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Kindness contagious in Vancouver challenge

By Jane Deacon

As part of the 30 Days Of Kindness initiative, Jami Savage fundraised to provide enough mix for 23,000 at an Abbotsford school breakfast program. 
(Photo submitted)

As part of the 30 Days Of Kindness initiative, Jami Savage fundraised to provide enough mix for 23,000 at an Abbotsford school breakfast program. (Photo submitted)

For the last three years, Vancouver resident Marc Smith has issued a simple challenge: complete one act of kindness.

It’s an initiative that’s inspired support for a school breakfast program in Abbotsford, donations for residents of the Downtown Eastside and treat bags for needy dogs in Vancouver.

In 2012, Smith began asking people to sign up for one act of kindness, to be completed as part of a 30-day series leading up to the Christmas holidays.

“Sometimes we just need to be reminded to stop and have that little interaction,” said Smith. “This series gives people that conscious moment to stop and think about it.”

In return, he writes about the initiative on his website, 30 Day Adventures – and provides a helping hand where it’s needed.

The ideas are created by participants and come in all shapes and sizes – from one Langley family’s idea to distribute small “love notes” on strangers’ cars to an Air Transat event that took 80 families on flights in search of Santa Claus.

Langley resident Jami Savage got on board with the project this year and signed up for a day without an “act” idea. A week later, she met the organizer of a fledgling school breakfast program in Abbotsford in need of a helping hand.

Savage committed to donating 10 boxes of pancake mix and put out a call on Facebook, asking a friend to match her donation. Within 24 hours, they’d raised enough to provide 23,000 pancakes to the program.

“There was no plan — it just snowballed,” she said. “Kindness was contagious.”

Smith said Savage’s experience is a common one in the project, with initiatives often quickly growing through social media.

“Sometimes I’m just completely moved by how people, they start out with a kind act, thinking they’re going to do something and then it becomes much bigger for them,” said Smith.

This year’s series wraps up next week and can be followed online at 30dayadventures.ca.

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