PEI

P.E.I. mom starts random acts of kindness group

Anna Howard aims to give back with the launch of Random Acts of Kindness P.E.I.

'My hope is that it catches on and the good karma keeps going'

A photo of Anna Howard in her home. 'She taught us about kindness and acceptance and compassion,' says her sister Emily. (CBC)

Anna Howard radiates kindness. Her smile is big, her excitement bubbles over as she explains her latest project.

Howard is launching Random Act of Kindness P.E.I.

"I've always wanted to give back to the Island, I want to create a sense of generosity and unity among Islanders," Howard told CBC News.

She barely takes a breath as she goes over the details of upcoming fundraisers and her plans to execute random acts of kindness on P.E.I.

Getting the word out

The group has already created Facebook and Twitter accounts. (CBC)

The kindergarten teacher and single mom has put in endless hours to launch the new group. She's started a Facebook page, Twitter account, registered the group as a non-profit organization and recruited a 15-member board.

The group will accept nominations of people who could use a helping hand or a gesture of kindness and fundraising will help pay for those random acts.

"It might be paying off somebody's electricity bill, it might be getting a whole bunch of donations of clothes for their entire family or it could be as simple as getting one of my volunteers to mow their lawn so they have their day with their family" said Howard.

The Facebook page will report on what acts have been completed. Some acts will be done anonymously without fanfare.

Howard acknowledges some of the people accepting the kind acts may not want their names publicized and she said that will be respected. It's important people feel comfortable receiving the help, she said.

"A generous province'

She also hopes that people can pay it forward in some way after they have been helped.

There is so much poverty and desperate times here on the Island.- Anna Howard

"My hope is that it kind of catches on and the good karma keeps going," she said.

As a single mother, Howard understands what it's like to feel overwhelmed at times. She has lots of support from family and friends but she worries about people being alone and without help.

"I believe there is so much poverty and desperate times here on the Island. There are a lot of people that could really benefit from our organization," she said.

"I believe we are a generous province but I think there's a lot more we can do. There's a lot of people with no food, no clothes, no support."

Upcoming fundraiser

The group is gathering items for an auction in July. (CBC)

Howard is currently on leave from her job as a kindergarten teacher, returning to work in September, so she wanted to put her free time to good use. She's gathering donations - from prom dresses to jewelry to paintings - preparing for a big launch fundraiser July 2 at the Murphy Centre.

On her list of plans for that night is wrapping up someone in a big box.

"We're going to fly someone in from out west or from somewhere else that hasn't seen their family in a long time and their family is going to unwrap them and freak out," said Howard.

now