52 Random Acts of Kindness for Helping Others Every Day
Performing a Daily Act of Kindness
Performing a daily act of kindness is a wonderful way to help others. A kind action not only helps someone else but may also stimulate them to help another person in turn. As a result, a ripple of kindness may develop and spread through a population. The more often a person is kind, the more ripples they will be able to create, either directly or indirectly. The thought of kindness spreading through a population like a virus is awesome.
Social and political problems, natural disasters, and poverty are widespread in today's world. Major undertakings like volunteering to help aid agencies and donating to multiple charities are important. Some people don’t have the time or the money to participate in these activities, however. Others may feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the problems on this planet. They may think that unless they are helping in a major way their aid is insignificant. This definitely isn’t true. Every little act of kindness can be meaningful for an individual who either needs or would like help.
Some Ideas for Being Kind
I follow many of the suggestions for being kind listed below. Some of the suggestions describe ways in which I have been helped myself. A few aren't applicable to my life right now but may be one day.
Acting on just one idea from this list or from a list of your own creation can be very helpful for someone in need. Performing regular acts of kindness can be even more helpful. A kind act can be short and simple or time consuming and more complex, depending on what's possible at the time. Both types of kindness are very worthwhile, especially when performed frequently. Aiming to help others on a daily basis is a great goal.
Donate or Supply Items
1. If you subscribe to a newspaper or magazine, give an edition of the periodical to someone else to read when you’ve finished with it. Make a collection of reading material that you know interests a friend and give it to them once you’ve read the material.
2. Pick up free community newspapers and magazines that might interest someone who has trouble leaving their home and give the items to them.
3. Volunteer to get library books, magazines, or DVDs for someone with mobility problems and return the items to the library by the due date.
4. If you have a bountiful crop of fruits or vegetables in your garden, distribute some of the produce to your neighbours or work colleagues.
5. If you bake items such as cookies or muffins or if you prepare canned food, give some to a neighbour or friend.
6. If you have young children's clothing in good condition that your family has outgrown, offer it to a friend who needs it.
Help Friends, Relatives, and Acquaintances
7. If you have friends or relatives that you communicate with only once a year, such as at Christmas time, send them a letter, email them, or phone them at another time of year as well.
8. Give a friend or relative an occasional gift on a non-celebration day. This can be either a material item or a gift of service.
9. Buy or make a greeting card for a family member, friend, or acquaintance, even if it's not a special day. Your card could express your love, friendship, or gratitude.
10. If a friend or relative has mobility problems, lives nearby, and has a dog, volunteer to take the dog for a walk (perhaps with your own dog).
11. Volunteer to mow a friend's lawn if they are unable to do it themselves. In the fall, clear fallen leaves from their garden or from areas where people walk. In winter, volunteer to clear their driveway of snow.
12. If a good friend or a relative needs an item to complete a home or garden project and you have the item, consider lending it to them temporarily.
13. If you have your own vehicle and a friend or neighbour doesn't, consider doing an occasional job for them that would be difficult or impossible to accomplish by public transport.
Some tact may be needed when performing the last two activities described above in order to avoid an equipment loan becoming permanent or a transportation job becoming too demanding or too frequent.
Help People at Home and at School
14. If your spouse, partner, housemate, or roommate traditionally does a household job such as making supper, occasionally volunteer to do their job (in addition to your own).
15. Surprise a family member or friend by washing their car.
16. Secretly add a loving or cheerful note to a spouses's or child's packed lunch container.
17. Make sure that you make time in your schedule to do at least one fun or interesting activity with your children or family each day.
18. If your children's school is holding a bake sale for charity, make something that can be sold.
19. If an event such as a potluck meal is being held at school, contribute an interesting dish.
20. Contribute to charity fundraising events at your children's school, such as bottle and penny drives.
21. Whenever you declutter your home, think about whether a charity could use the items that you no longer need.
22. If there are charity collection bins near your home, such as bins for donated clothing or toys, regularly deposit items that are in good condition but are no longer used. Making a donation on the first day of each month might be a suitable goal. If your children are old enough to understand what a donation is, let them decide whether or not to donate a toy that they don't use.
23. If you have an electronic device that works but that you are discarding because you’re buying a new device, give the old device to someone who can’t afford to buy their own.
24. If you enjoy knitting, crochet, or another craft, consider using your hobby to support charities in some way.
In the video below, researchers discuss their studies of the science of kindess and its possible effects on the brain.
Help Others While Shopping
25. If you buy something at the supermarket that is on sale for a “two for one” price, give the second item to a friend or the food bank. (For those who aren't familiar with the organization, a food bank is a facility that stores donated food and distributes it to those in need.)
26. Every time you do a major shopping trip to a supermarket, pick up one non-perishable item to give to the food bank. Deposit this item in the store's food bank container if there is one, or save it at home and visit the facility when you have a collection of food.
27. When you buy your own groceries, also pick up groceries and other items for a friend or relative who has difficulty leaving their home.
