Acts of Compassion

There’s no doubt the pandemic has made life harder for most and lonely for many. Reaching out with a random act of kindness can make a huge difference in someone’s life. This week, the Trinity community looked at the world through the eyes of others and took action to make life just a little bit sweeter for those around us through our Acts of Compassion Virtual Volunteer Project. Here are their stories.

Covert Care Packages

“Every winter, my daughters and I go to Lot Less and put together little care packages for the people who live on the sidewalks in our neighborhood. We give these neighbors hats, mittens, socks, snacks, eye-contact, connection, care, conversation, and prayers,” said Tina Moya. “My daughters (Mila Zotovich, age 11, and Leila Zotovich, age 10) are excited about participating.” Tina also received a box of aromatherapy fizzies from her sister-in-law as a surprise gift this week, which she says filled her with gratitude.

Plastic bags with small non perishable food and care items like masks

Virtual Hugs

Ruth Cosentino wrote handwritten note cards and poems to others who she thought could use a virtual hug, provided lunch for an elderly friend who has challenges getting out in bad weather (we had a lot of snow this week!), and wrote a handwritten sympathy card and text messages to a colleague who recently lost her mom.

Cards and handwritten notes including Monet painting

“These acts of compassion were given back to me in the joy in my heart for helping someone feel a sense of connection,” she wrote. Ruth also shared an apt quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."

Love through Caretaking

“My grandmother had a bad fall on Wednesday,” shared Eleanor Withers. “She slipped while going down the stairs. We are grateful she doesn't need surgery, but she is unable to walk by herself.

Eleanor Withers with her mom and grandmother

Thankfully, I am still working from home, so I was able to volunteer to stay at her house and take care of her during the week. I feel grateful that I can show some love to a woman who I greatly admire and who has shown me so much love over the years!” Eleanor also shared this photo of her grandmother, mother, and herself.

Surprise Delivery

A box of colorful yellow, pink and orange flowers

While we work from home, eat at home, and work out at home, delivered packages become one of the primary ways of experiencing the outside world. “When I heard that a co-worker had suffered a loss, I thought a little surprise delivery might brighten her day,” said Margaret Streeter. “I find that colorful flowers in the house always cheer me up.”

Sharing Kindness in All Directions

Another volunteer made a difference everywhere they went this week by donating to their church “super bowl” fund for a local food ministry; teaming up with their sister, niece, and others to provide support to teachers at a local elementary school; reconnecting with a family member who is far away; and making an in-kind donation to a local community fridge. "Freedges" have been popping up in more locations during the pandemic, a bottom-up, mutual aid initiative powered by the goodwill of neighbors. Want to learn more or get involved? Here's a guide to community fridges from Mashable.

Helping Neighbors

A box of chocolates

After the immense snowfall that hit the Northeast this week, Lynne Grifo helped clear a flooded crosswalk so pedestrians could cross the street more safely— and with dry shoes! She also shared that her cardiologist is recovering from hip surgery. “So I sent him and his office mates a box of chocolates to cheer everyone!” she says. Lynne also made charitable donations this week and signed up for a volunteer cleanup event at a park in Brooklyn, but with all the snow, the latter had to be postponed. Good thing “Compassion Week” can be any week of the year!

Throughout Compassion Week, not only did volunteers share light and love with others, but we also heard from sage speakers on the many facets of and value of compassion. In one of the online events, author Kevin Tuerff shared, “The simple things we do make a difference. For a $5 tire change, one of my employees was able to change someone's life. By doing these random acts of kindness, you get this ‘helper's high.’ You will feel good too.” Joshua Coombes, creator of #DoSomethingForNothing, added, “It’s about seeing each other in a different way, helping each other, and injecting a little bit more compassion.” You can watch the full panel event below, as well as Monday’s Archiving What’s Precious to You discussion with Trinity Archives here.



In a separate session with Julia Kristeller of the Psychotherapy & Spirituality Institute, participants wrote a group poem on compassion and love.  “We stand up for one another for peace and harmony...” the poem begins. Read the full piece below.