Think of Kindness, Act with Kindness
It’s proven that if you’re thinking about kindness, you become a kinder person. That is what the Spreading Kindness Campaign is based on.
Spreading Kindness to the Unhoused
Recently, the Spreading Kindness Campaign has led the creation of the Eugene Religions Community Information Exchange – bringing faith groups together every three months to have a conversation with city and county government. Their meeting on June 5th focused on the unhoused. The group came up with suggestions for how congregations can support the unhoused and unsheltered during these times. The mayor was exceedingly grateful.
Causes of Homelessness
Multiple studies have shown that the major cause of homelessness is the gap between income and rent prices. The average income in Lane County is $12.90/hr, and in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment, you need to make $17.10. Beds have also been lost at The Mission and other facilities because of COVID restrictions.
Three specific things that congregations (and in some cases Rotarians) can do:
· Provide Space. Allowing 6-12 tents, for instance, as well as parking spaces for those living in their vehicles.
· Fund and support camps that need to be created.
Alternative Ways to Address Mental Health Issues
It’s not humane or cost-effective for police to deal with mental health issues. Cahoots has been a beneficial alternative. There will be training provided for congregations and volunteers for how to help expand this program.
Creating and Distributing Kindness Posters
The “Choose Kindness in an Unjust World” poster is initially supported by the NAACP, PeaceHealth and Eugene Chamber of Commerce. These groups are in support of the message and/or will be distributing the posters to use internally.
The idea of putting up these posters in our community is for folks to have kindness on their minds. They serve as reminders of small and simple ways to be kind in our day to day lives. By acting kindly in these small ways each day, we can help soften the harshness and stress around us.
Rotary’s Kindness Posters and Messages
Others, including Rotary, will be supporting variations of this poster in smaller formats and additional messages. They also plan to distribute these messages around town and to homes.
Choose Kindness Cards for Food Boxes
There are some small cards in the works to include with Rotary’s food boxes. On one side these cards include “We’re thinking of you during these times,” and on the other side, “Choose Kindness.” The cards are printed in both Spanish and English. Among other efforts, these cards will serve as small reminders to choose kindness during these stressful times.
Creating a Kindness Culture in Schools
Working in schools is key to creating a kindness culture. A group of students at Fairfield Elementary is working on a Kindness Project to distribute Kindness bracelets when school starts up again.
Partnering with Local and National Organizations
The Spreading Kindness Campaign is also partnered with the Center on Positive Behavioral, Interventions & Supports to expand the work they do to include a focus on kindness. They work with around 6,000 schools in the United States. The Spreading Kindness Campaign has also started work with Everyone Belongs, providing funding to schools that Rotary works with.
To read more about Rotary’s partnerships in the community, please check out our other blog posts.