The first-ever Kindness Day in Bexley brought residents together to participate in a variety of activities to express their concern for others in the community and beyond.
The Sept. 24 event drew 75 participants from Bexley and as far away as Lancaster and Boston, all of whom showed up at the Jeffrey Park shelter next to the David H. Madison Community Pool to do good things for the community.
The Kindness Day concept arose from a recent discussion among members of the Mindfulness Community of Columbus, a meditation group that meets in Bexley. The group started the Little Free Pantry, which has boxes where people can take and leave food items. The boxes are located at 686 S. Keller Road, the intersection of Livingston Avenue and Vernon Road and in front of Life Church, 620 Alum Creek Drive.
"It's a nationwide movement, but here in Bexley, we have three (locations) now and I hear about two more that are going to be put up in the near future," Diane Strausser, one of the organizers, said. "We just decided that this would be a natural outgrowth."
During Kindness Day, volunteers made "kindness kits" that contained toiletries and other personal care items for the homeless and for first responders who offer relief for victims of hurricanes and other disasters.
They also wrote postcards showing support to first responders and military personnel and decorated water bottles with positive messages that will be left in the free pantries. Volunteers made giant tissue-paper flowers for hospital patients and painted "kindness rocks," which are small stones emblazoned with inspirational sayings that are stationed throughout the city.
Another group of volunteers mixed ingredients for containers of a body scrub made of organic ingredients. The body scrub will be sold at Just Cause, a boutique that opened in July at 2719 E. Main St., with proceeds benefitting women in recovery from substance abuse.
"The things in there are made by either the volunteers or the women in recovery," said Kelli Beightler, Just Cause's proprietor. "We're doing great. Bexley's been really supportive."
Also during Kindness Day, the Paul Baker Trio, a group of local jazz musicians, donated their time and played live music as the volunteers worked. The Bexley Moms Club provided desserts.
The Clean Title Agency, 2154 E. Main St., sponsored the event.
Kindness Day organizers hope the event will catch on and become a staple in Bexley, Strausser said.
"We're hoping this becomes a yearly event," she said. "It's a way for people from the community to come together and do something really kind and have fun."