It is very hard to believe, but yes, it has been one whole year since the Superheroes of Kindness first took flight! It was a snowy December day that the capes of kindness first found themselves wrapped gently around kind-hearted children, and slowly made the trek to the Food Bank delivering 377 pounds of food collected by these preschool heroes. It seemed only fitting to celebrate by delivering food collected again this year to our neighbor, Missoula’s Food Bank. But I tell you, this was no ordinary food drive. In fact, it was not just a Superhero of Kindness food drive. This was a ‘let’s all come together and help out our community’ food drive. What a proud moment for these little bodies that hold such giant hearts and leave such deeply impacted footprints.
This food drive started like most other child-run food drives – coloring! Yes, while the four year olds went off to their last gymnastics lesson, the three year olds and kindergarteners decorated four very large pieces of paper to be used as box covers. The next day, food started coming in. One morning, some of the children walked down to the neighborhood grocery store with a goal of each child choosing one item to bring back for their box. Of course, after selecting many healthy food items, we had to throw in a cake and frosting “for if they need something yummy” (one of the children told me that.) Last Friday, one group wrote a note to the school’s neighbors, explaining what we were doing and asking for them to leave food out to be collected and added to our donation. The children had so much fun taking turns putting our letter into mailboxes (something that until that moment we hadn’t realized they do not do that often.) Monday morning, the same children took off with a wagon, collecting five brown grocery bags full of food! This was extra special as we were able to include a Missoula Community School alumni family in our drive! And I tell you, when the wagon was getting heavy a couple of those three year olds really showed their strength and gave some good all out pushes on the back of the wagon. Another group sorted the food, knowing this is something the food bank volunteers and employees have to do and hoping to spare them of the work (and getting a good sorting and comparing activity out of it.) When all was said and done, we filled five wagons full of food to be donated.
This year we decided to do something a little bit different with our delivery. On Monday, two groups took apples that were left over from last week’s pizza day and turned them into a delicious treat to give to the Food Bank employees and volunteers. The children used plastic knives and butter knives to cut the apples. (“This is cool!” one exclaimed, of course not frequently able to use a knife at this age.) Pretty soon, with the help of a dash of this and a sprinkle of that, those left over apples turned into Apple Crisp. This yummy treat was warmed in the oven this morning and dished out for our neighbor heros to enjoy.
The sight of the whole school walking our donation down the couple blocks brought me to tears, twice. (Ok, maybe three times.) I could not help but remember last year. One classroom delivered the food, 19 children. The original band of Superheroes was seven of those students. One class, seven capes, seven capes sewed with love from one fabulous mom, Terry. Fast forward one year. The same walk is made. This time the entire school is involved, approximately 50 children. Each one of them doning a cape of kindness, and of course a big smile. Plus, this is the second all school mission in a little over a month! To be honest, I am tearing up for a fourth time right now just thinking about it. We knew this drive was a success even if we did not beat last year’s weight. Although I will say, as the number hit 377, and then kept crawling up all the way to 493, I thought I was going to pop out of my skin. When we got back to school and a fellow teacher pointed out our box of glass items (jams and such) did not get weighed and we realized we had hit 500, well, let’s just say I could have run down the street hugging anyone I saw. Unbelievable! Not to mention watching 50 children grabbing food from five wagons, putting them into one big bin, and doing so with manners and no pushing or shoving, I was speechless. These children really are Superheroes of Kindness all the way to their cores.
When this idea first started taking shape, this crazy idea that we could take children out in capes and show kindness with the hopes of shining a light on all that is good in these little beings, we knew it would be something that would become part of our school’s traditions. We knew it had a pure heart that would be able to tap into the goodness and compassion in those we came in contact with. I guess we just had no clue how many people we would be coming into contact with! We truly had no idea that we would have friends spanning the globe. And now, to have friends working with us all the way in Missouri, teaming up to show what happens when you let kindness and compassion play the role of front runner, well, I just cannot explain how warm all of this makes my heart or how overly optimistic it makes me of our future. Of these children’s futures.
Friends, if you feel like celebrating with us, here is how you can. Go out today with a goal of making someone smile. Tap into that seed of kindness in someone else, and let them experience what that feels like. Thank you so very much for a great first year – we hope to see you back here next year when we celebrate birthday number 2! (Really, we hope to see you back here many times before then, as well!)
As a little something special, we have made a video photo album of some highlights from our first year, both picture highlights and letters/comments received highlights. We hope you enjoy it!
The Superheroes of Kindness
Comments from this post: