Extraordinary People

Discover the heart-warming acts of kindness transforming lives

Can you help someone in need?

While loaning someone cash or helping a friend move house are very generous, acts of kindness don’t always need to be so grandiose.

In fact, it’s the little things that can spark the biggest change ­– from a kids’ watch to an action figure toy – that could improve a life.

Let’s rewind a little… it all started when Jaime Thurston saw an advert on a second-hand shopping website from a woman in desperate need of a rug.

Turns out, that woman had just fled a violent relationship and needed a rug for her new home so that her kids would stop cutting their feet on the floor.

[Credit: Jaime Thurston]

Jamie was desperate to help and while she didn’t have a rug, she did have a car, so she called on her friends to donate items and drove them all to the woman.

When the stranger opened the door, she burst into tears, stunned at the kindness displayed by someone who didn’t even know her.

It was this interaction that prompted Jamie to do more and she began brainstorming ways to boost the ripple effect of kindness ­– this is when 52 Lives was born.

[Credit: Jaime Thurston]

What initially began as a Facebook page to help one family per week soon snowballed into a charity that has become Jamie’s full-time baby.

Rather than do it alone, or with her own social network, she calls on the public to help give donations in the form of messages, uniforms, or household items.

She incentivises them to gift what they can by sharing stories of those in need and, crucially, why they need the items they do.

Jamie said: “One of the things I love about what we do is that our criteria is deliberately, incredibly broad. We don’t care how old you are or whatever it is that you need. We just help people who are in need of kindness.”

As well as spreading the love with tangible items, Jamie also educates schools on altruism and how they can help their students understand the power of kindness.

[Credit: Mei Ling]

Jamie explained: “What I find challenging sometimes is dealing with people who aren’t being very nice or are being rude.

“They’re the people who normally need kindness the most and responding back with unkindness is only going to make the world worse.”

Chatting to Positive News, she added: “If people are in bad states of mind themselves, they do take it out on the people around them. I don’t know if we can prevent that from happening – it’s just human behaviour – but what we can do is rectify things. If I am rude to somebody, I will go back and apologise.”

Next time a loved one lashes out, remember they might be crying out for a hug.

To turn those kindness ripples into waves, click here: 52 Lives.

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