This past Christmas season, Random Acts Staffer Maria Christian helped plan her community’s 9th Annual Day of Kindness in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. This day is meant to help folks in need in southwest Virginia by offering food, clothing, toys, hygiene products, and more free of charge.
Maria made sure her Random Acts’ funds were put to good use, shopping with her family at Walmart and Dollar Tree to distribute the money as much as possible. Along with Random Acts’ contribution to the event, she stated that they had people reach out to them on social media to donate additional items. This generosity continued until they had to rent out a storage unit because they had run out of space in her home!
An Overwhelming Success
Along with collecting items to donate, they also had to organize the setup for the event, loading up a cattle hauler (“Yes,” Maria said. “For cows.”) with everything they were going to use at the gym the next day.
Many of the community members turned out to help, setting up tables and fun activities, like archery, to entertain the children while their parents “shopped.” Even the gymnasium itself was donated to the cause for the day.
“The Day of Kindness 2019 was an overwhelming success,” said Maria. “I’m amazed every year at how great the need is and also at how wonderful the people are.”
They had more people attend this year than in the previous years, some coming from areas outside of Big Stone Gap just for this event. Several hundred people received personal hygiene items and even more found suitable clothing from the donations.
“I can’t overstate how important this is to our community,” Maria told us. “It allows people to have winter clothing, it gives them food to keep in their pantries for when they need it, it gives kids toys for Christmas. Mainly, it gives people a reason to believe in the good in the world and in their community.”
A Moment of Kindness
One of Maria’s personal favorite moments was seeing a young boy wear a hat likely meant for older gentlemen throughout the event before he decided it could go to a better home.
Every item there was donated in some way, by a church, an organization, or an individual. Afterward, the few remaining food items were donated to a local food pantry, and the remaining clothes were given to Red Barn, a second-hand store that funds a women’s shelter in town.
“It’s hard to see so many people that struggle, even when you know you’re helping because I can only be there one day out of the year,” Maria said. “It’s a fun, uplifting experience though, and I would love to see more Days of Kindness across the world!”
Feel free to read more of our Kindness Acts and share them on social media. You never know how one kind act might inspire another.