where you may be at on your journey as a military family. Click here to become a member of Blue Star Families for free today, and get access to local events and resources! We can’t wait to welcome you.