February 15, 2019
Here at Legal Aid of West Virginia, we truly believe kindness makes all the difference in how you approach those around you. Several years ago, we enacted a Random Acts of Kindness Award that encompasses all 12 of our statewide offices. Each month, our executive director collects nominations, and a willing volunteer draws the winner, who receives a gift card.
In the time we have had the award, hundreds of nominations have been sent in, including acts of kindness toward colleagues and acts focused outward to help community members. These run the gamut from bringing in treats for co-workers to shepherding efforts to help friends or neighbors who have experienced life-changing events. Below, we have highlighted some examples of our staff nominations to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17.
A Double Nomination
Several weeks ago, a duplex in my neighborhood was all but destroyed in a fire, rendering both the upstairs and downstairs units uninhabitable. Both families were vulnerable to begin with; it was a HUD-approved rental, occupied by low-income families with no insurance and few resources. No one was injured, but they lost everything they owned. One family left to stay with relatives and/or camp (i.e., live in a tent.) The other family decided the mother and children would stay with relatives in another county while the father would sleep in his car so he could keep working.
When we put out a call to family and friends for donations and other help, Nominee stepped in, making a generous donation that included a large amount of clothing, as well as toys for the children. This was especially helpful, because other people had donated clothing for the children, but the parents had almost nothing.
The next nomination was received for the person who authored the above nomination:
Throughout the months of June and July, Nominee and his wife have been leading and coordinating efforts among their neighbors and friends to collect money, gift cards, clothing for the displaced adults and children, and all manner of household goods, for two very low-income neighbor families who were burned out of their housing in a fire. Their efforts have been extremely successful, and one family now has a rental home. They are the sort of legal aid family we can all emulate, and they are setting a wonderful example for their kids, too!
Above and Beyond
I’d like to nominate two of our staff who volunteered to help me take over 1,000 pounds of trash from our storage closet to the dump. This was definitely above and beyond their job descriptions!
Nominee is the sole person in our office who manages our recycling. She gathers all the packaging, boxes, bottles, junk mail, etc., that can be recycled and takes it home to put it in her recycling bins to be collected outside her home. This benefits the office because we don’t have a way to recycle curbside at our office. She helps make our office better by taking the extra time to make sure we are helping the environment.
“Sewing” Seeds of Kindness
As most of you know, Nominee is quite the talented crafty person. We were talking, and I told her I would love to have a sewing machine and teach myself how to use it. She had an extra sewing machine perfect for me and she even delivered it to me in our office. I’m so appreciative of her special spirit and kindness (and the sewing machine).
Recently a very good friend of mine lost his daughter to childhood cancer. The family had no life insurance for her. Nominee and a few others donated to this family that she had never met. My friend was so appreciative of this kind gesture, and so am I. We work with an awesome group of folks!!!
Lending a Hand
Nominee went above and beyond the call of duty in assisting me when I returned to work from my surgery by carrying everything from heavy briefcases, file boxes, and even my lunch. She gladly commandeered to office dolly to carry file boxes to my car when I was off to hearings and depositions, and still chides me when she sees me carrying heavy things. Her kindness was very much appreciated.
Keeping Out the Cold
Last week (before all the warming shelters were announced), we had a gentleman come into our office during lunchtime. He was homeless and sleeping outside, and our local shelter was full and had turned him away. Nominee 1 and 2 started calling every agency they could think of then every agency those agencies recommended. Many, many phone calls later, they were connected with a wonderful local shelter. This shelter not only had space for him, but they sent someone to get him who was here within five minutes. Not only was it the best possible outcome for this man, we have a great new local resource to call on in emergencies like this.
I was to nominate Nominee because she has been and continues to be very generous. She knows things are a little tough for me right now, so she brings me lunch every day to help me out. I truly appreciate her kindness.