It’s been a tough year. There appear to be more frowns than smiles, and COVID-19 restrictions have kept individuals from hugging, shaking hands and giving pats on the back.
For this and many other reasons, Orem, Vineyard and Provo — among other cities in Utah County — have dubbed the week of Nov. 16-23 as Kindness Week.
Each city has developed activities that show kindness and allow residents to participate as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.
Miss Orem Glory Thomas is the founder of Orem Kindness Week, announcing the initiative through a special video earlier this month.
“Here in Orem, Mayor Richard Brunst and the city council believe that even a teenager can make a difference,” Thomas said. “When I presented the idea of a citywide Kindness Week, they loved it and thought it would be especially important with all that is going on in the world.”
“My hope is that Orem can be the city to lead out in this, and eventually, we will have a statewide Kindness Week,” Thomas added.
Kindness Week includes a series of activities for residents to participate in. Each day is marked by a different way to show kindness, including in neighborhoods, families, schools and workplaces, the world, communities, and culture.
The last day of the week urges residents to “continue the kindness.”
The list of daily activities are:
Tuesday, Nov. 17:
- Kindness in our Neighborhoods — Serve your neighbors. Submit entries for Kindest Neighborhood in Orem.
Wednesday, Nov. 18:
- Kindness in our Families — Watch Miss Orem read a kindness book on the GLO with Kindness YouTube channel.
Thursday, Nov. 19:
- Kindness in our Schools & Workplaces — Submit your entries for Kindest School and Business in Orem.
Friday, Nov. 20:
- Kindness in our World — Give three compliments to three people in person or on social media using the hashtags “#kindframeofmind,” “#glowithkindness,” and “#betheone.”
Saturday, Nov. 21: Kindness in our Community — Circle of Kindness Activity: Sign up for your Kindness Kit at JustServe.org
Sunday, Nov. 22:
- Kindness in our Culture — Watch for a video of kind acts.
Monday, Nov. 23:
- Continue the Kindness — Participate in a virtual presentation of Kindness Awards.
There are a number of activities planned for residents of Vineyard around two “Kindness Causes,” beginning with a winter clothing drive to help Lifting Hands International.
“As you clean out your closets and get your winter gear prepared, please keep these two great causes in mind,” the city statement read.
Lifting Hands International is looking for adult and children’s gently-used coats, hats, gloves and scarves as well as adult and children’s new socks.
These donations will be given to local refugee families and will also shipped to Syria, Yemen, Bangladesh and Jordan.
Food and Care Coalition in Provo is looking for adult new and gently-used coats and gloves for homeless adults in Utah County.
“Due to COVID, please make sure your donated of gently used items are also freshly laundered,” according to the city’s statement.
Vineyard officials have also organized a food drive as their second Kindness Cause. The city has partnered with Freedom Preparatory Academy for a food drive to benefit Community Action Services and Food Bank.
The most needed food items are condiments (peanut butter, jelly, syrup), canned meats (tuna, chicken and beef), and canned fruits, soups and stews.
“Please also consider donating kids’ nutrition pack items such as granola bars, natural juice boxes, raisins, peanut butter crackers, fruit and grain bars, Easy Mac and Chef Boyardee microwave meals,” the statement urged.
The Food Bank is also in need of hygiene items, including toddler-sized diapers, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, soap, shampoo, conditioner and laundry soap.
All donations — from coats to food — can be dropped off in boxes during office hours outside of the Vineyard City Office located at 125 S. Main St. Donations will be accepted from Nov. 16 through Nov. 23.
Office hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon.
Provo’s Kindness Week follows last Friday’s National Kindness Day.
Kaufusi hoped that residents took a moment to celebrate either in quiet acts of service, giving a kind word, having greater patience or simply trying to understand one another rather than judge.
“After a year largely filled with unrest and division, the establishment of Provo Kindness in September felt like a breath of fresh air,” Mayor Michelle Kaufusi said. “They’ve established a worthy goal of helping us create a culture of kindness that helps us all connect better as neighbors, friends and even strangers.”
This should go on throughout Kindness Week and beyond.
“If nothing else, we can fill our social media feeds with uplifting stories, quotes and examples of kindness,” Kaufusi said.
After seeing the success of “Kindness Clubs” in the Provo School District, Jennifer Partridge — a parent, Provo School District Board Member and Provo Kindness committee member — approached Kaufusi with the idea of following the success of Provo’s kids by bringing Provo Kindness to all of Provo.
A committee was then formed to include a city council member, several members of the school district’s kindness committee, and a variety of citizens from around the city.
Provo city will be coordinating with Provo Kindness on upcoming events throughout the community to continue to build a kindness culture.