February 17 is National Random Acts of Kindness Day! This fun national “holiday” is a great excuse to show a little bit of kindness, whether it’s to a stranger, the community, your friends and family, or even just to yourself. To make it even easier, we’ve compiled a quick list of some small ways (and some big ways!) that you can treat people with kindness and spread a little joy, on this and every day.
Compliment a Stranger
This is one of the easiest and most classic examples of a random act of kindness. Everyone’s day is brightened by a genuine compliment or a complimentary question. Ask someone in the grocery store where they got their bag. Tell someone in line with you that you love their haircut. Compliment someone on their choice of outfit. These little remarks can make someone’s day and help people feel good!
Collect Bottles and Cans to Take to the Highlands Recycling Center
An underutilized and underrated resource is the recycling center up at the Highlands! Taking the time to stop by and drop off your recyclables is a great way to show a little kindness to our planet.
Where: The Highlands Shopping Plaza behind Best Buy
When: Tuesdays from 7 am to 3 pm, Thursdays from 11 am to 7 pm, and Saturdays from 8 am to noon.
What they accept: Plastics 1, 2, and 5, plastic bags, and aluminum cans, with specialized days for items like hazardous waste, electronics, and tires.
Write a Nice Review for a Local Business That You Love
Show your appreciation and love for your favorite small business by writing a nice review online. Good reviews do more than give warm fuzzies to the owners; they bump up the business in online searches! This directly helps your favorite businesses be found by more customers and be successful.
Pay It Forward With Public Market’s “Take a Little, Give a Little” Board
At the Public Market in downtown Wheeling, a small billboard is hanging on the east wall, full of small slips of paper with a variety of amounts. These cards—which are donated by customers and offered to anyone who needs them—go directly toward covering someone’s hot meal on a cold day or buying someone a few extra items from the grocery section. With grocery prices skyrocketing and stress over food bills at an all-time high, a small, anonymous contribution to the community is an easy way to pay it forward.
The US is currently in the middle of a blood shortage as a lingering effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Donating blood is an easy way to make a huge difference in the community and even directly save lives. Here in Wheeling, a local community blood drive is held at the Howard Long Wellness Center the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, accepting whole blood donations from 10 am to 2 pm.
Shop Local or Secondhand
A way to be consistently kind to our community and local economy is to make the active decision to spend money at local businesses instead of big box stores. Grocery shop at Public Market or Jebia’s instead of heading up to the Highlands. Do some antiquing in Centre Market or at Sibs. Get your retail therapy fix at St. Vinny’s or a local boutique instead of ordering something online.
Reach Out to a Friend That You Haven’t Spoken to in a While
Checking in on your friends is always a good idea. In our hectic lives, it can be difficult to stay in contact with people. But if you have a chance, a simple text, email, or call to remind your friends that you’re thinking about them is a good way to show a bit of kindness and make the day better for someone you love.
Donate to Local Thrift Stores That Support the Community
Wheeling has several fantastic local thrift stores that give back. The St. Vincent de Paul Society, Salvation Army, and House of the Carpenter all take donations and use the proceeds to support people in need. St. Vincent’s provides free food, furniture, and some amount of financial support to low-income, unemployed, and vulnerable people in Ohio, Hancock, Marshall, and Brooke counties. The Salvation Army funds rehabilitation centers that help those who are struggling with addictions and mental health. The House of the Carpenter provides food, supplies, and utility assistance to help Ohio Valley residents in need.
Subscribe to Weelunk
Leave a Generous Tip at Your Favorite Restaurant, Bar, or Coffee Shop
Make your server, bartender, or barista’s day by leaving a little extra to thank them for their prompt service, good attitude, and multitasking expertise. The service industry is an often overworked and underpaid employment market, and a token of your appreciation in the form of a generous tip will do wonders towards making people at your favorite establishments feel recognized and rewarded.
Take a Book, Leave a Book at a Little Free Library Around Town
The countrywide Little Free Library program is a great way to share books with the community that doesn’t ever cost any money. Take a couple of books to drop off and pick up anything that seems interesting—with the intention of bringing books back once you’ve finished so that we can all continue to share! Wheeling has multiple Little Free Libraries, including one in the lobby of the Wheeling Artisan Center, one in front of REStyle Consignment in Centre Market, and one on the west side of Chapline Street between 12th and 13th Streets.
A quick and easy way to show some pride in our city is to grab a bucket or bag and pick up litter you see around the city. Keeping our streets clean and garbage-free makes everyone feel better. Litter will always be a global issue, but spending just a few minutes picking up anything you see helps Wheeling feel nicer and prevents the trash from being washed into the river and adding to bigger issues and global pollution.
Spend a Day Volunteering
There are so many ways to volunteer around Wheeling!
YMCA – Volunteer to help with mentorships, coaching youth sports, afterschool programs, member services, or with events.
House of the Carpenter – Volunteer your time to help run some of the various outreach programs or with general maintenance and office assistance.
Catholic Charities WV – Accepts volunteers looking to donate time or materials in the Greater Wheeling Area.
Volunteer Wheeling – Join Volunteer Wheeling, a group that organizes small-scale beautification projects in Downtown Wheeling and surrounding neighborhoods.
Do a Favor for a Family Member or a Friend
Helping out the people in your life by doing a small act of service can change the course of someone’s day and show them that you love them. Tackle a chore for a sibling who has been dreading it. Make a responsibility a bit easier for a parent. Ask your friend if you can help them complete a task that they have been putting off. Taking on a small burden that helps your loved one feel a bit brighter and their shoulders a bit lighter!
Be Kind to Yourself
The final but arguably most important item on this list—show some kindness to yourself. Maybe this comes in the form of splurging on your favorite coffee, spritzing on your favorite perfume or cologne, going out to a nice dinner, doing some skincare, writing affirmations in your journal, starting that book on your nightstand, taking a walk, or anything else that helps you appreciate yourself and the beauty of life a bit more.
Are you planning to do one of the items off this list for National Random Acts of Kindness Day? Do you have any additional ideas to share with the community? Let us know in the comment section or tag us on social media to spread a little kindness!
• Ellery McGregor is a Wheeling transplant from Los Angeles, California. She works remotely for a marketing team in LA and now moonlights as an author for Weelunk. She earned her undergraduate degree in English from California State University Long Beach in Long Beach, California. Since moving to Wheeling over a year ago, she has spent her time helping her family restore an Italianate Victorian row house in Centre Market, picnicking at Heritage Port, and marveling over having actual seasons.