Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant Winners Announcement

We’re excited to announce two winners of our August, 2021 Matt Kurtz Kindness Grants for their wonderful kindness projects. Once again, we’re able to give out 2 awards because we have so many wonderful people who support us and believe in our mission.  We truly appreciate all of the donations that make this possible.

The grants were given by Matt’s Kindness Ripples On (MKRO), an organization that encourages acts of kindness by helping people who have ideas for kindness projects but lack the funding to follow through on those ideas.

Congratulations to Airam Gomez and Humza Zaida.

They each received $250 to help fund their acts of kindness projects!

2021 grant winner airam gomez

Airam Gomez (California City, CA) exemplifies the saying, “There’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” She’s a person who believes in spreading kindness daily.

Airam said, “I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, and this actually led me to my career choice of nursing – I’m starting my second year of university. I still do strive to have a positive impact, but I also realize it’s never too early to find ways to do so and that even the “little” things make a difference – holding the door open, asking someone how their day went, or just smiling at someone. It’s why I loved my job working at fast food: I got to interact with others and had the opportunity to make their day better with every contact, whether it be through a smile or paying for desserts to anonymously add to customers’ orders. It’s why I’ve volunteered at community events and it’s why I’ve done mini-projects such as making candy sleighs with my cousins over the holidays to take to first responders. As much as I’ve loved that, I’ve been wanting to do something more – like a day filled with 18 random acts of kindness for my 18th birthday this year.”

We also believe that everyday acts of kindness matter, and if we all did them, we could change the world. So we’re happy to help Airam’s wish become a reality.

“Here are some things I would like to do: take flower bouquets to the hospital and ask the nurses to give them to patients who they think need it most, deliver chocolates and hand-written cards to the nursing home, share cupcakes with the Hope Cottage, leave coins at the parking meters, pay for someone’s coffee/food, take snacks and a Thank-You Card to first responders, gift stuffed animals at the pediatric floor at the hospital, put together gift baggies with useful items for the homeless, leave coins at the dorm laundry room, give $5 gift cards with a motivating message to random people, place dollar bills near items at the dollar store to surprise people, and hand out bags of chips with a kind message to students on-campus. I’d also love to get a birthday gift for a child who otherwise may not get one and find a family who can use a meal and provide them with it, complete with dessert. I’d like to include a motivational message with each act, as well as encouragement to help make the world a happier place by spreading kindness.”

“I truly believe kindness makes a huge difference, and I would love to celebrate life by brightening the lives of others.”

We’re impressed with all of the wonderful ideas Airam has and know that she will be making people feel good and inspire them to pass on their own ideas for kindness. What a creative and compassionate way to celebrate her 18th birthday. Happy Birthday Airam, we’re so glad to have you as part of our MKRO family.

2021 grant winner humza zaida

Humza Zaida (Mansfield, CT) started a project to reduce food waste and recycle unused, but consumable, restaurant food into communities of need. He said, “I was inspired to start this project in light of my own personal experiences growing up in a food-insecure household, as well as the peers I befriended at the University of Connecticut struggling with similar issues I once faced. I began by first looking to recycle dining hall “swipes” to students in need, and worked as a part of the university program SOS Food Recovery. As time went on, I pursued more community-based projects and ultimately founded the Restaurant Resource Project. I am connected with 12 restaurants and collect unused, but still consumable food in the mornings on a daily basis. This food gets donated to shelters like the Holy Family Home & Shelter, or the Covenant Soup Kitchen.”

Food insecurity means people were either unable to acquire enough food to meet their needs or uncertain of where their next meal might come from.

Before the pandemic, more than 35 million Americans experienced food insecurity at some point during 2019 – that includes 11 million children, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to one estimate, that number more than doubled during the Covid crisis.

When you look at the food waste, nearly 10% of the food purchased by restaurants is wasted due to purchasing oversized shipments and inflexibility within store management. The goal is to take that wasted food and share it with people in need. These issues are a matter of disorganization and waste, rather than a true shortage of food.

Humza said, “I have a group of over 40 volunteers who help with this project. While successful, I am looking to expand this program further and one of the most major bottlenecks is funding. This grant would make a meaningful difference by enabling us to purchase thermal blankets, scales, coolers and other necessary equipment in the transport of food.”

Humza’s compassionate heart shines through. He took his own negative life experience and is using that to help other people, hoping to make their lives easier and reduce their suffering.

We know his kind acts will have a huge impact of the lives of many. We’re glad to be able to help and so happy to have Humza as part of our MKRO family.

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This grant is given in honor of Matt Kurtz, (1985-2017), a young man whose personal philosophy was to live an honorable, compassionate and non-judgmental life. To give for the sake of giving, to expect nothing in return, to be aware of the world around him and to step in to help others without being asked whenever he saw the need. Matt believed in the ripple effect of a simple act of kindness – like a pebble dropped in water, it goes on and on. You can find out more about how Matt lived his life, examples of his many acts of kindness, big and small, and why this grant was created on MattsKindnessRipplesOn.com.

We’d also like to acknowledge the many people who sent in their fantastic ideas for kindness projects. While we wish we could give our grant to every kindness project submitted, there were so many fantastic ideas, we regret we have only two to give. We want to thank each and every one of you for submitting your ideas and hope you continue to spread kindness everywhere you go.

Do you have an act-of-kindness project you want to do but need help funding it? Submit your idea for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $250 and let us help you spread kindness.

Jackie Kurtz is a blogger who is on a mission to make the world better, one kindness at a time. When her son died tragically, she started a kindness website and blog as a tribute to him. In his 32 years he impacted more lives than most people do in a lifetime. Her favorite quote is, “Even if we disagree about everything, we can still be kind to each other.” – Matthew L. Jacobson You can connect with Jackie on her website or through email.

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