Community demonstrates kindness

Photo by Debbie Grifffin, Union-Times
A school-supply distribution run by National Honor Society students during the Aug. 5 Day of Kindness offered “Stressless” school supplies, where they served more than 70 families in the first hour. Pictured is Rosie Misiura selecting items to fulfill her list of required supplies, with help from Sophia Palme.

Princeton – The third annual Day of Kindness Aug. 5 in Princeton yielded crowds of givers and receivers and lots of smiles all around town as some two dozen businesses and other organizations offered free goods and other acts of kindness.
The Stress-Less school supply program served about 70 kids during its first hour and expected to exceed the previous year’s total number of children served, which was about 120. The distribution was begun by local Girl Scout Miranda Janssen as a Gold Award project.
Scouts and honor students transitioned it into a Day of Kindness event at which families can pick up free school supplies. Mary Palme said National Honor Society students had taken responsibility for the 2017 event: Sara Efta, Jenna Pauly, Reilee Schepper, McKenzie Eckert and Jaden Faddler. Palme’s daughter, Sophia Palme, led the team for this year’s event.
The group was honored to have support for the drive from two area businesses, two area nonprofit organizations and from students at two schools. She said more sponsors and a group of dedicated organizers will be needed to sustain the event into the future.
Students had set up a long row of cafeteria tables at the high school that they said were stacked high at the beginning of the day. The tables held notebooks, paper, markers, crayons, pens and pencils, calculators and lots of brightly colored backpacks.
Each K-12 supply list for Princeton grades was available, and students of all ages went down the line taking one of each thing they needed. The kids would carefully consider what colors to pick.
One person at the school supply distribution said they learned that all the backpacks were made out of recycled parachute material, which gives the bags strength for carrying lots of books. They agreed that the school supply distribution and the Day of Kindness were nice, positive ways to start the school year.
Another family said they had planned their day according to the Day of Kindness map. They began with breakfast at the Bethel Church and then routed around for free items they need or would enjoy, such as time at the Princeton Splash Park, laundry detergent, clothes, a hot dog lunch and ice cream treats.
One mom said she was starting the day in Princeton and then was going school shopping. She said it was a relief to know she could get a few things around town for no money knowing she’d be faced with big expenses later in the day, on athletic shoes for example.
A crowd gathered for most of the Day of Kindness hours at the Thrift With a Twist store, where drawings for gift cards and other prizes happened almost continuously. Folks at the First Congregational Church hosted a huge crowd for its free lunch of hot dogs, chips and water. They said they ordered 300 bottles of water and by about 12:45 p.m., there were only a handful of bottles floating in the tub.
As the temperatures heated up, hoards of people flocked into Santa Lucia’s for a free ice cream sundae, and many visitors stopped by Sterling Pointe for an ice cream treat and a quick visit with human and animal guests from the Princeton-based Ruff Start animal rescue.
Other free goods and services during the day included light car washes, family fun and games, soda, swimming and basketball, toilet paper and other items, as well as bedding, plants, shoes, haircuts and more. The Day of Kindness aims to not only help those struggling to make ends meet but also to offer everyone a little extra kindness.