Anne Frank once wrote, “no one has ever become poor by giving”, and the difficult times we are living in now are a true testament to these words.
Giving doesn’t need to be a monetary donation – of course that always helps charities – but a small act of kindness in difficult moments goes a long way!
If your neighbourhood is anything like mine, then you’ll have noticed just how much it (and its people) have changed during the pandemic. Yes, at first everyone was panicked and worried about themselves – but this quickly transformed into a communal spirit of togetherness.
Neighbours who previously didn’t have time to say hello are now having conversations over fences. The elderly shoppers who youngsters would pip to the checkout till are now actually being offered to jump ahead by the same millennials.
And those doctors and nurses we usually moan about – they are now being hailed every week with nationwide applause.
There is no doubt that when the going gets tough we need to band together as a national, and perhaps global, community to pull ourselves through the challenging moments.
Whatever you call it, we need to find that common currency we all know – care, humanity, neighbourliness.
So here are eight easy acts of kindness you can do today:
- Know someone who might be struggling? Please pick up the phone and offer some support. Even if it is a friendly chat for just ten minutes, it could make the world of a difference to them.
- Indoors is the place to be. Be kind to the NHS and help to prevent over-burdening the already stretched health service by following the government’s advice of staying at home. All medical staff will thoroughly appreciate this, especially if we do this together.
- “Neighbours…should be there for one another” (according to one ‘80s Australian TV show!). This is a great time to build those neighbourhood communities. Help an elderly neighbour with their shopping, make a bit more dinner and drop some off next door, or simply say “hello” with a big smile whilst on your daily walk.
- Pick up some extra food items to donate to a food bank. Amidst all the panic buying and worry, there will be a significant number of people – too many – who won’t have dinner tonight at all. You could pick up an extra tin of beans and pass it on.
- Donate to charity. With many charities struggling to provide enough support to their beneficiaries, they need you to thoughtfully spare some change. A small amount will go a long way. It may not be a lot a lot to you, but it could be a lot to the person who receives it. It could be a homeless shelter, a hospice or even a mental health charity (like the wonderful Shaw Mind).
- Eight o’clock every Thursday night. Clap for our carers. They need and deserve our support and motivation.
- Make a call to a loved one who you cannot visit, and lift their spirits. With lots of great virtual platforms such as Zoom, you can now see each other’s faces (and new haircuts!) and connect live.
- Self-kindness. As important as it is to be kind to others, you need to remember yourself, too. Use this slower pace of life to do all those things you always said you didn’t have time to do before. Learn a language, take up a hobby, read more, or simply get some well-earned rest, but take care of yourself!
Kindness, compassion, humanity – they are unspoken pacts between people. They mean each person knows they are safe and supported in the other’s presence.
Kindness quickly builds a connection that can result in a lifetime bond, or mend what was destined to be eternal animosity. It usually doesn’t take much – it just takes something – and then you just need to stand back and watch the ripple effect it can have.
This is the power of kindness, and it lies within each and every one of us. Let kindness be contagious.
Muntazir Rai is the co-founder at Pledjar – a mobile app recently launched, which allows users to round-up their card transactions and donate them to their favourite charities. He is also a trustee at the international grass-roots charity Who is Hussain, and a former secondary maths teacher and head of year.