Dear Abby: Congratulations to “Trying to Be Nice” (June 6) for her random acts of kindness. The world needs more of it. Let me point out, however, that being nice isn’t just about doing specific charitable tasks. It is something that applies every moment of every day, and as the axiom says, “Charity begins at home.”
It can mean paying a compliment to a family member or friend, refraining from a hurtful comment at work or in school, smiling to a stranger on the street, willingly doing a chore at home (even if it’s “not my job”), or something as simple as cleaning up one’s own mess after lunch. To quote another axiom: “Little things mean a lot.”
I agree. Sometimes they can be the simplest things, opportunities we take for granted that are right in front of us. I was touched by the responses I received from readers suggesting other acts of kindness:
Dear Abby: Animal shelters often need volunteers to walk dogs. Rescue organizations could use foster families for pets, or even pet food donations or supplies. Veterans organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project welcome volunteers to help with events, or mentor or assist vets in writing a resume.
If you sign up with Volunteers of America, they can match you with organizations that suit your skills — reading to the elderly in nursing homes, etc. Youth shelters can sometimes use volunteers to help teens learn basic life skills such as balancing a checkbook, smart grocery shopping or meal planning.
Dear Abby: As an avid volunteer, I have some suggestions! Donating your hair to Locks of Love is one of my favorite acts of kindness. Your hair will help make wigs for women with cancer. Donating blood is another great way to help.
If you prefer to give your time instead, nursing homes are always looking for people to play bingo with patients. Women’s shelters often need volunteers to come and play with the children, so the moms have time to talk with counselors.