Never underestimate the power of determined military spouses with big hearts — even when setting out to accomplish an ambitious goal of one million acts of kindness.
When I received the call that I had been chosen to receive the 2019 Armed Forces Insurance Coast Guard Spouse of the Year award, I was in disbelief. I made a vow to spend the next year doing everything possible to collaborate with fellow military spouses to serve our families and bring good to the world in any way I could. You see, kindness doesn’t cost anything but it’s everything. This mission put me on a journey to building incredible friendships that eventually led to a global movement. And that’s where my partners-in-kindness come in.
Maria Reed, 2019 Armed Forces Insurance Army Spouse of the Year, Samantha Gomolka, 2019 Armed Forces National Guard Spouse of the Year, and myself crossed paths unexpectedly through AFI’s award program. Though we live thousands of miles apart in distance, they are my soul sisters. No, really. We were meant to be friends and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. As we began building our friendship and collaborating on projects, we had a dream to unite all military branches.
The backstory of Giving Tuesday Military
Earlier this year, I shared the video of a home renovation project I completed with Maria and her show, Moving With The Military, with Giving Tuesday on Facebook. Giving Tuesday, which is the Tuesday directly following Thanksgiving, was established in 2012 with a goal of making generosity go viral. I had no idea that sharing that video would lead to the communications director scheduling a meeting with us and loving our ideas so much that we were given a contract for our campaign, Giving Tuesday Military. We were officially-official and even had the rights to the hashtag, #GivingTuesdayMilitary.
What does it mean?
Giving Tuesday Military seeks to activate military members, their families, and our veterans in providing 1 million acts of kindness throughout the world. Hence, this is where the ambitious goal comes in, but we just know we can do it. Those who sign-up can choose to be a chapter ambassador and lead a group of people in their area on a kindness project. People can also just choose to join a team — we’ll help match them with a leader in their area — or unleash kindness all on their own! Our role as leaders is to organize it, promote it, and help everyone participating in any way we can.
For example, local chapter ambassador Timothy Montjoy, a retiree of the U.S. Air Force and founder of Operation Teammate, an organization providing memorable sporting experiences to military children, will facilitate kindness efforts in Augusta, Georgia, to encourage and assist those looking to join the movement with ideas of how to give back and get involved.
“These acts of kindness can be small, but give members of the military community an opportunity to connect with each other and the communities we live in,” Montjoy said in a press release. “The opportunities are limitless and could be as simple as buying a cup of coffee for a stranger, leaving a kind note on a car windshield or simply sharing a hug with someone who needs it.”
How does it work?
The only requirement is those participating will not ask for donations or campaign to self-promote for donations. While we think that giving financially is an incredible way to give back, Giving Tuesday Military’s focus is on being intentional through donation of time and energy to make a personal impact. The holiday time is a special time for many but that is also the time of year when rates of suicides increase as do rates of depression. We want to change that. Our website has a toolbox of ideas for people to choose from and we welcome suggestions. Make this day your own. The ways you can impact and change lives is endless. It all starts with you.
Examples of acts of kindness to pledge:
- Serve a meal to people in need.
- Create care bags for children in hospitals.
- Host a canned food drive.
- Donate old towels or blankets to an animal shelter.
- Collect coats and shoes for the homeless.