Making an Impact with Kindness

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“A little spark of kindness can put a colossal burst of sunshine into someone’s day.” – Unknown

In times of great challenges, the most simple and vital thing we can do is be kind. We can all agree that 2020 has been a year of great challenges. It is easy to get swept up in fear and chaos that is our lives. However, the best way to stay grounded in the battle is to be kind; to yourself, and to others.

ONA was founded on the principles of helping others understand that they are never alone and will never be forgotten — particularly in regards to veterans and military members. In the midst of this global pandemic, ONA was able to adapt to the world around us and serve people in a new way, underneath the umbrella of our mission. Specifically, we created 2 new services to aid people across the country: COVID Relief Kits and the Healthcare Hero Restaurant Campaign. 

COVID-19 Relief Kits were created when looking at the food supply from our care packages that weren’t moving as fast as they normally were. Then realizing that the number of families and individuals affected financially during the pandemic, which brings up the struggles and anxieties surrounding food insecurity and isolation. Veterans may not be able to get what they need either because their income has been cut, or they might not feel safe to be able to go out and get it. CNBC reported that 1 in 4 Americans are skipping meals or relying on food donations during the pandemic. Therefore, ONA’s COVID-19 Relief Kits came to be! We send snacks, non-perishable food items, personal hygiene products, and Door County Coffee to those who may need them. If you, or someone you know, is needing a little supplementation to your weekly grocery run, you can submit the form here.

In the few months that this service has been available, we have been so touched as the responses from the families. We recently received a sweet letter from a caregiver for a 90-year-old Korean War veteran in Wisconsin who received one of the first sent out. She described, “he wanted me to read your card over and over and look at all his treasures. He struggles with memory problems but was so surprised and loved his package It really made his day.” 

Now, doesn’t that just melt your heart?

On the opposite side of the coin, the Healthcare Hero Restaurant Campaign was created to bring a little cheer to healthcare professionals and help get them some delivery/takeout meals for long days at the hospitals, or when they were too exhausted to cook when they got home. As a bonus, it was a great way for ONA to also give back to some local restaurants, especially those who have supported us in the past. For example, in the Door County, Wisconsin area, many people were thrilled at the idea of getting some Wild Tomato Wood Fired Pizza takeout (and who can blame them when it’s so delicious) — and we were thrilled to support one of our favorite local restaurants. We were beyond thrilled to see that they choose Operation Not Alone to be the June Donation Creation receipt at their Fish Creek and Sister Bay restaurants. $1 from every pizza sold will go back to ONA throughout the entire month of June!

People can submit the email of a healthcare worker and name of their restaurant of choice, and then we send them an e-gift card in return. This is our way of offering a simple thank you for their tireless work and sacrifices to help patients and keep our communities healthy. Requests for this can be emailed to: 

One healthcare hero reached out to tell us, “your acts of kindness are forever grateful in these times of need and helping one another.” Another exclaimed, “just got the email from your organization and I could cry it was so sweet! Thank you!” It’s these mission moments that keep us going — and thank you all for the important and life-saving work that you do! 

These impactful projects would never be possible without each and every single one of YOU! The community that makes up our ONA Family is sensational and always has the power to blow us away with your generosity. For example, when our CEO, Susan’s, birthday came around in April, this community rallied together to donate over $700 towards more COVID Relief Kits and Healthcare Hero gift cards! Plus, thanks to some of our amazing sponsors like Door County Coffee & Tea and Green Bay Packaging, sending these kits out was a snap! 

Times like these can be trying, but with kindness, we can overcome it all and make a lasting impact on those around us. Root yourself in your personal mission to guide yourself through difficult times. You never know when your small spark of kindness could light up someone else’s life.

Allison Foster

Communications Intern

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