SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Kindness is contagious and sharing a smile or holding a door open for another often leads to more good deeds. That's the theory behind the World Kindness Movement that christened the first World Kindness Day back in 1998. The Memorial Middle School's Community Cares Club marked World Kindness Day 2019 on November 13 by lending a helping hand to the school custodial staff. Several students pitched in by sweeping up in the hallways, wiping down cafeteria tables and desks as well as running the vacuum over rugs.

However, the theme of the club and Memorial is not just to have a day to spread kindness once a year, but to reach out a helping hand and a kind word all year long. The sixth through eighth grade school starts off each school day with a quote aimed at embracing warm-heartedness. The kindness initiative is also something the other three schools in the Spotswood School District have been focusing on during the 2019-20 school year. Recently, Spotswood High School's National Honor Society promoted a school-wide food drive that helped to stock the shelves of the Alice's CUP Food Pantry on Main Street.

Memorial's Community Cares Club got behind the cause to help in the fight against hunger as well, but on a more global scale. The group joined Heifer International. Heifer International is a non-profit organization whose headquarters are based in Arkansas. Its goal is to assist in the world hunger epidemic by providing struggling communities with a plan to combat poverty from "the ground up." The organization gives agricultural training to communities as well as livestock to aid residents in not only having healthy food to eat, but a way to sustain themselves.

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The Community Cares Club got involved with Heifer International's Gift of a Goat's program. Through donations, a goat is provided to a poverty-stricken family. Goats provide several quarts of milk a day that can be used to drink as well as make cheese or yogurts. With guidance and training, families participating in the program learn to use the animal's manure to help fertilize vegetable gardens as well a breed to goats to eventually operate small dairies. For $120 a goat will be given to a struggling family across the globe. Participants can also share a goat for $10.

From Memorial's Community Cares Club's helping hands to Pittsburgh's Cardigan Day in the spirit of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, kindness was on the hearts and minds of many on Wednesday though the Ancient Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca perhaps summed it up best when he said, “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.”

For more information about Heifer International's Gift of a Goat program, visit the organization's website.