A Random Act of Kindness

Our yard and garden beds disappeared beneath a lovely red blanket of leaves.

Late last week, storms ripped through Portland and turned our front yard into a lush red carpet.

Within 24 hours, more maple leaves were visible than grass. Within 48 hours, the grass and garden beds had virtually disappeared.

On Saturday morning, someone knocked insistently at my front door. I opened it and was asked if I wanted my leaves raked. Right away I said no. We’re always getting solicited by window salesmen and yard maintenance companies trying to drum up work in this tight economy.

But the people knocking were kids. And one of them handed me a business card.

“It’s a random act of kindness,” he told me.

Middle-schoolers and Middle School Pastor Aaron McKee rake the front yard with gusto.

The business card was from Portland Christian Center.

And sure enough, there was a van from the center parked at the curb. So I said yes to the raking, and then ran inside to grab my camera.

In the next 15 minutes or so, 11 middle schoolers and two adults filled our giant yard debris container and two yard bags.

The students brought their own rakes for a morning of volunteering.

One of the adults was Aaron McKee, middle school pastor for Portland Christian Center. He explained that the Rake ‘n’ Run project takes place once a year.

It’s part of the center’s Revolution Middle School Ministries. Kids volunteer to bring their rakes from home and to work for a few hours to clear people’s lawns.

“We’ve done it for the past five years–ever since I’ve been here,” Aaron told me.

Of course we still had some work to do the next day, when more leaves blew off this gorgeous tree.

I thought our front yard was magical when those brilliantly hued leaves covered the grass. But it was even more magical Saturday morning, full of smiling and chatting kids equipped with their own rakes, taking time to help others.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!

About Laura Stanfill

Publisher, Forest Avenue Press
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21 Responses to A Random Act of Kindness

  1. Wow. This is completely amazing! What a great group! Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Fiona says:

    Oh those leaves are so beautiful. I can’t remember autumn here… our leaves sort of turned brown mid way through summer and now the trees are kind of bare… but it feels like mid-spring temperature wise at the moment.

    It’s lovely too that people, especially young people are brought together to do these random acts of kindness for you.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Fiona!

      The last few leaves have fallen now, but it sure was beautiful. We’ve now transitioned to the other kind of fall here in Portland–the gray, dark, stormy kind. It was so great to watch these kids smile and joke with each other as they raked. Enjoying the experience of volunteering. It spurred a good conversation with my 4-year-old about the importance of helping other people.

  3. Emma Burcart says:

    That is such a wonderful thing to do and a great lesson for the kids. It makes me think about what I can do to help others, just an act of random kindness. I will keep this in my mind and remember to do nice things for others for no reason at all. What a great post. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Laura, it’s those small acts of kindness that linger in our hearts longer, that fill us with hope for the future of our grandkids. There was an old expression in the 60/70’s … each one/teach one … this is the best example I have heard to date of that lesson. Have a grand Thanksgiving and Bless those who give, they are the richest of us all 🙂

  5. Aw, so awesome. You guys really live in a great neighborhood.

  6. Angelique says:

    I’m so proud of those kids, and the Pastoral staff, for making that happen for you. I go to that church, and the spirit of giving to others and blessing each other is one of the main reasons why. So glad you were able to experience their kindness. If you liked Aaron McKee, you’ll probably like Pastor Ray Noah, too. You’re more than welcome to come check us out! We’d love to see you!

    • Thanks so much for commenting, Angelique. It was great fun to meet the kids and Aaron, and I’ve felt joyful all week thanks to their giving spirits. The raking event also says so much about what people can accomplish as a group, versus individuals working only in their own front yards, so to speak.

      It seems like you have a wonderful, involved, caring community there at PCC.

  7. I love the color of the leaves! It must be tempting to let them linger longer than they should. What a great idea for a random act of kindness and well done to the kids and adults who do the work.

    • Every year it’s so lovely when that tree turns. We always take photos! The last few brightly hued leaves have fallen now, so we’ll have to wait to appreciate them again next year. I’ll continue appreciating the efforts of those middle-schoolers, though. I have enjoyed telling other people about the knock on the door and the surprise offer of help. The very thought of their kindness makes me smile!

  8. deshipley says:

    That right there is ten kinds o’ awesome. Good for those guys. (:
    …And those leaves really are epically pretty.

  9. Caron says:

    What a lovely heartwarming story. Thank goodness you had your camera, moments like this are so nice to remember.

  10. Gail says:

    Random acts of Kindness! What a wonderfull witness to the youth and Christ this is!!! How wonderfully fantastic if everyone would do just one Random act of Kindness a month! God Bless

  11. Pingback: Random Act Of Kindness Blitz! | Laura Stanfill

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