As restrictions on social gatherings tighten and people are asked to shelter-in-place to slow the spread of the coronavirus, it’s easy to get caught up in the bad news these days.
But amid the pandemic, people are sharing their random acts of kindness.
Dafny Irizarry is the founder and president of the Long Island Latino Teachers Association in New York. When schools closed in March, she gathered a group of teachers and parents to raise funds to purchase laptops to assist students with distance learning.
“We gave our first 20 computers to students in the Central Islip community and Brentwood community,” she says. “We then joined forces with the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement Organization. They helped us purchase 20 more computers.”
With the help of the Long Island Black Educators Association, Irizarry says they were able to purchase 20 more computers for students with special needs and disabilities.
On the other coast, Deborah McDaniel says her neighbors came together to support her family after a bad reaction to chemotherapy put her in the hospital in August. The 67-year-old resident of Bremerton, Washington, was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer one week after her birthday in May.
A resident of the community for two decades, McDaniel says she was emotionally moved by the outpouring of support and “had no idea so many people cared so much.”
“A couple of female friends of mine gave me a lovely quilt they made to take with me to my chemotherapy because the chemotherapy rooms are often cold. So I always felt like I was being wrapped in a nice hug of love when I was using that quilt,” she says. “And I got cards, and people brought us food. They picked up meds for us.”
In Kansas City, Missouri, a 28-year-old video gamer wanted to do something to honor his mother after she was diagnosed with early onset dementia. On Dec. 1, Andrew Presnal joined forces with 28 other individuals and started raising funds for different charity organizations around the world, big and small. They’ve so far raised more than $3,200.
“We’ve raised money for the Mental Health Association in Canada,” he says. “There's a small charity called Chriss House, which is suicide awareness in Ireland, and we are currently raising money for [Mental Health America].”
Presnal says people have donated a variety of items for auction from woodworking pieces to video games and toys. The group is finishing out its 24 Days of Charity by raising money to help someone in the community with brain cancer.
One pastor in Gary, Indiana, recently surprised a single mother of four with a new car after she was carjacked weeks before Thanksgiving. Rev. Eric Boone gifted the car to Nakinta Kendrick after she survived the carjacking at gunpoint by three thieves at a gas station.
After hearing about the carjacking, Boone says the incident was weighing heavy on his heart. He put out a Facebook post asking 30 people to donate $100 “for a single mother to help carry on a miracle.”
“People started reaching out to me on Facebook and said, ‘How can I help?’ ” he says. “And it just blew my mind to see us come together. So we raised enough money to get one car.”
After the carjacking, Kendrick says she worried about getting around and providing for her family without a vehicle. She says she’s so grateful for the kindness of Rev. Boone and her church community.
“It's amazing that people are kind because people don't have to be kind,” she says. “And people don't have to love you like that. And I'm just grateful for my church family pouring into me. It's just unbelievable.”
This segment aired on December 17, 2020.