Changing the world one random act of kindness at a time.

In dark times, an act of kindness, no matter how small, can lighten up the lives of those who need it most.

As COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise with the emergence of the Omicron variant, many places around the world have gone back into lockdown. Large gatherings have been restricted, businesses have closed or transitioned to a work-from-home format, and schools have turned back to virtual. As a result, many of us have nothing more to do than sit at home.

Self-isolation is one method proven to help prevent the spread of infections. But in an attempt to prevent one evil, we may become more vulnerable to another: domestic violence.

While at her local library, Random Acts Regional Representative Susan Mickelson saw a flyer for Crisis Center for South Suburbia. She knew then that she wanted to help the domestic violence shelter somehow. Then, she read a news article about the uptick in domestic violence cases during the pandemic and sprung into action.

Crisis Center for South Suburbia offers free essential services to domestic violence victims. The nonprofit operates a 35-bed emergency shelter that serves Chicago’s south suburban communities.

A More Personal Touch

donations for domestic violence shelter

Janice from the Crisis Center receiving Susan’s donations

Susan reached out to Janice, the Center’s development associate. Janice said that their biggest need is bedsheets. Each client receives a set of bedsheets on arrival at the shelter. When these women and families move out of the shelter, they take those sheets with them to their own apartments.

Janice also shared a wish list of household items for one client’s new apartment. She suggested that Susan order the items online and have them delivered directly to the shelter.

But Susan wanted to make the delivery more special, more personal. She decided to deliver the items to the shelter herself.

When Susan showed up with a car full of donations, Janice and her boss were surprised how much she had fit in her car. Not only had Susan stuffed her car with bedsheets and blankets, but also a microwave and other kitchen and bathroom supplies.

After loading a cart with what they thought were all the items, Susan realized she had forgotten more items in her car. She went back and pulled out two more blankets that matched the bedsheets. Janice joked that, with all the donations in the car, she was not surprised that Susan forgot those last two blankets while unloading.

The Feel-Good Power of Giving

Although Susan could not meet any of the shelter’s clients due to confidentiality, the shelter staff were absolutely delighted by her donations. The staff told her “thank you” countless times, mentioning that the items would be greatly appreciated by the clients.

Susan was not having a particularly good day before she drove her donations to the shelter. Then she met Janice, who was so excited to see her.

“She was waving at me from through the security window like I was her long-lost sister,” Susan said. “The joy and appreciation that the two staffers showed really turned my day around. I feel so helpless at the state of the world, but today I had the power to make at least two people smile.”

Many of us have increased pandemic-related stress, which may lead to increased stress levels in other areas of our lives. If you are looking for ways to help community members in stressful or unsafe situations, reach out to your Regional Representative for inspiration. Need funding to turn your kindness idea into a reality? Submit a kindness act proposal here.