A Box of Kindness

Today I finally found a way to help the people in my neighbourhood despite of being in lock-down. I took a plastic box with a lid, filled it with surplus items I had around the flat, and put a sign on it that stated in Spanish:

“Please open the box and take what you need, but please, leave the box. Your neighbour.”

And left it outside my door. By the evening it was empty. I live on the crossing of two neighbourhoods, to my right middle class, to my left working class or even desperately poor.

I filled the box mainly with surplus cleaning supplies and cosmetics like soap, shampoo, and bleach. A few hours later, I was sitting on my balcony, a young woman I know from view, shouted up to me ‘Did you put the box out?’ ‘Yes’, I said. She waived the large bottle of hand soap she had taken from the box at me and shouted back ‘Muchas Gracias’ to which I responded ‘No hay de que’ (Don’t mention it/You don’t need to say thank you)

Because I was so happy to have found a way to share what I have. My whole adult life, and especially the last 20+ years I have been connected to the wonderful world of the Camino de Santiago has been about sharing. When the Camino closed down due to Coronavirus/Covid-19 I lost it, for a while. It seemed there was nothing I could do to help. Now I found a way to do so, helping the people that have lived, for generations, alongside the way. It is a privilege to be able to do this.

When, as pilgrims, we packed our backpacks, we held every item in our hands and asked ourselves ‘Do I really need this on my Camino?’ Now it’s time to hold up the items in our homes and houses and ask ourselves ‘Do I really need this or can this serve somebody else better than me?’ This is walking (stationary!at home!) the Corona Camino for me …

Tips and ideas for your own Box of Kindness:

  • It doesn’t have to be a box, it can be a table, a basket – or a box.
  • Fill it with things that are non-perishable and will hold up well.
  • Think outside the food box – cleaning supplies, cosmetics, yes, and toilet paper.
  • Add some so-called ‘luxury items’ – People may have the money to buy the bare necessities, so, put something in the box that really cheers up their day …
  • If you have a garden or allotment, share your produce.

If you can’t afford shopping for extra items, put the following in your Box of Kindness:

Inspirational quotes on nicely decorated paper.

A plant or seedling from your garden or balcony.

Anything really that would be of use to somebody and/or cheer up their day.

Anything really that would put a smile on your neighbours face.

Dare to be creative!

And do NOT put any prescription medication in it! You are not a doctor, just a neighbour!

Just fill your box with kindness and the rest will take care of itself.

As for handling the box, here is what I do with mine:

It goes out at sunrise and back at sunset.

I wear gloves to move it in and out of the house.

I wipe it down before moving it out or back in.

It ‘lives’ just behind the main door, never entering my flat.

It gets checked twice daily to see what needs stocking up.

It really ain’t rocket salad 😉 We all have things at home that we don’t need, but others will. Let’s share what we have, just like we did when we walked the sacred route to Santiago.

Until we meet again in person,

Buen Camino in your life,


2 thoughts on “A Box of Kindness”

  1. Dear Sybille,
    What a lovely idea. “The Camino will provide”. It did!
    Blessings as you live into your Corona Camino. I will try to follow suit here in Calgary.

    1. Hi Carol,
      I got the idea from a FB group called Kindness Pandemic where people share their ideas and experiences with kindness during these difficult times. We might have to live with social distancing for a while, so if we can make each others life easier by spreading kindness and inspiring others to do the same …
      BC SY

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