Random Acts supporters from all over the world astonished us with their creativity and generosity during Random Acts’ #1KActsRA project to fund one thousand acts of kindness. April Redman, Random Acts supporter and a founding member of the non-profit Callaway Cares, took this opportunity to help a group of veterans in her area who are experiencing homelessness. Using a #1KActsRA microgrant, she was able to give them a meal and protect them from a swelteringly hot day.
Beating the Heat
April is an expert at working with limited resources to make a difference. When the summer heat in Callaway County, Missouri, made being outside unbearable, April immediately thought of her unhoused neighbors.
“This act was a continuation of care we have been giving to this group of homeless people for the last couple of years. We greatly lack the resources necessary to get them off the street,” she explained. Even though Callaway Cares cannot provide housing, they are still helping this group in other important ways.
“We regularly try to care for them in ways like picking up their dirty laundry, paying for the occasional shower at the truck stop, taking them dry goods, and providing them a post office box to receive mail,” April said. On a particularly hot summer day, she came up with a plan to keep those veterans cool, comfortable, and fed.
Thanks to our generous donors, April was able to use Random Acts funds to buy five unhoused veterans a meal at a fast food restaurant. The staff at the restaurant made sure that the men had their privacy and dignity respected by closing the dining room to other patrons. While they were waiting for their food, April and one of the men had a short but meaningful conversation about her shoes.
“The sneakers I wore that day had a hand painted depiction of Frida Kahlo on them. It led to a conversation we had never had before. This shy veteran had gone to art school and once dreamed of a career in art. I have worn these sneakers countless times and never has anyone known who the depiction was of in our community. He was the first. While it sounds silly … to me it was not,” she said.
After eating, relaxing in the air conditioning, and using the restroom, the group stopped by a gas station to pick up drinks before returning to their hand-built shelters in a wooded area.
Every Little Bit of Kindness Matters
While April expressed sadness that there was not more that they could do for these men, she knew that they appreciated her thoughtfulness and care. “They all told us thank you countless times. This helped to keep them out of the heat at least for a portion of one of the hottest days,” April mentioned. Although one small act of kindness may not fully repair the damage done by a cruel world, it is certainly a worthwhile step in the right direction.