Kindness with curry and warm hands

Take someone to an Indian buffet. (MorgueFile Photo: Scott Liddell)

Take someone to an Indian buffet. (MorgueFile Photo: Scott Liddell)

World Kindness Day happens but once a year, yet true kindness will light our lives each day. All we need are a few pair of gloves, an Indian cookbook or restaurant– and a generous heart.

Here are my next batch of international ideas, this time focused around warming up:

Fill their bellies.    Give someone a good meal and you may feed them hope, or a little appreciation along with hummus or some sliders or a spicy curry. My friend Madhusmita Bora, a dancer and writer, grew up in India in a very kind family “We always have guests at mealtimes, and it’s been a  tradition that no visitor ever leaves our home without having a meal,” she told me in an email. “On our birthdays, my mom usually goes to the temple and offers food to the homeless and needy.”  These days,  Ms. Bora cooks for friends who are sick or who have had a baby, and often donates Indian snacks to fundraisers and events.  She suggests a trip to an Indian buffet with a friend or stranger in need “would be a big act of kindness.”

Warm their hands. Winter’s wrath must be met with warmth and kindness. So buy and share small magic gloves, made in China or other Asian countries, or the thicker warmer ones. They’re great to hand out to homeless or low income people seeking a handout with uncovered hands.  Or go to a second hand store and buy a half dozen hats – for men and women – and offer those as well. They’re simple to have in your car or if you commute by bus or train, just put one of each into your back pack or briefcase.

Create a donate box.  Then make sure to toss in some sweaters or woolen socks – or cash.  In my sweetheart’s Jewish tradition, the Tzedakah sits on a table inviting coins. It’s a family charity box to collect coins and money for the needy and worthy causes. The Tzedakah dates back to the early 1800s  in Eastern Europe. Christians may use them too, during the Christmas season or yearround. My family has used cardboard “donate box,” a simple way to share books and toys, clothing that doesn’t fit or gifts that aren’t right.

Warm up your world with kindness – and please share your cultural traditions or family approaches to generosity!