Jo Anna of The Receiving Project launched The Brown Paper Bag Project in December to inspire creative acts of giving. I saw it on Facebook. She asked for anyone who was interested in getting a brown paper bag in the mail filled with some sort of surprise (money, a gift card, a note card, art, socks, a lotto ticket, stickers, etc.) and then using it in an act of service. You then document what you did and she will share it on her blog. You can then refill the bag or pass it on.
She sent out 50 bags initially and she is still looking for participants on her site in order to send out more bags (U.S. addresses only). She also gives ideas for creating bags of your own.
So… what was in my bag? A one dollar bill. Hmm.
I am not sure that our initial idea was an act of service. My daughter wanted to buy a jar of bubbles at the dollar store and take it to our park to make other kids happy. A good intention. Honestly, we had to cut that one short because she was having a bit of trouble sharing. (Ahem.) But it did generate some smiles.
On to a few other ideas…
I got the idea to feed a family in India for a full day here, and selected Opportunity International as the recipient. They provide microfinance loans and training to women in the developing world. Clients in over 20 countries use these financial services to start or expand a business, provide for their families, create jobs for their neighbors and build a safety net for the future. I really hope the $1 donation isn’t overpowered by the cost to process my credit card.
Our favorite one: We took 100 shiny newish pennies to the mall fountain to give out to kids who might want to make a wish. She enjoyed handing them out and feeling good about sharing and I enjoyed feeling proud of her! (It was interesting to see the parents’ reactions when we asked if we could give their kids a penny or two. Some were grateful and pleasantly surprised and some were skeptical.)
And finally, to pass on the idea, I taped the bag with $1 inside onto a vending machine to surprise someone with a free snack and hopefully keep the kindness rolling forward.
Thank you to Jo Anna for the inspiration! You can read my other kindness posts here. I’m interested in what you would do with this project. Share any and all ideas in the comments!
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Today, as part of the National Weekend of Service, my daughter and I are sorting items into backpacks for area LGBT homeless youth. No matter where you are in America, you have an opportunity to join this effort and serve your community. The Presidential Inaugural Committee has helped to organize events all over the country. Visit their site to find an opportunity near you.
Also, I’ve decided to participate in Toddler Approved’s 100 Acts of Kindness project that begins today. She is kicking off this year’s challenge today and we will end it with a giant Kindness Celebration on Valentine’s Day- February 14, 2013!
Martin Luther King Jr. has said, “Life’s most urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” Read this for more info! Maybe you’d like to participate too?