100+ acts of kindness for others, animals, and the planet

100+ acts of kindness for others, animals, and the planet
Image from Pinterest with no attribution (If anyone knows the original source, please let me know and I'll cite it).

Step one in spreading kindness throughout the world in 2017 is performing one act of kindness each week for another person or people, animal, or the planet.

The list of possible acts of kindness is endless, but to get you started, I’ve listed 100 of my favorite acts of kindness below. I’d love to hear what acts you perform in the comments.

 1. Volunteer in a soup kitchen.

2. Write a thank you note.

3. Adopt a needy child for Christmas.

4. Donate blood.

5. Donate food or money to a food bank.

6. Donate used clothes or toys. Check out these 8 places to donate toys on Chi-Town Mommy Mayhem.

7. Pay a compliment to a stranger everyday this week.

8. Give the largest tip you can over and above the normal tip you would give to a server.

9. Take a healthy snack to work to share with your co-workers for no particular reason.

10. Make and distribute Homeless Helper Bags.

11. Make and distribute sandwiches for the needy. 

12. Pay for coffee for the person behind you.

13. Let someone go in front of you at the checkout.

14. Write a letter (not an email) to someone you love telling them why you love them and mail it to them, even if they live in your house.

15. Make your significant other or child’s favorite meal for dinner without telling them. 

16. Do a chore your significant other normally does without telling them in advance. 

17. Take a casserole (or whatever) to someone who is struggling with an illness, grief, financially, or just had a baby.

18. Organize a Meal Train to provide multiple meals for someone who is struggling with an illness, grief, financially, or just had a baby.

19. Shovel your neighbor’s driveway and sidewalk. 

20. Donate school supplies for a needy child at your neighborhood school, whether you have kids there or not. 

21. Leave some gently used or new books in a free little library

22. Write a letter to a government official thanking them for their service. 

23. Adopt a sailor for Thanksgiving or Christmas. 

24. Send a service person a card or care package

25. Leave some bottled water for your mail carrier and garbage people. 

26. Pick up litter in your neighborhood park (wear gloves to do this)

27. Offer to take a neighbor’s leaves or mow their lawn. Do not accept any form of payment. 

28. Say thank you at least 10x today. See how many days in a row you can do this. 

29. Send a Valentine to someone who isn’t expecting one. Extra points if it’s homemade. 

30. Call your parents and siblings for no other reason than to say I love you. 

31. If you have to wait for a service (e.g. medical appointment), sincerely thank the professional for taking the appropriate time with the previous client and fully addressing their needs. 

32. Hold the door for someone each day this week. 

33. Offer to get something off the top shelf at the grocery store for someone who can’t quite reach it. 

34. Ask someone to tell you their story. Actively listen to it.  

35. Buy Girl Scout cookies. Don’t know a Girl Scout? Find one here.

36. Buy an extra box of Girl Scout cookies to be sent to service people. 

37. Take some homemade treats to your town’s first responders to thank them. 

38. Run an errand for someone

39. Shop Amazon? Use Amazon Smile to make sure your fave charity gets a donation with every purchase. Information and FAQs here.

40. Write happy thoughts on 3×5 note cards and leave them on car windshields. 

41. Put a love note in your spouse and child’s lunch.

42. Check on your elderly neighbors after a storm.

43. Join the bone marrow registry. 

44. Return all phone calls within 24 hours, ideally with phone calls.

45. Return all emails within 24 hours.

46. Loan money to someone on Kiva and help them pursue their dreams of getting out of poverty.

47. Donate to a Go Fund Me page to help someone going through life’s challenges. I recommend donating to Brad’s Cancer Warrior Fund. Brad is the husband of a woman I went to college with and was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer days before Christmas. 

48. Donate to a Kickstarter project and help bring creative projects to life. 

49. Fund a Donors Choose project to help fund a project in a classroom. 

50. Learn the names of your office security guard, condo building cleaning person, etc. and greet them with it each time you see them. 

51. Thank the person cleaning the bathrooms for their hard work in a public facility. 

52. Play a free, educational game on Free Rice to help end world hunger.

53. Compliment a parent and child on how well a child is behaved. 

54. Praise your children in public for their good behavior. 

55. Pay someone’s parking meter. 

56. Ask someone if you can give them a hug. Keep asking people until someone says yes. 

57. Let someone have the close-up parking spot. 

58. Leave extra quarters in the laundry room with a note telling the finder that their load of laundry is on you. Do not sign your name. 

