#26acts you can do RIGHT NOW

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It’s been five days since the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — and, let’s be honest, it’s easy to forget what happened.

First of all, we want to forget; meaning, we don’t like thinking about the tragic loss of lives at the school, particularly the 20 children who were slain. But it’s also the holidays. Most of us still haven’t finished our Christmas shopping or closing out end-of-the-year reports at work. We’re battling crowds at the mall, we’re stressing over holiday dinners, we’re trying to lose a few pounds so we can gorge at parties from now until the end of the year.

It’s a stressful time. Who has time to think of others?

Actually, doing something nice and thoughtful and compassionate isn’t that hard — and it doesn’t take that much time.

NBC’s Ann Curry encouraged us — via Twitter, no less — to commit to doing 26 (or more) random acts of kindness in honor of the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School. If we can all do something for others, imagine the good we can bring to this world.

So here are 26 easy, simple, painless things you can do right now:

1. Pay for someone’s coffee at Starbucks. You’re there anyway. Make someone’s day.
2. Donate toys to children in need. My pals, ManoaDNA, are hosting its annual toy drive from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21 at Gordon Biersch. All toys will be donated to the Toys for Tots Foundation.
3. Take food to your first responders. Firefighters, police, lifeguards, paramedics — they work hard to keep us safe. Say thanks in the best way — with food!
4. Put money in expired meters. In Brisbane, there are scantily clad women called Meter Maids who do this — and I think it’s genius. Make someone’s day by putting money into their expired parking meters. Trust me, it’s awesome.
5. Thank a teacher. Could be your child’s teacher or a teacher you had when you were in school. They do a lot of good in this world — and they never get thanked enough.
6. Donate to a relief fund set up for Sandy Hook victims and survivors. Visit this site for a list.
7. Give blood. Everyday hundreds of people’s lives depend of volunteer blood donors. A single donation can save up to three lives — and it only takes about an hour. Visit the Blood Bank of Hawaii for details.
8. Donate a coat. We’re lucky, it’s always warm here. But in other parts of the country — and world — it’s not. And staying warm is critical. You can donate a coat through organizations like One Warm Coat.
9. Give away your frequent flier miles. Check with the airlines to see how this can be done, but you can transfer your miles to someone who needs them — like military families.
10. Go caroling. Whether it’s around your neighborhood, in your office or at a hospital, singing Christmas songs can brighten up anyone’s day.
11. Buy a coworker lunch. Why? Because you can.
12. Stop and talk to a neighbor. We blaze through our daily lives and hardly take notice of the people around us — even the ones who live right in our neighborhood. Stop. Wave. Say hi.
13. Leave a note. Tape a thank you note to a coworker’s computer screen. Leave a random note with a five-dollar bill on a stranger’s car. It’s a nice pick-me-up during these stressful holidays.
14. Let someone pass you in line. If you notice the guy behind you at the grocery store has just a couple of items, let him go. Or if the mother of two behind you at Macy’s is struggling with her kids and purchases, give her a pass. It’s a nice gesture that doesn’t cost you anything.
15. Give a compliment. You’d be surprised how much saying something nice can impact someone.
16. Feed the hungry. You can volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen or donate food to the Hawaii Foodbank. Every bit helps.
17. Help your parents. They might not ask you for help, but I bet there’s something you can do for them. Run an errand, clean the yard, give them some cash.
18. Visit your grandparents. If you’re lucky enough to have grandparents still alive, pay them a visit. They’ll be glad you stopped by.
19. Help a stranger. If you see someone in need, help. Maybe a couple is struggling to get the door open while holding a bag of groceries and two kids. Open it and smile.
20. Pick up trash. When you see litter, pick it up. Or get a group together — maybe during your lunch break or over the weekend — and clean up a section of a park or beach. Do your part.
21. Help a sick friend. Stop by and help with household chores, bring over some dinner, or just send a card. Being sick isn’t fun; knowing someone cares can make you feel a little better.
22. Send a thank you note. All those gifts you’re getting this Christmas? Someone gave them to you. Send that person a note. Handwritten is best.
23. Pick up the tab. The next time you have lunch or drinks with a friend, pick up the tab. Or buy the table next to you — strangers are OK! — an appetizer or dessert. You’ll make that person smile.
24. Babysit (or dogsit) for a friend. Offer to babysit (or dogsit) to let that person have a little time off, even if just for a couple of hours.
25. Mend a fence. That grudge you’re holding? Let it go. That person you’re mad at? Go make peace. You don’t need to harbor these toxic feelings.
26. Pass this on. Do something — then inspire others to do the same. Let’s see what kind of difference we can make!

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9 Responses to “#26acts you can do RIGHT NOW”

  1. M December 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Hello Cat!
    I’ll be at the Next Step Shelter Kakaako tonight giving gifts and food to the homeless.

    • Catherine Toth December 20, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

      That’s another great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  2. jayjay December 20, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    awesome! and i hope that’s not your arm feeding the meter… kinda hairy…. :-)

  3. David Jackson December 21, 2012 at 2:20 am #

    All worthy ideas… recently gave my stereo to someone because I wasn’t using it anymore. Gave my set of golf clubs to another friend when I upgraded, could have traded them in and saved a lot of money but feeling generous these days. just feels like the world is a mess and every little bit of kindness helps. I never want kindness in return. Like the pay it forward idea better.

    Interesting discussion with my son about the shootings this past week. He said it was hard to accept because these kids were so young. I posed the question to him… is it really any different than if it was a nursing home? I don’t think so. Every one of those seniors is a kid that just got old. And every one of them would have had something taken from them which would not have been the shooters right to take.

    If only this country could get its hand around the fact that all those people on the battlefield are just grown up kids this world would be a much better place. I wish the nation mourned our soldiers as much as these kids. Maybe war would stop. No death should be acceptable unless it is because we just wore out.

    No one deserves that ending… no one. I don’t care how old you are.

    • Catherine Toth December 28, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      Wow, that’s heavy trying to explain the shootings to you son. I wouldn’t know what to say. I wonder if kids these days are so hyper aware of violence because of what they see on TV, in the news, in video games. It’s really sad… It’s been two weeks and I’m still shaken up by the whole thing.

      • David Jackson December 29, 2012 at 7:54 am #

        Having kids is awesome but it is also tough at times. Most people never pick up on the fact that video games teach kids that the battlefield is random chance. No training prepares anyone and there is a good chance everyone dies. Like the beaches of Normandy or the battle of the Somme. My son has a good head on his shoulders, thinks governments could avoid wars if they really wanted to. As John Lennon once said, ‘War is over if you really want it.’ Pray for this everyday.

  4. rayboyjr December 21, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    *** M e r r y C h r i s t m a s !!! ***

    Hey Cat Thank you for a wonderful year of blogs, food, vacations and just about everything in between … I’m sure you receive a lot of complements on your tireless work … add one more from me …

    … to you and everyone here … Merry Christmas … be safe and enjoy the holidays!!! …

    … God Bless …

    • Catherine Toth December 28, 2012 at 10:37 am #

      Aw, thanks for still reading — even after my year of crazy hackings!

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