People Are Carrying Out 318 Random Acts of Kindness Across Boston
Cathy O'Grady and volunteers are going to blanket the city with good deeds.
Cathy OâGrady wasnât planning on being identified. But somehow, the media caught wind of her random acts of kindness all over the city this winter after pictures surfaced online of dozens of blankets with $5 gift cards she left out for the homeless.
âIt was me,â she admitted. âSomebody squealed on me. Iâm not bummed, but I didnât put it out there for me to be found. But Iâm not bummed about it. If I can motivate other people to help out, thatâs the purpose of all this.â
For the last two years, OâGrady, a Watertown resident, has been popping into Boston and trying to help the homelessâand other people that reside here, whether it be nurses, veterans, or kidsâby giving them bags of goodies filled with food, toothpaste, warm socks, and even scarves.
Her latest venture in early February during the stormy winter weather that left mounds of heavy snow on Boston, was to bring blankets to James Michael Curley Park nearÂ Faneuil Hall, marked with personalized notes, to keep those without a home warm as the frigid temperatures continued to drop. A photo of the blankets taken by a passerby quickly went viral as people tried to figure out who was behind the act of kindness.
And although it wasnât intentional, OâGrady was soon found out.
But now, OâGrady, who funds her projects through donations and sales from her side gig as an online jewelry retailer, is kicking it up a notch and is planning to hit the streets of the city to bring additional kind deeds to other folks roaming around during the blistering February weather. And she is doing it in 318 different ways.
On Friday, February 28, with the help of a woman she met through Facebook, Colleen Wogernose, OâGrady will be placing free Charlie Cards around Boston, leaving scratch tickets in random locations, buying strangers cups of coffee, and delivering 250 âsurvival kitsâ to nurses at Brigham and Womenâs Hospital.Â âI never thought it would spread this much when this all started,â she said, adding that her efforts to help the homeless kicked off when she saw a man walking around the city using a trash bag as a coat. âI was heartbroken by that. I felt like there is no human that should ever have to wear a trash bag as a coat.â
Her latest mission with Wogernose and friends was inspired by the death of Wogernoseâs husband, Chad, who came to Boston to get treatment for a rare form of cancer called Ewing Sarcoma.Â Wogernose, who is from Wisconsin and has never met OâGrady in person, is flying up to the city to help carry out the 318 acts of kindness, one for every day that her late husband fought the battle against cancer here in Boston before he passed away.
“I had come across her husband’s Facebook support page, ‘Chad’s Fight,’ and reached out to her to create a pendantÂ and donate all the profits to the family. She was thrilled and we slowly started communicating. Soon after, Chad lost his fight with cancer and we continued being friends,” said O’Grady.
The random acts of kindness for this project are funded by Superheroes Fighting Cancer, a non-profit organization.Â According to OâGradyâs blog, here are just a few acts they have planned for this Friday in Chad’s memory:
At the childrenâs hospital and the local grocer, we will be placing sixty quarters on the machines for kids to enjoy, and will be giving area restaurants fifty packs of gum to hand out to patrons when they deliver their check. To end our amazing day together, we will pay for three meals for random people while weâre out. Additionally, we have decided to hand out 250 âsurvival kitsâ for nurses to show appreciation and boost moral, and 150 care packages to the Thornton and Naumes House, the Hope Lodge, and the Beacon Houseâall lodging facilities for adults with cancer.
âItâs not just for the homeless anymore,â said OâGrady. âIt has really snowballed into something bigger.â
OâGrady said she hopes that her actions will inspire other people to give back, reach out, and basically âpay it forwardâ to make the community in Boston a better place to live.Â âI think it has worked already,â she said, referencing dollars bills that a stranger randomly attached to a set of scarves she recently laid out for homeless people in the area.
A picture of the money on the scarves ended up in her Inbox, but OâGrady told the person who sent it that she couldnât take credit for the deed.
âThat wasnât me that did that. So how cool is that?,â she said.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2014/02/25/cathy-ogrady-acts-of-kindness-boston/