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Kindness shines out of Fordland

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During a bucket list trip with her father, Jennifer Hawkins, a Fordland resident, was in the midst of gathering supplies for people in need during the 2019 holiday season. Along the trip, Hawkins said she received a message.

“God spoke to me and told me that we need do help 100 people,” said Hawkins. “On our trip, we started a Facebook page and shared marketing material. For 2020 we had a goal to give 100 blessing bags to children at Christmas. With help from the community and social media, we actually blessed over 130.”

Hawkins named the nonprofit, Kindness Outreach (K.O.). The charity’s purpose is to brighten people’s spirits and spread kindness, more specifically to the children in the Webster community. 

“Every year we choose a different elementary school” explained Hawkins. “This year we are sponsoring Fordland schools, pre-k-5th grade. Every student will receive a blessing bag.” 

The charity supports a number of outreaches and charitable efforts, but their largest project is the blessing bags. This is K.O.’s second year and will be handing out 342 bags. The bags come with many essentials and fun items for young children.

“A blessing bag consists of hygiene products: shampoo, deodorants, washcloths, bar soap, toothpaste, tooth brush and a bible. That was very important to us, that everybody received a bible,” added Hawkins. “ As well as a gift, a craft and a special activity booklet that we put together ourselves.”

K.O. has already chosen Seymour elementary for the 2022 holiday season. The organization allows its supporters and members to vote on who they plan on blessing in the future. The have had phenomenal support for this season. Their first year, Hawkins and her husband, Derrick, put-forth 70% of the funds used towards the blessing bags, this year only 20%.

“When starting charities or things likes this, you almost have to prove yourself to the community and to gain support,” Hawkins. “Thankfully that has paid off. Our support has been amazing this year”.

The whole point of the outreach is to spread kindness one blessing at a time. It appears to be very obvious that Hawkins and the K.O. succeed with their efforts. 

“Seeing the kids get their blessing bag is incredible,” described Hawkins. “Last year was amazing. One child said how amazing it was that they had their own hygiene products. You wouldn’t think that is something a child would even think of, but many kids could not believe they did not have to share with a sibling or anyone.”

If interested in supporting the charity’s efforts, visit the Kindness Outreach Facebook group or contact Jennifer Hawkins at kindnessoutreach@yahoo.com.

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