Story Submitted by Suzanne S. Austin-Hill

Call: Acts of Kindness

During the pandemic, my husband and I (both aged and compromised) have been the recipients of a variety of planned and random acts of kindness from friends, neighbors, and family (near and far). One of which I shared in the May 2020 edition of Positively Powerstories. However, what has been missing from our “new normal” are the opportunities to safely donate food items, clothing, and especially schools supplies to local social service agencies (now closed due to COVID-19) as we’ve done faithfully over the last decade. All of this changed today!

Several weeks ago, the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO;, with locations in Brandon and Riverview, announced its annual Back to School Outreach. Their clarion call included lists highlighting the specific food items and school supplies needed. In anticipation of serving the surrounding communities and in light COVID-19, ECHO closed its facilities for a week-long deep cleaning. They re-opened today, July 27, 2020.

Masked and standing on a social distancing marker painted on the sidewalk, we were blessed to be among the first at the Riverview location to donate many of the items they needed along with a bag full of clothing. Although the conditions of our act of kindness are different in every way imaginable, the absolute joy found in helping those in need is still a thriving and necessary part of our pre-pandemic selves.
© July 2020 Suzanne S. Austin-Hill