Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 23, 2012

Sharing kind moments in the two Virginias

Associated Press

BLUEFIELD — It only took one tweet from a Twitter feed to inspire 26 acts of kindness in honor of the victims in the Connecticut school shooting. The random suggestion has inspired many Americans to celebrate the holidays and the lives of those lost with kindness.

Pipestem resident Carly Lankford Mills and her daughters Savana, 12 and Kaytlyn, 9, sent Christmas cards to the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Mills said she felt so helpless that Friday. She had been crying and had to explain the tragedy to her children.

“I had my christmas card box out as I had been working on cards that morning. Kaytlyn said, ‘Can we send those lil’ kids a card, the ones that are still alive?’,” Mills said.

Mills handed out the cards and the girls got to work.

“They chose the cards. They went by what the words inside said. One said ‘wishing you a joyous holiday.’ Kate asked me if those words were OK to send. Neither of my girls said what they put in their cards...,” Mills said.

She said her daughters wanted the other children to know they were not alone.

Diane Paris Lanter from Montcalm received a special card.

“My husband has been out of work since May and I work a part-time job,” Lanter said. “We both are in school. We have teenage children and have really struggled the last few months. I worked on Sunday but my kids went to church anyway. After church, my son came out to the car and there was an envelope in the car saying ‘Dakota, give this to your mom please.’ So when I got home from work, he gave me the envelope. When I opened it, it was a Christmas card. When I opened the card, it had a $100 bill in it. Hand written in the card, it started out ‘just a little something to help out with Christmas....’ And it was signed with love. And no name,” Lanter said.

The gift brought Lanter to tears.

Want to participate locally? Here are 26 ways to pay it forward this season and into the New Year.

1. Donate to a local food pantry.

2. Anonymously pay for another

family’s meal at a restaurant.

3. On Interstate 77? Pay the toll for the car behind yours.

4. Leave a present for the mailman.

5. Help at the Wade Center in Bluefield

6. Shovel a neighbor’s driveway

7. Send new school supplies to a classroom.

8. Write a thank you note to a former teacher.

9. Volunteer to read at the local library.

10.  Offer to baby-sit for free.

11. Donate blood for the American Red Cross.

12. Walk the neighbor’s dog.

13. Buy donuts for your colleagues at work.

14. Go through the house and collect unused toys and clothing for the Union Mission and Salvation Army.

15. Save coupons for a busy mom.

16. Take a pet to visit a nursing home.

17. Adopt an animal from the shelter.

18. Take a sick friend soup and


19. Buy a last-minute Christmas

present at a local store.

20. Leave an encouraging post-it

note  on your boss’ desk.

21. Donate to an educational


22. Buy a book, read and pass it on.

23. Donate old cell phones, eye

glasses and other useful items.

24. Give a college student a gas card.

25. Pick up trash in your


26. Plant a tree in the spring at a local park.

If you participate, post your act of kindness on your Facebook or Twitter account to encourage others to pay it forward.