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    Random Acts of Kindness spread cheer in honor of Newtown, Connecticut
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    Since the tragedy that struck our nation last Friday, I have seen streams and streams of posts and messages about displaying random acts of kindness to honor those angels who left the earth last week. Some began when Ann Curry, formerly of The Today Show, tweeted #20Acts and #26Acts (20 for just the children and 26 including those brave teachers.) Sweeping across the nation are Americans holding hearts in unison and doing unto others as they would have done for themselves. Louisville and Southern Indiana, let's join the nation and help each other, and in return honor those little hands and teachers' heroic hearts.

    Conduct a coat drive with your neighbors or church members or with help from your child's teacher and collect 26 coats for a homeless shelter. Some shelters in our area you could donate to are Wayside Christian Mission, The Healing Place, and The Salvation Army.

    Sign up with volunteer opportunities at The Salvation Army, such as helping with Angel Tree Distribution. Call 671-4920 for more information.

    Bring canned goods to your local food pantry or charity, such as Dare to Care or Kentucky Harvest.

    With help from your child's teacher, have the classmates write a note to Sandy Hook Elementary; try to write one for each of the 26 remembered. Letters and cards can be sent to the following address: P.O. Box 3700, Newtown, CT 06470

    Bake cupcakes or cookies and bring them to a homeless shelter or nursing home.

    Get several bunches of flowers and go to a nursing home; pass out 1 flower to each resident. 

    Make up several cups of hot chocolate and deliver to your neighbors one evening as a family.

    You can always pay it forward - pay for someone's drink in the drive-thru line at Starbucks, pay for a family's meal at McDonald's, buy a Kroger $25 gift certificate and give it to the person in line behind you as you leave.

    Head to Ronald McDonald House and help serve meals to the families there.

    Collect teddy bears and other stuffed animals, new or very gently used, and donate them to the Bears on Patrol project.

    Donate $26.00 in memoriam of the victims to your favorite local cause: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana is a great one to start with.

    Leave some change at the library circulation desk to help pay any fines for the next person in line.

    Donate some books to the Half Price Books Half Pint Library project.

    Donate a book in memory of one of the victims - donate to your local library or your school's library.

    Donate 26 baby items (items like cans of formula, baby food, diapers, wipes, baby cereal) to LifeBridge at Southeast Christian Church, or another church or place of worship of your choice.

    Heading to places like All About Kids, Kazoing!, Puzzles Fun Dome, SkyZone or other indoor children's entertainment venues with your kids? Take 26 $1 bills and leave them on vending machines as you frequent these types of places on your holiday break.

    Plant 26 flower seeds with your children; plant them in your yard or your school's yard (if you get permission.)

    Collect shoes for the EDGE Outreach project in honor of the victims.

    Cook a meal together or collect food baskets and bring them to a local ministry such as Jeffersontown Area Ministries or Fern Creek Highview United Ministries; they can get you in touch with churches who host free meals once a week for anyone in the community who needs a meal.

    Sign up to help serve at a Neighborhood Place Kids Cafe location; bring some fresh baked goodies with you to hand out.

    Make paper snowflakes with your family this winter break and send to Connecticut PTSA to cheer up the Sandy Hook Elementary students when they return to school. This website is loaded with more ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

    Light up Christmas Eve across Louisville and join others across America as we take time to remember those who are mourning during this difficult time. My family is going to place 26 candles lit outside; place them on your sidewalk or driveway on Christmas Eve. We're going to use tea lights and small jars (baby food jars work great.) Take a picture and post on the Pray for Sandy Hook Elementary Facebook page.

    In the words of C.S. Lewis, "I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare."

    Photo by Erin Nevitt

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    About Erin Nevitt

    Longtime Louisvillian, I am a children's librarian at heart and have a passion for children's lit. I am most recently a stay-at-home mom who is always on the move, searching for family fun in Louisville. If it's free, it's preferable!

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