59. Give up your seat on the bus or train. 

60. Be kind to a customer service rep and thank them for doing all they can to assist you, even if you don’t get the answer you want or they aren’t able to fully assist you. 

61. Receive outstanding service? Tell someone’s boss, write a note, or take the customer service survey on just about every store receipt and name the person who served you. If possible let the person hear you praise them.

62. Return your shopping cart to the store and offer to take someone else’s too. 

63. Purchase lemonade from a child’s lemonade stand.

64. Set up a lemonade stand and donate profits to charity.

65. Shop at a garage sale and don’t haggle on the prices.

66. Shop local.

67. Forgive someone.

68. Like your favorite blog’s Facebook page, sign up for their email, and share the blog with your network. (I am partial to and highly recommend Little Merry Sunshine).

69. Treat a coworker or friend or family member to coffee. 

70. Take your significant other’s car for an oil change and fill it up with gas without being asked. 

71. Learn your partner’s love language and show them love in their language.

72. Plan a special date night for you and your significant other without your kids and unrelated to birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays. Dress up for each other. If possible, spend the night in a hotel so you can reconnect without the distractions of home. Be fully present. Bonus points if you can take an entire weekend. Involve your partner in the planning. (Extra bonus: Counts as kindness towards your partner and self-care). 

73. Instead of cooking up a big holiday meal for you and guests, cook the same meal, package it into individual meal servings along with plastic cutlery, napkins, a bottle of water, and handiwipes, and hit the streets to provide meals to the homeless. Take your wagon because the meals will get heavy. 

74. Donate wedding, funeral, or party flowers to a nursing facility or hospital. Arrange it in advance and find out how to best arrange them to be distributed. Don’t make extra work for the staff. 

75. When people are gossiping about someone you know, chime in with something nice about that person and steer the conversation away from negativity. 

76. Return your library books on time. 

77. Ask someone to teach you how to make their “signature dish.” 

78. Teach someone how to do something they want to learn that you’re proficient in.

79. Make someone a book of coupons for special time with you, hugs, back rubs, story time, etc. 

80. Send a completely random care package to someone you appreciate.

81. Schedule a regular family dinner time. No tv. No electronics. Practice conversation – use conversation starters, if needed. 

82. Make an introduction for two people you think would be good friends or business partners.

83. Subscribe to the paper edition of a newspaper 

84. Plant a tree.

85. Set the table for dinner without being asked.

86. Make a special table centerpiece for your family’s dinner table.

87. Write your teacher a thank you note. 

88. Say hello and smile to people on the street. 

89. Donate a toy to Toys for Tots.

90. Donate supplies to your teacher’s classroom. Ask what they need first.

91. Ask for donations to your favorite charity rather than birthday or Christmas gifts

92. Pack food at Feed My Starving Children.

93. Pay the toll of the person behind you.

94. Register to be an organ donor. Make sure your loved ones know that you’ve signed up and put this information into your powers of attorney and health care directive documents.

95. Prepare or update your will, power(s) of attorney, and health care directive documents.

96. Participate in Wreaths Across America.

97. Say “I love you” and mean it.

98. Upcycle something and give it a new purpose.

99. Offer to babysit (for free) and let the parent(s) get out of the house without the kids.

100. Invite someone you don’t know well to join you for lunch.

101. Start a new family tradition.

102. Donate used cards to a charity that recycles cards into new cards.

103. Offer to mentor someone.

104. Become a Big Brother or Big Sister.

105. Draw a picture for your mom or dad.

106. Call a local animal shelter and find out what supplies they need. Set up a drive for those items and donate them.

107. Do not argue or fight with your siblings for an entire day.

108. Serve on a jury willingly. Obviously this depends on whether you get summoned for service and whether you are chosen, but everyone deserves to a fair trial and jurors are an important part of that process. Too many people go out of their way to find excuses to get out of service. Don’t be one of them.

109. Dine at restaurants that serve that support the community. Restaurants like Marche Ferdous in Montreal and the Heartland Cafe in Chicago are great examples. You might also search for restaurants that donate excess food to feed homeless.

110. Help a student out with a school project by taking a survey for a thesis paper, science fair, etc.

111. Send birthday cards. Send actual cards, not emails.

112. Send birthday greetings on Facebook. Send them to all of your Facebook friends, even the ones you aren’t close to.

113. Send Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzza, New Year, or other holiday cards. Send actual cards, not emails.

114. Attend funerals. We attend funerals for the living, to let them know we care about them and are with them in their time of need even if we don’t know the deceased. Maybe especially when we don’t know the deceased.

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