Greg Simpson saw a lot of people put money in the Hood River County Salvation Army Service Extension Unit kettle while he and Stu Watson rang the bell outside of the Hood River Walmart on Dec. 22 for the Lions Club.
So he barely noticed when an elementary-aged boy, about 8-10 years old, put “something different” into the pot.
But as he helped count money with Sharon Smiley of the Salvation Army that evening, he saw that three of the four collection pots contained business card-sized notes with similar messages, each attached to dollar bills.
“I am performing 26 random acts of kindness in honor of the 26 Newton, Connecticut, shooting victims,” the card read. “You are #14, in honor of Grace McDonnell. I hope, if you can, you will ‘pay it forward’ with another random act of kindness for someone else.
The other cards were #6 for Ana Marquez-Greene, and #22 for Lauren Rousseau.
“We were really surprised,” says Smiley. “We’ve never found any of these in our collections before.”
Smiley isn’t sure if it is one person or three, but thinks it is “a pretty neat project.”
“Every penny raised is used for our projects,” Smiley says, adding that most of the programs — like providing back-to-school backpacks and supplies, money for camp, the Christmas Project, and the emergency voucher program — directly support children.
Thanks to a Twitter campaign originating with journalist Ann Curry, promoting 26 acts of kindness in memory of each of the victims of Newtown, people across the country have participated in the movement.
This is the first known instance in Hood River. And Simpson wonders: “Where did the other 23 end up?”