Last week was my golden birthday. I turned 31, on the 31st. Awhile back I stumbled across this idea about doing random acts of kindness (RAKs) to celebrate your birthday. One for each year of your life. I found a few blogs and websites with ideas. I got more and more excited about this. I've had 31 very blessed years, so giving back in small kind ways was the perfect way to celebrate. Today I'm sharing my list. Here were my parameters....first, I didn't want everything to be about money. I am not financially rich, so I had to keep costs within a reasonable budget. Let me tell you, I could have spent a lot more money! Giving was so easy, I just wanted to keep doing it!
Second, the ideas had to be something I felt good and comfortable doing. There were some great ideas out there for families, but not all of them felt like good ideas for a random adult to do alone. And lastly, 31 things didn't have to be different, I did a few things more than once because they were fun!
Here's how I celebrated....
1. I purchased a food donation bag at Cub Foods. These donations support local food banks and shelters.
2. My intention was to pay for the person in line behind me at the drive-thru. Unfortunately while I was paying, no one was in line behind me! I opted to purchase a $5 gift card and asked the cashier to use it on the next person that comes in line. I saw a truck pull up as I was pulling out. I hope they got to take advantage.
**My boyfriend's response was "Wow, you know that cashier just pocketed that gift card right?"
My response to him: "Well, if he needed it, then I'm glad I could help."
3. I donated a few bags of healthy dog treats to the Minneapolis Animal Care and Control. I follow them on Facebook and my heart breaks for the poor dogs there. I cant foster (I've got my hands full already with my 2 dogs) so I donated some things they mentioned they needed.
4. I baked a dozen cookies for some RN's. My friend Kelly is a nurse, so I sent a box of homemade cookies with her to work and asked her to share with her RN friends. RN's do so much, hopefully you haven't needed their care, but when you do, you'll be grateful to have them.
6. I sent my sister a gift in the mail. She actually forgot some things at my house on her last visit. We lived 6 hours apart, so the next time I'd see her wouldn't be for quite some time. I chose to mail her the items and included a gift to enhance the feng shui in an area of her home where she needed some assistance.
7. I sent a dozen home baked cookies to a complete stranger using Gift A Stranger
**Technically this RAK failed. The recipient refused my package and it was returned. But the fact is, I tried to bring some joy and deliciousness into their lives.
8. I donated toys, treats, and a gentle leader harness to the Animal Humane Society. Our Sookie was adopted through them. She was our first pup, and stole our hearts! Who knew 5 pounds could change 2 people do much?!
9. I delivered dog theme cupcakes to the wonderful vets and staff at Broadway Robbinsdale Hospital. Caesar has had a lot of health issues in recent months and they have taken fantastic care of him.
10. I put quarters in the candy/toy machines at a local store. Hopefully a curious child will get a fun surprise!
11-12. I put quarters in ziplocks with a "Please Enjoy this Random Act of Kindess" card that I found HERE and taped them to soda and vending machines.
13. I helped an elderly woman with her groceries.
14. I taped coupons onto items around the grocery store. Wow! I just noticed that this item was even on sale! Gosh I hope someone scored a great deal on that!
15. I baked cookies for our mailman. That guy delivers our mail (mostly junk too!) in all kinds of awful Minnesota weather! He deserves a cookie (or 10!)
16, 17, 18. I left scratch off lottery tickets, with a RAK card on random windshields. Hope someone got lucky!
19. I made a financial donation to Save A Bull Rescue. They are a local pit bull and bully breed rescue group. My Caesar is a Staffordshire Terrier, which is a "bully-breed". I've experienced people reacting negatively to him before, so I wanted to show support for a group that is trying to save other dogs like him.
20. I made a financial donation to The Pet Project. They are a local group that provides assistance to families who have fallen on hard times and need help keeping their pet in their home. They provide things like good food for pets all while keeping the pet in the home, while the owners get back on their feet.
21, 22, 23. I left happy post-it notes in random places. Like a public ladies room mirror, and on my friend Snoopy here at the airport.
24. I sent an email to the store manager at Cub Foods about an exceptional employee. An employee named Ryan helped me when I was frantic, in a hurry, and needed to pull off something last minute. He was super nice, even though I was probably a bit of a nut. He helped me solve my problem and gave me a discounted price.
25. I made a purchase from Bad Rap.org They are a pit bull rescue group that's mission is to break the stereotypes surrounding pits and bully breeds. Technically this one benefited me too. I ordered some items and the proceeds benefit the group. However, I also get some cool pit bull awareness stuff!
26, 27, 28, 29. I sent out Hello! postcards to some friends I haven't talked to in awhile. Snail mail is such a delight to receive....but sshhhh, technically the recipients haven't gotten them yet!
30, 31. I made 2 comfort care packs for the homeless. Each pack includes a scarf, thermal socks, gloves, goldfish crackers, shampoo, mouth wash, Vaseline, hand sanitizer and wipes. Technically I haven't handed these out yet. The packs are in my car. I often see homeless folks in this area of town I run errands in. But I haven't seen anyone in a few days. Hopefully they don't go to waste!
A few other things I tried to do were simple, like smile at people, give out genuine compliments to friends and strangers, and try to be a courteous and patient driver.
These joy dominoes may become an annual tradition! "Joy dominoes?" you ask....yep! My hope is that one kind act sets in motion another kind act and the joy dominoes keep on falling!