An organization made up of Semiahmoo Peninsula grandmothers is encouraging residents to do something kind for a stranger or a friend later this month to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week (Feb. 15-21).
Peninsula mental health experts have said that COVID-19 is having a detrimental effect on mental health of B.C. residents, and Oneness Gogo Penny Cuddy says a small, kind gesture can go a long way.
“It’s really interesting how one smile or one little act of kindness can make a difference,” Cuddy said. “It is those little things. During this week, I think the idea is that people just take a moment and think about what they can do, and how they can do something special for a neighbour.”
COVID-19 restrictions have made it a tad difficult this year, but Cuddy said there are workarounds.
“Phone calls are really important right now. Just taking that moment to say something, do something nice, whatever it is. That sense of caring carries on and there’s little ripples. You never quite know where things are going to end up.”
Every year, the Gogos select an organization on the Semiahmoo Peninsula to be the recipient of their act of kindness.
This year, the group selected the Extreme-Weather Shelter located at Peace Portal Alliance Church.
The grandmothers have been in contact with shelter organizers and plan to drop off a slew of items that the shelter has listed as a priority.
The items include warm clothing and COVID-19 supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer.
Throughout the year, the Oneness Gogos raise money to support grandmothers in Africa who are now the primary caregiver of their grandchild due to the HIV crisis. The money they raise is funnelled through the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
Random Act of Kindness Week is not only an opportunity to support local organizations, but a way for the grandmothers to give thanks to the community that has supported them over the years, Cuddy said.
“We have done pretty well with our donations,” Cuddy said. “We believe that this community is supporting us wholeheartedly. This is our way of saying thank you to the community for supporting us, and getting to know our community a little bit more.”
Cuddy said being able to support the shelter, particularly during COVID-19, is an important cause to the grandmothers that “everyone is rallying around.”
“We look at them as people who could be our sons, our brothers, our uncles, or fathers,” she said.
A small group of Gogos will drop off their donation Feb. 18.
This year’s campaign is titled “Warm Socks, Warm Hearts.”