(Update: Adding video, comments)
'It's such a small way to make a big difference.'
PRINEVILLE, Ore (KTVZ) -- Working on its mission to enrich the community, the Crook County Foundation is encouraging simple acts of kindness through a 30-day challenge that extends through Oct. 31.
The motivation behind the challenge is to help instill a deeper sense of compassion and empathy. The challenge was created in conjunction with National Good Neighbor Day, to inspire a greater sense of empathy and compassion in Central Oregon.
Previously, the foundation organized a Good Neighbor Day event, but due to COVID-19 Delta variant concerns, they opted for a more individualized way to spread their message.
The organization notes the last 18-24 months of people's lives have been filled with controversy and negativity, leading to separation among family and friends.
Patti Norris, chair of Crook County Foundation Inclusion Committee, remarked that it's important to be kind all the time, but especially in these divisive times.
"Certainly, there are challenges in our community right now, where maybe we're not all as agreeable about all the topics and the stress that we've had of dealing with Covid, has created some additional challenges," Norris said.
But with the mindset of building great neighbors -- which include connection, invitation, celebration, awareness and availability -- the organization says it will help people build safe and supportive relationships.
Norris said the great thing about the challenge is that it's simple and usually free, except for a bit of time and energy.
Simple acts of kindness and care include introducing yourself to all of your neighbors and sharing contact information; hosting a yard clean-up day and assisting those who are unable to do the work themselves; baking a special treat and gifting your co-workers, friends, or neighbors with it; inviting someone to go on a walk or bike ride with you; holding a door for a stranger; giving a compliment to someone; sending a handwritten note just because; or simply to wave and say "hello" to those you pass.
"It's such a small way to make a big difference," Norris said.
She said she hopes the challenge will expand people's conception of community beyond the molds they're used to.
"Not everybody who lives in my community looks like me, or thinks like me, or has the same background that I do, or the same language," Norris said.
She pointed to a good way of thinking about how to build cohesive families and communities.
"Getting our heads out of our own needs and thinking about the needs of others," Norris said.
As an incentive, participants have the choice to submit their acts of kindness here online or on a paper form available at the Crook County Library. Selected winners will receive local gift cards and prizes.