5 Organizations Dedicated To Spreading Kindness

Taking time out of your schedule to volunteer or participate in a charity drive isn't always convenient, but can do wonders for those in the community. You may find that not only does it increase your sense of gratitude, but encourages those around you to pitch in as well. If you're interested in taking a more active role but don't know where to start, consider these five groups, which connect people with opportunities to spread a little kindness into the lives of others. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

5 Service Organizations Bringing Compassion to Communities

Name Location Work
Doing Good Together Minneapolis, MN Encourages community service among parents & children through the Big-Hearted Families Program and Family Service Fairs
Ben's Bells Tucson, AZ Teaches individuals and communities about the positive impacts of intentional kindness, with the Kind Campus school program, Camp KIND for kids, Kind Colleagues for the workplace, and bell-making team-building activities
Santa Cruz Volunteer Center Santa Cruz, CA Collaborates with over 500 local partners to support volunteer opportunities like Helping Hands and the Transportation Program, which aid seniors through the generosity of local citizens
Random Acts of Flowers Knoxville, TN Strives to improve the emotional health and well-being of people in health care facilities across the country by delivering recycled flowers and personal interaction
Maggie's Wigs 4 Kids St. Clair Shores, MI Provides custom-fitted wigs and support services like beading and music therapy to children and young adults experiencing hair loss due to cancer, alopecia, burns, and other disorders

Doing Good Together's Family Service Fairs

Statistics On Aging in America

  • 47 million: number of seniors in the United States
  • 14.5%: Percentage of Americans 65 and over
  • 95 million: Projected number of seniors in 2060
  • 78: Average American life expectancy
  • 20%: Percentage of seniors who have yet to retire
  • 3%: Contingent of seniors who live in nursing homes
  • 19%: Senior population of Florida, highest in the U.S.
  • 41%: Obesity rate among those 60 and older
  • 38: Current median age in the US
  • 43: Projected median age in 2060
  • 8.5%: Number of seniors 65 and over who smoke cigarettes
  • 12.14%: Percentage of women age 75 and over living in poverty in the US

Kind Campus from Ben's Bells

Items Homeless Shelters Need

All shelters are different, and you should always check the organization's guidelines before you donate (some cannot accept used clothes while others can, for example) but here are some items that are most commonly needed. If you can afford to, consider picking some up and donating them to an organization that works with the homeless:

  • Toiletries, especially travel-sized
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Razors
  • Baby wipes
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Diapers
  • First aid kits
  • Blankets
  • Clothes
  • Hand warmers

In Depth

The power of showing compassion to others can never be underestimated. The act of giving and receiving often leads to warm feelings and a sense of goodwill for all involved. Whether it's serving meals to the homeless or helping children with cancer, there are a variety of ways to make a positive impact. There are many organizations that are solely dedicated to cultivating volunteer opportunities that are designed to help spread acts of kindheartedness. Here, in no particular order, are five organizations that can help you find ways to bring kindness to others daily.

At #1 is Doing Good Together, a Minnesota-based national nonprofit founded on the belief that when parents engage with their children in community service, they pass along the spirit of giving and goodness to their sons and daughters. This in turn creates a new generation of volunteers, philanthropists, and kind, caring adults. Under the umbrella of its Big-Hearted Families program, the Pick a Project initiative offers suggestions for starting a family volunteer activity such as cooking meals at shelters, assembling care kits for the homeless, and adopting a food shelf at a local pantry.

Family Service Fairs are a two-hour open house event that feature a variety of opportunities for families and other interested participants to do simple and fun hands-on projects that benefit the needs of the community. Fair activities include making educational toys, "happy mail" for kids struggling with serious illnesses, and hygiene kits for homeless parents and children. You can sign up to receive the organization's free monthly listing of creative, family-friendly initiatives, shop the store for books, activity cards, and toolkits, or make an ongoing monetary donation.

You can sign up to receive the organization's free monthly listing of creative, family-friendly initiatives, shop the store for books, activity cards, and toolkits, or make an ongoing monetary donation.

