Growing up, I always looked forward to the times my mom would take me to the convenience store after school. There was this big candy jar on the counter, and I’d get two gummy worms. One day, as we headed out of the store, I saw one of my friends coming up the road. He stopped, saw my gummy worms, and before he said anything, I gave him one. I’ll never forget how excited he was. It was as if I had just given him a $100 bill. From that moment on, I’ve loved giving people gifts — gifts with no strings attached, with no purpose other than to make someone smile.
As it turned out, I wasn’t the only one who found joy in this. In the 1980s, writer Anne Herbert coined the phrase “practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” She began collecting true stories about various acts of kindness and their impact on individuals and societies. Random acts of kindness began to take off and elicit positive responses all over the world.
When Hoboken Grace began nine years ago, Pastor Chris and a team of four others began committing random acts of kindness all over the city of Hoboken. They called it Simple Service. Simple Service has one goal: Through a small act of kindness, we can show a bit of how God has loved us. We want to see people smile because they were loved by someone who loves Jesus.
Through the years, we’ve been known to give granola bars to hungry commuters at the PATH and Light Rail stations. We’ve handed out waters to those playing basketball at Church Square Park, and warmers to passersby on cold winter nights. Last summer, we even gave out thousands of bags of free popcorn at Movies Under the Stars.
This year I’m excited to dedicate an entire day to random acts of kindness and Simple Service. On Saturday, March 18th, our goal is that at least 50 people will come together to reach 5,000 of their neighbors. From 10 a.m. to noon, we’ll be giving out granola bars at the PATH station, waters at the basketball courts, and balls and treats at the dog parks. We’ll also be handing out coffee for adults and balloons for kids.
I hope you’ll consider joining us for our first Simple Service Saturday on March 18th. Jesus called us to both love and serve others, and I can’t think of a better way of showing God’s love in a simple, practical way. Check out our Facebook page or just show up at Church Square Park to help bring a smile to someone’s face.