We’re excited to announce two winners of our February, 2021 Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant for their wonderful kindness projects. 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 Marina Arias and Nigel Mushambi.
They each received $250 to help fund their acts of kindness projects!
I was so moved by what Marina wrote when applying for our grant, truly she warmed my heart. “My name is Marina Arias (Northern Humbolt, CA) and I am 14 years old. We have a very high homeless population in our area. My mom saw a young guy who was in his teens with his dog, with no coat on. She stopped, gave him all the money she had $5. (She is a single mom, and disabled Registered nurse, so we don’t have extra money.) She went home had me get a blanket, canned foods, dog food, (sorry Diesel you’re sharing your food today), all the change we had, sanitizer, masks, hat, and her grey sweatshirt for the guy. We went back into town, he was still sitting there, and she handed it to him in a reusable bag. We told him what was in there, and we hoped he would not be in the freezing cold for long. He said “I don’t know how long.” and my mom said “Stay safe and bless you.” My mom gave him the name of the shelter in Eurekas also.
That night changed me.
As we went home, my mom was emotional and crying saying he was so young and she wished she could have done more. I started thinking, I could put together kits and when we see homeless and down on their luck people, we could hopefully spread some kindness and brighten their day! My kit includes a hat, gloves, small blanket, socks, dog food, dog bone, water, cans of protein food with pop-top lids, chips, candy and a card with some kindness that says “You are loved.” Also, a photocopy of the resources available in our area for help, which include food, motel voucher/shelter, handed to them in a reusable bag. We keep the “kindness kits” in our car, and hand them out when we see someone in need. We live in Northern Humboldt area and resources are 10 miles away. There are a lot of drifters and regulars in this area with little help.
I pay for this myself by helping my mom with chores, and my mom contributes as well, we split 1/2 and 1/2. Which means just her money…she uses her credit card and says “it’s worth it.”
Even though my mom has another upcoming ankle surgery, she stays positive with a mantra saying “I am blessed, I am equipped, and I have the favor of God.” With that attitude my sister and I have learned what matters in the world, and it’s not dwelling on the small things, that’s for sure! Spreading kindness and love. If you feel down, just look around and do for others! You will realize how truly blessed you are. You never know what one small act of kindness can do for someone.”
Marina is so right. Her mom’s kindness rippled out and touched Marina whose actions will directly touch all those she gives to but it also touched and inspired me and now I’m sure it will touch all of you. You don’t always see it, but the ripple of kindness goes on and on.
When his home school co-op shut down in March, Nigel Mushambi (Missouri City, TX) said he had no idea how hard it would be to adjust to online learning. In addition, he has a baking business with his brother Shane, 2 Bros In The Kitchen, that they also had to shut down. Nigel said while they were dealing with the frustrations of the Covid shutdowns. “Around May, my mom asked me a question that changed my perspective about COVID. She asked, “What are you going to tell your grandchildren you did during the lockdown?” At this point, I realized I was living through history. I needed to write my story. Everyone should show compassion. I love baking, so I decided to show Sweet Compassion to teachers working hard during this pandemic.”
Nigel set a goal to bake cookies for 1,000 teachers who are working extra hard to ensure their kids are able to continue learning during these difficult times. To date, they have baked and distributed cookies to over 255 teachers, sprinkling a little bit of sweetness into their lives.
Nigel (13 years old) and Shane (15 years old) have had a love of baking since they were toddlers. After winning a local baking competition three years in a row, they started 2 Bros In The Kitchen. From the beginning they felt it was important to include ways to give back to the community. Their mission is: “2 Bros in the Kitchen doesn’t just want a world filled with happy taste buds. We want people to have happy stomachs and hearts, too.” They put actions behind those words. They’ve provided meals for homeless, toys for children, donated funds for medical care, delivered frozen pops to the homeless, handed out cake-in-the-jars for police and community leaders and distributed school supplies.
Getting into the kitchen and whipping up some delicious cookies to show appreciation for teachers allows Nigel and Shane to keep doing what they love – baking and spreading kindness. MKRO loves how committed these boys are to helping others as part of their business mission. We love that they are turning their kindness to teachers who are working hard to keep kids excited and motivated in spite of the difficult circumstances. We’re proud of Nigel and Shane and so glad to help them spread sweetness in our world.
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.