Monday, December 4, 2023

The Kindness Pandemic brings local communities together

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While Covid -19 has created financial uncertainty and brought businesses to a standstill, there is something powerful that has emerged from the world crisis, a sense of kindness and helpfulness that restores faith in humanity.

Closer home, essential workers have been pleasantly surprised with little notes of appreciation left on supermarket shelves at Pak N’Save, Countdown and New World Botany, left behind by shoppers.

Mailboxes in the Botany area have notes of gratitude for the Postie heroes, police, essential workers and all those who selflessly continue to serve communities putting their own lives at risk.

The Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple in Flat Bush is encouraging the Kindness Pandemic, founded by Catherine Barrett in Australia. With 600,000 members online, the idea is to share a message of kindness in different communities and have each other’s back.

Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple in Flat Bush is encouraging the Kindness Pandemic, founded by Catherine Barrett in Australia. Photo supplied

They are now helping communities to set up a local Kindness Pandemic group.

Nick Yoong event officer at the Buddhist temple says that the temple that advocates good thoughts, good deeds and good words (3G & 4G) followed the Kindness Pandemic started for frontline workers in Australia by Dr Barrett,  founder of Celebrate Ageing, a social enterprise challenging ageism and building respect for older people.

“We have been inspired to start the campaign and asked our members to leave behind a kind note on supermarket shelves to show their gratitude to the hard-working staff,” he says.

Often the worst of circumstances bring out the best in people.

Thank you notes for Posties on mailboxes. Photo supplied

It’s been well illustrated at East Park in Golflands, Botany, as people on the street have been going out of their way to help neighbours with random acts of kindness, including leaving freshly baked food at the doorstep. Flyers and notes in letter-boxes offer help with groceries, gardening and pruning of trees.

On Easter, a kind neighbour even left Easter eggs on people’s doorstep as a thoughtful gesture.

More recently in the face of Covid-19, Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown asked people to enrol as Street Captains to look after people on their street. The role involves contacting everyone in their street through a leaflet drop and being a point of contact for anyone who might need assistance–is another instance of bringing people together to create a sense of safety and kindness.

The newly introduced Student Volunteer Army tying up with New World Howick and even offering to babysit children of health workers is another instance of intergenerational kindness in our local communities.

As Barrett sums it up saying, “Kindness won’t make the virus go away, but it may make our lives easier and more rewarding.”





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