CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Launa Lawson of Melrose was a target of Random Acts of Kindness on Thursday, receiving a $50 certificate toward groceries at S & S Supermarket.
“Surprised” and “excited” are words grocery shoppers and Clovis Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors each used Thursday to describe their reactions to the charity campaign happening at local grocery stores.
It’s the second year for Random Acts of Kindness. Clovis Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Bob and Pat McCullough, Lauren Edwards and Mike Morris stood at the front of S & S Supermarket at 5:30 p.m., waiting for customers with large amounts of groceries to approach the registers, then giving them grocery money.
Mike Morris, a local State Farm insurance agent and the chairman of the ambassadors, said the chamber wanted to find a way to reach out to the community and decided on Random Acts of Kindness.
“We were looking for a way to say ‘merry Christmas’ to people in a way that might really impact someone,” said Morris. “The group thought this would best accomplish what we were trying to do and really make someone’s day. It’s about showing kindness to the community.”
Morris said after the program gained so many positive reactions last year, the ambassadors decided to take on the project again this holiday season. Morris said it is not yet known if it will become an annual event, but it is a possibility due to the positive reactions from their recipients.
“I think there was hugging; there was dancing. People were just tickled to have their grocery bill reduced and sometimes, completely covered,” said Morris. “I think the business owners liked it as well, because it creates a positive experience for the local community and businesses.”
Morris said the ambassadors who participate in the event do not choose any particular type of shopper to help.
Shoppers with large amounts of groceries are selected at random and given $50 coupons to give to the cashiers. The ambassadors also give the recipients a Christmas card from the Clovis Chamber of Commerce.
Morris said they estimated being able to help at least 15 shoppers.
“I’m excited about going and being able to spread kindness. We don’t believe we’re changing the world by an means. This is just an act of kindness and a way of saying merry Christmas from the chamber … to community members,” said Morris.
Launa Lawson of Melrose, one of the lucky shoppers at S & S Supermarket Thursday night, said she was surprised but extremely grateful for the generosity.
“That just shows you what Christmas is all about,” said Lawson with tear-filled eyes. “Christmas can mean tough times. They don’t even know me and they reached out to help me.”
Pat McCullough said La Espiga, Albertson’s and Lowe’s were other grocery stores the chamber ambassadors visited Thursday night.
McCullough said she had also participated in the event last year and both times, she saw surprised but very positive reactions from recipients.
“People were just blown away by the randomness of it all,” said McCullough. “One person said he couldn’t remember the last time anyone had done anything nicer for him.”