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Viral Kindness
During this COVID-19 crisis, people are stepping up and spreading goodwill. We want to hear about the ways in which Kansans are responding to this emergency with compassion, and shine a light on the humans that exemplify humanity.Every other Friday, we'll share your stories on KMUW's new commentary, Viral Kindness.Share your experience. Use the 'Talk to Us' feature on the KMUW app, or leave a voicemail at (316) 978-6789.

Viral Kindness: Making Schoolwork Work For The Whole Community

Justin Campbell works at an A-OK Super Center, but he’s pursuing a degree from WSU to improve his skills. In one of his classes, he found a way to make a real difference for people during this difficult year, as part of a team project.

"This project is part of a course through Wichita State that’s about managing effective work teams, taught by Professor Rosen. The focus is on teaching us students to group together with disparate skills and backgrounds and to work together toward a common goal. This year, with everything going on, we all chose nonprofits of different causes.

I’d started a group to collect food for the Kansas Food Bank, met with some other students that were like-minded but wanted to donate to Giving the Basics, a charity that provides hygiene items for those in need, homeless and people in shelters. We decided to unite our causes, and we’re a group of six at this point.

We’ve been running this drive since September 1st. We set up several remote locations in the city. All of them have been real responsive, folks have been able to drop off. We had a goal of collecting 2,000 food or hygienic items, and we’ve surpassed that. We’ve since surpassed our stretch goal of 3,000 items. And we’re on our way to 4,000. We also do count any monetary donations toward an item.

Before my mother had married, when she was a single mom, we had the experience of being in the food line, getting food stamps or having to go to a food bank ourselves. It means a lot. We were those kids who didn’t have a lot growing up. I’m really amazed at the generosity of a lot of folks. Target donated gift cards. One gal donated about 50 items, brand new socks, and hygiene items. It was really kind. I mean, these are folks that are probably not doing any better than anybody else right now. It’s just, if you can spare a few dollars here or there, it adds up in short order. It really does."

The donation period continues until Nov. 30. You can find more about the project at the “Addressing Local Necessities” Facebook page.

Sarah Jane Crespo is the Director of Community Engagement at KMUW. She is the creator and host of Engage ICT and the weekly Engage ICT Mini series.