It's all about being kind for this area group
Imagine, you’re walking down the street, minding your own business, when all of the sudden — BAM!
Someone unexpectedly does something kind for you, for no apparent reason.
What do you do?
The volunteer group Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) of Chickasaw County hopes that you’ll continue the trend, and do something kind for someone else.
The group’s mission statement reads, “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
RAK is a volunteer group in Chickasaw County, not a social service, and its goal is to help others and then inspire others to be a part of something that affects those around them in a positive way.
RAK in Chickasaw County is compiled of local individuals who promote and inspire what they do, including Rebecca Hackman, Stephanie Scott, Angie Rowan, Brenda Frana, Darcy Martin, Norma Leach and Lisa Kleiss. The group doesn’t end there, however, as Hackman said they have a large amount of support volunteers to keep it going.
Hackman said that the group was inspired by Danielle Teal, founder of Caring Acts of Kindness Everywhere (C.A.K.E.) in Rochester, Minn.
“She has now become our friend and mentor,” Hackman said. “She is our go-to person on the best way to go about things.”
Word is starting to get around, Hackman said. RAK has only been active for a few months in Chickasaw County. Their first mission was last spring, when RAK made spaghetti meal bags to give out to families in need. RAK got the message out on Facebook — a call for individuals willing to each purchase one of the items to be put in the bags. One person bought noodles, one bought sauce — and so on — and eventually 22 bags were assembled and donated to the Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation, an organization that helps serve low-income families, domestic abuse victims, veterans and others.
Since that first project, the group has held a free family picnic in the park and filled backpacks to help provide school supplies to area schools and kids in need. They’ve delivered donated fans to Whispering Willows Assisted Living in Fredericksburg. They held a free pool party for “Star Mentoring” and “Brighten the Life of a Child” families. They donated a crockpot and groceries to a needy family of five, so they could make a meal, and they adopted two families for Christmas.
“We are a volunteer group — not a non-profit or a social service — so we do most of our projects solely from the kind donations of others throughout Chickasaw County,” said Hackman.
Individual members of RAK have gone to local churches and given trees to help families with some much-needed items this Christmas.
“I truly believe that we have made an impact,” Hackman said. “We are being recognized by individuals and businesses in our county. I have seen others start to do random acts of kindness on their own.”
Hackman said she is aware that there are people who are skeptical of the group, as they may not understand the purpose or simply aren’t sure how to approach them.
“I want people to know if you join our group on Facebook, or like our page, or help with a project — it doesn't commit you to a membership or anything like that,” she said.
Hackman said the group is always looking for clever ideas and unique combinations to promote kindness. One example is the latest event, coming up Sunday, Feb. 11.
“January is National Soup Month and February is National Canned Food Month,” Hackman said. “Therefore, I got the idea to combine the two into our ‘Empty Bowls’ Soup Luncheon and Food Drive.”
The soup luncheon and food drive will be at the Fredericksburg Community Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will be co-hosted by Women of Today of Fredericksburg and New Hampton, and is a fundraiser for local food pantries in Chickasaw County.
Hackman said that while the volunteer group will continue to work with non-profits and others to host events, the main goal of RAK will always be to try and inspire others to do random acts of kindness on their own.
“We find time to spread kindness to brighten another's day because we care about people. One of our members is having a card shower for her grandma, who is in the nursing home,” Hackman said. “Another is doing ‘Blessing Bags’ through her home-based business to help those in need, because of seeing a homeless person in a city in our state.”
Hackman said there are lots of other, simple things people in Chickasaw County can do to keep kindness alive.
“If you go out for a meal somewhere, buy someone else’s meal,” she said. “I’ve seen a random person, out of nowhere, pay for someone else's gas. Better yet, I’ve been on the receiving end of several random acts of kindness. Pay it forward is a great way to make an impact spreading kindness.”