Entering the list at #2 is Ben's Bells in Tucson, Arizona, which teaches individuals and communities about the positive impacts of intentional kindness and inspiring people to practice it as a way of life. Research shows that by focusing on compassion and being purposeful in our personal interactions, we can improve our ability to connect. Kind Campus is an innovative school-based program that strives to empower students, families, faculty, and staff to create a culture of generosity in their school and beyond. Participants receive access to posters, monthly guides, a Kind Choices Wheel, and information sheets from community partners.

Camp KIND is a week-long experience for school-age children who want to learn more about intentional kindness and practice it as a skill throughout the year. Campers learn about and discuss the impact and need for it in their schools and communities against the backdrop of energetic games, hands-on science activities, and crafts to keep. You can support Ben's Bells by becoming a community service volunteer at its arts studio, helping to organize tools and materials, or by shopping its retail store for fun and unique handmade items such as ornaments, note cards, and jewelry.

Coming in at #3 is the Santa Cruz Volunteer Center, a "one-stop shop" for volunteer opportunities for individuals, organizations, and businesses. It collaborates with over 500 local partners to support recruitment efforts and aligns with local businesses that want to invest their resources in building a more connected community. Helping Hands allows low-income senior homeowners, disabled older adults, and veterans to age safely in the community while maintaining the independence they desire. Helpers provide home safety checks and basic modifications and repairs such as the installation of grab bars, railings, or fire alarms.

Helping Hands allows low-income senior homeowners, disabled older adults, and veterans to age safely in the community while maintaining the independence they desire.

The Volunteer Center Transportation Program addresses the needs of ambulatory seniors and the disabled by offering free rides to medical or dental appointments, the grocery store, or bank. Two ride requests per week are accepted for older citizens or disabled persons to meet basic needs or for necessary activities. If you have a good driving record, a car, and insurance, you can become a driver for the program. You can also make a monetary donation, which the Center will match a portion of in goods and services.

At #4 is Random Acts of Flowers in Tennessee, which strives to improve the emotional well-being of individuals in health care facilities, those struggling with injury, illness, and the aging process, by delivering recycled flowers, encouragement, and personal moments of kindness. A recent study confirms the positive impact flower deliveries have on the wellness of medical patients. Flowers After Hours provides a hands-on demonstration led by a professional florist. Participants produce arrangements for delivery, as well as one arrangement to take home. This fun and educational event is designed to deliver hope and healing.

A Day of Service offers groups the opportunity to engage with the entire mission from floral preparation to delivery, or tailor the experience to meet your needs. You can generate visibility through social media and enhance branding with delivery cards featuring your company's logo. If you've recently had a wedding, birthday, or reception, you can donate your lightly used flowers for transformation into beautiful bouquets for delivery. You can also designate Random Acts of Flowers as your favorite charity via Amazon Smile.

If you've recently had a wedding, birthday, or reception, you can donate your lightly used flowers for transformation into beautiful bouquets for delivery.

Rounding out the list at #5 is Maggie's Wigs 4 Kids Wellness Center and Salon in Michigan. This grassroots organization provides wigs and support services at no charge to children and young adults experiencing hair loss due to cancer, alopecia, burns, and other disorders. Every wig provided is custom-fitted, age-appropriate, and individually cut and styled as requested. The Adopt-A-Kid program enables individuals, groups, or schools, to directly help a child in need by providing a free hair prosthesis and associated services. Sponsors receive a certificate of recognition, and a before and after photo of the child, while the kids receive training on wig care.

Art, Beading and Music Therapy classes are designed to help kids dealing with cancer and other disorders manage stress, offer pain relief, express feelings, foster socialization and communication with other children, and improve physical rehabilitation. Beading classes give the children and their families the opportunity to express themselves and be creative in an affirming, social setting. You can host a Cut-a-Thon to collect hair donations, or purchase keychains, hats, t-shirts in support of Maggie's Wigs 4 Kids mission. All services are funded solely through contributions of individuals, companies, and organizations.