“Kindness is ever the begetter of kindness.” So said Sophocles of ancient Greece, proving that some things never change.
In early 2019, Salisbury’s Mayor Jake Day and Secretary of Kindness, Grace Foxwell Murdock discussed how the community could continue to be engaged in kindness to promote unity and support our status as the first World Kindness USA City.
The mayor suggested a Kindness Commission with members from all segments of the community. The hashtag kindSBY was adopted as the social media identifier for the commission’s work, and one year ago, a group of caring community members came together to form Salisbury’s Kindness Commission. The 20 Kindness Commissioners support and spread kindness at every opportunity.
#kindSBY is a community kindness initiative to:
Support community events that build relationships.
Highlight citizens and groups engaged in goodwill programs.
Inspire everyone to engage in Acts of Kindness.
Sustain Salisbury’s World Kindness USA City designation.
Enlist all citizens to become kindness ambassadors.
Here are a few of the commission’s accomplishments from the past 12 months:
Sponsored the founding of Kindness Clubs at Salisbury Middle School, James M. Bennett High School, Pemberton Elementary, Pittsville Elementary & Middle and North Salisbury Elementary School. The clubs supported and encouraged kindness among students, and organized activities such as a “kindness card” for staff with treats and hot beverages, and a canned food drive to help local food banks.
During Random Acts of Kindness Week, we challenged schools to hashtag all random acts of kindness images in February 2020. By random drawing, we will award 3-$200 prizes to use for kindness, to participating schools. Winners will receive monies when schools reopen.
Supported Random Acts of Kindness Week in February, with flowers for rehabilitation hospital patients and workers, free coffee for people at Rise Up Coffee Roasters and for teachers at North Salisbury Elementary School, plus storytime for children with Salisbury Mayor Jake Day.
Donated “blessing bags” to Salisbury Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
Donated toward the Community Emergency Shelter Project.
Conducted Dr. Seuss Day read-alouds for elementary-school-aged children.
Created toiletry bags to donate to people in need at homeless shelters.
Supported the purchase of food for those in need to be distributed at an outreach event created by the city’s Vulnerable Populations Task Force.
Led a campaign for first responders/essential workers: During 12 weeks of giving, there were 72 donors, $5,491 in donations and 18 businesses were supported as 872 treats and meals were given to frontline workers during the COVID-19 crisis.
Supported Women Supporting Women through a financial donation in October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Donated toys to Brooke’s Toy Closet at Peninsula Regional Medical Center, founded by the late Brooke Mulford, a Salisbury native who was diagnosed with cancer when she was only 4 years old and had a great understanding of what a difference a toy can make to a child in the hospital. The closet lets children in the hospital pick out a toy to play with during their stay and take it home with them when they are discharged.
Highlighted, supported and celebrated acts of kindness by individuals and businesses in our area, such as Olde Towne Café’s donations of sandwiches to the homeless, Personal Wellness Center’s children’s book drive and Piedmont Airlines’ donations to Salisbury’s emergency community shelter.
In October, Salisbury was named the first World Kindness City in the United States. The announcement was made from Switzerland, during the World Kindness Movement Summit. This accomplishment was earned on the strength of community, business and individual commitments to making Salisbury a kinder place to live.
During the difficult times our community and nation have faced recently, it is more important than ever to simply be kind. In the darkest of times, kindness is a light. Please visit kindsby.com to find out how you can get involved and become a sponsor, so Salisbury can look forward to another year illuminated by kindness.
Gwenn Garland is a #kindSBY Kindness Commissioner; Grace Foxwell Murdock is the city of Salisbury Secretary of Kindness, #kindSBY Kindness Commissioner and Wicomico Grows Kindness founder.