28. Make a friendly comment to the store cashier or other staff member, especially if they seem harried or depressed.
29. Take other chances to help people in a store, such as by holding a door open, helping someone reach for an item (if you’re tall enough), and depositing change in a charity collection box.
Canned fish is a good source of protein to donate to the food bank. It's nutritious food and stays fresh in a sealed can for a long time. Canned fish such as sardines is also inexpensive.
Donate Money While Shopping
30. Make a goal to put coins in every charity collection box that you see, even if the amount of money placed in a box is small.
31. If a charity is raising funds outside a supermarket or in a shopping centre, consider making a donation as you pass by.
32. If children or teens are selling chocolate bars or other items to raise money for a good cause, buy one. You could donate the item to someone else if you don't want it. You could also donate the purchase price without buying the item.
33. Leave money in the tip jar at a coffee shop (or in a blogger's virtual tip jar) in appreciation for a job well done
34. If you are comfortable financially, when a supermarket cashier asks you if you want to make a donation to a specific charity by adding the donation to your grocery bill, consider saying "Yes".
"Pay it Forward" refers to a situation in which someone does a good deed for you and in response you do a good deed for someone else. It's a nice way to create a chain of kindness.
Help Others While You Are at Work
35. Occasionally take a box of doughnuts, home baked goods, or other treats to share with your co-workers on a normal workday (as well as on a celebration day).
36. If you leave work to buy lunch or special coffee, ask people staying in the office if they want anything and volunteer to get it.
37. Try to say something pleasant or encouraging to every co-worker that you meet each day.
38. If you are in a position where you have to supervise other people and need to make a criticism or ask someone to change their behaviour, try to make the criticism constructive and also try to give a compliment of some kind.
39. If it's appropriate at your place of work, collect donations of items or money for a charity.
40. Consider participating in an event that is designed to raise money for charity, such as a walk or a run. Training and participating in the event will probably be a fun and healthy activity for you. In addition, you will be able to donate money to a charity by taking part in the event. If you feel awkward about asking individual co-workers to sponsor you, post the sponsor form on a noticeboard and perhaps announce its presence in a staff meeting.
Some More Ideas for Helping Others
41. Say hello to a person that you pass on the street or start a conversation with someone on public transit. (These actions may not be suitable for a daily act of kindness, however. Always be aware of your personal safety and of another person's right to privacy if they don't want to participate in a conversation.)
42. If you regularly see someone on the street who needs help, a daily greeting, a short conversation, or a food item of some kind may be appreciated. The food could be something simple such as a muffin that you've bought or made. It could be more elaborate if you wish. If you regularly take a packed lunch to work, for example, you could also create one for the person that you see.
43. Assuming you can afford it, pay for your friend's coffee or meal as well as your own when you're visiting a coffee shop or restaurant together.
44. Buy two cups of coffee or two treats that you like—one for yourself and one for someone else.
45. If you're given money in exchange for depositing cans and bottles in a recycling depot, donate the money to someone else if you don't need it yourself.
46. If a major disruption occurs in your neighbourhood, such as a long power failure or a severe snowstorm, check on neighbours with mobility or health problems to see if they need any help.
Other Acts of Kindness
47. Make a mental note (or better still, a physical one) when you encounter unexpected opportunities for kindness. For example, an annual 10K run/walk event in Vancouver holds a "Shoe Renu" program in conjunction with the event. Various types of shoes are donated, cleaned, and distributed to those who need them.
48. Do some research to discover organizations in your area that accept donated goods and uses them to help others. You may be surprised at what types of items are accepted. Books, magazines, furniture, old cars, and used printer ink cartridges are accepted by various facilities and organizations, for example.
49. Investigate ways to use your computer activities to perform a daily act of kindness for people, animals, or the Earth. Some websites help a charity when a person does something on the site. The "something" might be searching the Internet via the website or watching certain videos, for example. You should investigate the details carefully before you use this method of helping others.
50. Let someone else have the parking spot that you were aiming for, assuming you aren't facing an emergency.
51. Giving up a seat on a public transit vehicle to someone who needs it more than you can be greatly appreciated. Based on my observations, this action is not performed as often as it should be.
52. A range of organizations and facilities appreciate the actions of volunteers. Though some volunteer work may take longer than a simple act of kindness, it can be very valuable for the people in the facility.
Pets can be helped with acts of kindness, too. Consider donating food to animal shelters, volunteering to take dogs for a walk, or doing other jobs to help the shelter animals. If you'd like to perform an act of kindness for the Earth, look for group environmental projects in your area, such as the cleanup of trash. (Make sure that safety precautions are used in this situation).
A Wonderful Habit
Acts of kindness are beneficial for both the recipient and the donor. It often feels good to help others, as many volunteers know. Helping others on a daily basis or a semi-regular basis is a wonderful habit to form.
Many other ideas for helping others exist besides the ones listed in this article. You probably have some great ideas yourself, which I'd be happy to hear about in the "Comments" section below.
© 2012 Linda Crampton