Tag Archives: kindness

why not do it?

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Children at San Rufo elementary school in Salerno, southern Italy, are swapping plastic for books. A bookseller/cafe owner in southern Italy is offering free books to schoolchildren who bring him one plastic bottle and one aluminum can to recycle. Michele Gentile, who founded the Ex Libris Cafe bookshop in Polla, a small town near Salerno, said he wants to encourage kids to read while doing something for the environment.

“My goal is to spread the passion and love for books among those people in Italy who do not usually read, while at the time helping the environment,” he said. “I hope the initiative becomes so viral that it affects the whole country. It will be revolutionary, not only for the planet but also for the education of children and their job prospects,” he said.

The books being donated for the initiative are the so-called “pending” or “suspended” books (“libri sospesi” in Italian), a concept introduced by Gentile a few years ago that earned him headlines in national media. The term derives from the “suspended coffee” Neapolitan tradition, born during World War II, of purchasing two coffees: one for yourself and the second one as an anonymous gift for the next customer in need who walks into the bar. Similarly, Ex Libris customers can buy one book and leave the second one “suspended” for whomever needs it.

The idea for the “plastic/metal for books” recycling initiative came to Gentile while he was looking at a huge pile of metallic waste left abandoned on a field. “It was worth at least 300-400 euros ($338-$451), enough to pay for a middle school kid’s book allowance for a year,” he said. “So, I talked to a local school, and they organized an aluminum collection. Results were extraordinary, about 2 quintals ($564) in two days.” With the money he got from the recycling center, Gentile bought books for a whole class. “So, I thought: Why not (give) away books to kids who bring me plastic bottles and cans?” he said.

His initiative, which involves individuals and schools, has already reached northern Italy, with children from Bordighera, in the Liguria region, sending him 23 bottles and 23 cans to recycle. “Yesterday alone, I donated 60 suspended books,” Gentile said. “Imagine if this becomes a small game: Every child in the world swaps a plastic bottle and a can for books. I know it’s just a dream, but why not do it?

“it takes generosity to discover the whole through others.

If you realize you are only a violin,

you can open yourself up to the world by playing your role in the concert.”

-jacques yves cousteau

 

 

credits: cnn world news, gianluca mezzofiore

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inclusion.

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the kinders made a wonderful house for rocket the turtle,

with many rooms and spaces,

including his very own garden and library.

 

“until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things,

man will not himself find peace.”

-albert schweitzer

each other.

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“people fail to get along because they fear each other;

they fear each other because they don’t know each other;

they don’t know each other

because they have not communicated with each other.”

– dr. martin luther king, jr.

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image credit: shutterstock

warm.

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each year

i happily take part

in a wonderful program

to help warm the children.

through the generosity of the local community

money and time are donated

to provide new warm clothing for children in need.

children are referred

 by school counselors and social workers.

these families meet with volunteer shoppers

to help with the process.

all of the money raised

goes directly to purchasing clothing,

with no administrative costs

subtracted from the donations.

i am one of the volunteers who take the families shopping

and never fail to be amazed by the people i meet.

on my shopping trip this year

i met a single mother whose husband had died

raising sons, 12 and 16

supporting them by working at mcdonald’s,

her oldest son works at taco bell

 she’s had a rough time of things lately

extra money has been harder to come by

both sons are in school, play football, and do chores at home.

when i asked how she was able to do it all

she told me, “life goes up and down. you just do what you have to do.”

 after we shopped for her sons’ winter clothing

we made our way to the register.

 just ahead of us in line

 another family was checking out

who were also program recipients.

after being rung up, it was discovered

that they had gone just a bit over their allotted budget

and were going to have to put something back.

immediately

the mother i had shopped with

reached into her purse

and gave them the $1.89 they needed.

what an incredibly generous act of compassion

from someone who had so little herself

as she helped someone else to warm their children

when we checked out and went to leave

she hugged me and said,

“thank you so much, i always pay it forward.”

 

“to keep a warm heart in winter is the real victory.” 

-marty rubin

participating partners: kiwanis club of ann arbor, washtenaw county, walmart, mlive, old national bank, ann arbor news

https://a2kiwanisfoundation.org/warmthechildren/

rise above ourselves.

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This image took my breath away, in it I’m sure we all recognize a hundred faces of our own nieces, daughters and little friends. How refugee children sleep in Europe in 2018…. I wish for her a warm bed with the softest blankets and a princess netting just because it’s pretty, not to keep out hundreds of mosquitoes, and a nightlight in the shape of the moon. All of these things inside a safe and happy home. A garden and toys to play with, a school to go to. Just the normal and most basic rights for any child. – m. graeve

 

‘compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves.’

-mason cooley

 

image credit: muhammed muheisen,

story credits: open homes open hearts, merel graeve – stories from the ground