Traverse City Record-Eagle

March 11, 2013

Northern Notes: Woman inspired by Acts of Kindness

by Stephanie Beach
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — Kathy Wollam of Traverse City was inspired by NBC News correspondent Ann Curry to make a conscious effort to do some good whenever possible.

After the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Curry asked herself “What can I do?” The answer she arrived at was to perform 26 acts of kindness, one for each child whose life was cut short in the massacre and the heroic teachers who tried to protect them. She shared her idea on social media inviting everyone to join her. Three days later the hashtag #26acts was trending on Twitter and a “26 Acts of Kindness” Facebook page had exceeded 17,000 likes.

One evening after work, Kathy stopped at the Family Fare store on East Eighth Street to do her weekly shopping. At the time only one lane was open. The gentleman behind her just had a pound of bacon and she had a cartful of items.

Thinking this was the perfect opportunity for an act of kindness, Kathy offered to let him go ahead of her. He said no, that he had lots of time. She then tried to pay for his bacon and he still turned her down.

“I wasn’t getting very far on my random acts of kindness that night!” Kathy wrote. “But, then I ended up being the recipient of his act of kindness. He suggested that we just give each other a hug. I’ve been going through a very difficult time in my life and that hug was just what I needed! And I thank him and hope he continues to pass out his awesome hugs. I’m not able to send a thank-you to the stranger in the grocery store for the much appreciated hug, but maybe this column will get more people to share a hug whenever possible.”

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Meijer of Traverse City recently awarded $5,000 to the Traverse City Area Public Schools Students in Transition Empowerment Program (STEP).

STEP is a free program administered by TCAPS that ensures the educational rights of families and youth who lack fixed, regular and adequate housing. It works with eligible students to ensure school stability, remove barriers to full participation in their education and support academic achievement while children are in residential transition.

This is the eighth consecutive year Meijer has been a major community supporter of the program and the funds will be used to buy food, personal hygiene products, socks, underwear, warm clothing and gas cards for school transportation.

“We are so grateful to Manager John Spaulding, Barb Lee and all of the Meijer associates for consistently helping STEP provide the basic resources children need to be successful in school,” said STEP Coordinator Joan Abbott.

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More than 450 pizza connoisseurs tasted and voted for their favorite pizza in the “Pizza Fest, Who’s The Best” competition among local pizzerias, a fundraiser for the Traverse City Central High School Lacrosse Club.

The winners are: Full Moon Pizza, first place; East Bay Pizza, second place; and Jet’s Pizza, third place.

Fundraiser organizers would like to thank the attendees, the restaurant partners, Pepsi and Party Giant for their generous donations.