A chocolatada for World Kindness Day

On Thanksgiving day as a child, we knew that some guests would arrive hungry, very hungry.  That they were unbathed and sleeping in a car or a cheap motel room was a given.

The men seemed so happy to arrive at our home, and so grateful when my Mom packed up leftovers of turkey and pie when they departed.  Though we celebrated Thanksgiving, the idea seems like something that could work for World Kindness Day, which has been celebrated since 1998  on Nov. 13. It’s marked in Australia, Japan, Nepal Scotland and other countries.

Since the day is so international, so are many of my ideas for how you can partake of World Kindness Day – or any day after it that you feel generosity stirring in your heart.  Here are the first three, all involving delicious food:

  1. Bring in baklava or biscotti.  Baklava, the Greek nut filled pastries, are a sweet offering to co-workers or the teachers at your children’s school. Biscotti, which originates from Italy, is quite easy to make and readily available at supermarkets too. Both are great to offer as an afternoon accompaniment to coffee or tea. Surprise your colleagues or reward an instructor with these international treats.

    Give someone a hot chocolate - or create a chocolatada. (MorgueFile photo)

    Give someone a hot chocolate – or create a chocolatada. (MorgueFile photo)

  2. Create a chocolotada.  This Christmas-time tradition from Peru  may be staged as a party in a school or as a way to help poor villages going to the market to sell. Some invite friends and strangers into their homes for the cup of spicy hot chocolate, a slice of paneton and a toy for the children. “We’ve been doing this chocolatada since Ihave memory. My grandmother did it,” said my friend John Michael Briceno. Some also prepare soup or chicken or other food. Last year, Briceno’s mother and aunts prepared the chocolate together and served about 300 cups. “People love it. It brings joy” to those who serve and those who savor the gifts.
  3. Free fruit for the freezing.  Stash some apples or oranges in your car, and when someone is asking for a handout, give them a piece of fruit instead of a dollar. Or for something that lasts a bit longer, pick up dried fruit – cranberries,  cherries or imported apricots are marvelous as are some fruit bars. Make sure they are soft enough to eat even if the individual’s teeth are not in good shape. (That’s why most biscotti and granola bars may not be such a great idea.) You want the gift to be a kindness, not a pain.

More ideas coming tomorrow from India and Detroit.