We’re pleased to bring you the following guest post by Random Acts staffer Juliana:
When I reached out to the Family Services staff at Washington, DC non-profit, So Others Might Eat (SOME), who you may remember us partnering with back in May, asking if they had anybody they’d like to nominate to be a recipient of an act of kindness, the first person that came to their minds was Ms. Jones*.
Ms. Jones, a resident of one of SOME’s affordable housing programs for low-income families, has fallen on some hard times recently. In June 2012, after working as a dispatcher for 13 years, Ms. Jones was laid off and unable to find employment. Being resourceful, she enrolled in SOME’s Career Education Training program to further her skills. She graduated from the program last summer and, since then, has enrolled in two additional training programs. Hard-working, persistent, and determined, she applies for about 20 jobs per week and continues to go on interviews. Unfortunately, she hasn’t had any luck so far and, while she tries to remain as positive as possible, it is hard for her. With three daughters — one in college — and a grandchild, she is financially strapped.
Moved by Ms. Jones’ story, I looped in Social Media Officer Kelly, who like me, is local to the Washington metropolitan area, and we began to plot a holiday surprise. The staff at SOME suggested that Ms. Jones could use help purchasing new interview clothes and shoes, as well as help getting to and from interviews, so we purchased a Burlington Coat Factory gift card and a Shell gas gift card for her. Because it’s the holidays, we wanted to add a little something extra, so we put together a holiday dinner basket, filled with cornbread stuffing, canned corn, canned green beans, canned yams, potatoes, sparkling apple cider, ingredients for pumpkin pie, candy canes, and a Safeway gift card to cover more perishable items.
Keeping this act a surprise required a bit of trickery. SOME Staffer Aiysha slyly asked Ms. Jones where she thought would be a good place for “a friend” to go buy interview clothes and relayed the information back to us, so we could purchase a gift card to the right store. To coordinate a meeting with Ms. Jones, so that we could present the gift cards and holiday dinner basket to her, the SOME staff told her that a couple of “mentors” wanted to meet with her. Judging by her surprise, delight, and hugs when presented with this act of kindness, we think it’s safe to say that it was easy for Ms. Jones to forgive the staff for their little fib.
This act wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Tasha, Aiysha, Patrick, and the rest of the Family Services staff at SOME. Thank you all for participating in our 12 Acts of Kindness and for joining us in showing Ms. Jones some extra special holiday kindness.
*First name redacted for privacy reasons
Make sure to visit our blog regularly this month as we celebrate the 12 Acts of Kindness — a project which showcases the kind things our staffers get up to in their off-time. Want to follow our team’s lead and perform an act of kindness in your community? Check out how you can get involved and fill out an act proposal today to see if you qualify for financial assistance.
We can’t wait to hear from you!