Sara Kirschenbaum
Palm Up
Go back to Blog

Acts of Kindness

Posted Friday, Feb 22nd, 2013 at 5:34am

I had been planning this for a couple weeks. To place 28 gifts around Portland, Oregon on Valentine's Day in honor of the 28 people who died in the Connecticut school shooting. But then when I broke up with my girlfriend two days before Valentine's Day (after 12 years of being alone on Valentine's Day) the effort to spread kindness and love seemed even more poignant. I got the idea from Facebook: 26actsofkindness. I wanted to add two more acts of kindness for the shooter and his mother who were both killed that day as well.

I put out the word on my facebook page that I wanted to do this and got several responses. As it turned out, three people joined me for the endeavor during three parts of the day. I was planning to spend a couple hundred dollars on the project but that turned out not to be necessary - the donations came in from all around my community.

My rules: I committed not to photograph and hopefully not to even see the people who opened the gifts. I didn't want to be attached to the outcome and to just offer it up to the universe. Three times I did see the lucky finders and twice I was unhappy about it. The gifts were placed in a variety of neighborhoods. Gift certificates were put near the stores where they could be redeemed so that transportation would not be an issue for whomever found them.

All envelopes had a card, a note, and the following list (filled out): list

I started out in St. John's with Polly Christopher.

One: In memory of Charlotte Bacon, Age 6 - A $5 gift certificate to Starbucks: 1

Two: In memory of Daniel Barden, Age 7 - A $10 gift certificate to Starbucks: 2

Three: In memory of Rachel Davino, Age 29 - A $5 gift certificate to Starbucks: 3

Four: In memory of Olivia Engel, Age 6 - A $5 gift certificate to Fred Myer: 4

Five: In memory of Josephine Gay, Age 7 - A $5 gift certificate to Fred Myer:


Six: In memory of Ana M. Marquez-Greene, Age 6 - A $15 gift certificate to Fred Myer:


Seven: In memory of Dylan Hockley, Age 6 - A $15 gift certificate to Fred Myer:


Eight: In memory of Dawn Hocksprung, Age 47 - A $15 gift certificate to Fred Myer:



Nine: In memory of Madeleine F. Hsu, Age 6 - A $5 gift certificate to Fred Myer:


This evnelope was left at a bus stop. And the woman who found it came down the street while we were still placing cards and said thank you - she said, "And today is my birthday!"

Ten: In memory of Catherine V. Hubbard, Age 6 - A $5 gift certificate to Fred Myer:


Eleven: In memory of Chase Kowalski, Age 7 - A $5 gift certificate to Fred Myer:


Twelve: In memory of Jesse Lewis, Age 6 - A $25 gift certificate to BiMart - tucked in a flat of Sugar Snap Peas outside of Bimart. The gift certificate had been given to me by an elderly neighbor who I had helped when she got locked out of her house. I didn't feel comfortable using it for myself so this was one way to give it back to the neighborhood:


Thirteen: In memory of James Mattioli, Age 6 - a $5 gift certificate to Cellar Door Coffee:



Fourteen: In memory of Grace McDonnell, Age 7 - a $5 gift certificate to Cellar Door Coffee. I made the decision to put this one on a Porsche! Everyone needs love right?



Fifteen: In memory of Anne Marie Murphy, Age 52 - - a $5 gift certificate to Cellar Door Coffee:


Sixteen: In memory of Emilie Parker, Age 6 - a $40 gift certificate to BiMart - tucked into the windshield of a firetruck (also a gift from a neighbor).


At this point in the day Polly left for other errands and Christina Malango joined me to give away some more gifts and to participate in the One Billion Rising Valentine's Day Actions. One Billion rising is a world wide protest against violence against women that will affect 1 billion women!

Seventeen: In memory of Jack Pinto, Age 6 - $25 gift certificate to Regal Cinemas.


I saw a man pick up this envelope and before he opened it he went chasing after a rose that someone had left on the street for someone to pick up. Lucky guy!

Eighteen: In memory of Noah Pozner, Age 6 - $100 gift certificate to Fred Myer. This was a prize I won at a Basic Rights Oregon fundraiser. First we put this big prize here:


But when I realized it was right by the entrance to a bar I decided to move it to here:


As I was driving away I saw something amazing. A little girl of about 10-years-old, in a pink coat, came up to the envelope. She knelt down, opened the envelope and looked at the gift certificate inside. She put it back it, tucked it back where it had been in the planter and skipped off with one of the balloons!


I never saw who got the $100 gift certificate.

Nineteen: Caroline Previdi, Age 6 - a pair of earrings and a piece of paper that said, "forgive."


At this point Christina and I went into a Starbuck near where there was to be a dance flash mob for One Billion Rising. We bought four $5 gift certificates to Starbucks and assembled various goodies.


Here is Christina, one of my partners in Acts of Kindness:


Twenty: In memory of Jessica Rekos, Age 6 - $5 gift certificate to Starbucks, and two metal token for "love" and "joy." We put it where the flash mob was to take place:


You can see it here right in the middle of everything!


Including the dancing!


Twenty-one: In memory of Avielle Richman, age 6 - a ring of mine that it was time to let go of (there is a story there!) and a $5 gift certificate to Starbucks:


A very rowdy teenage boy grabbed this package. It disappointed me a bit but sort of intrigued me!

Twenty-two: In memory of Lauren Russeau, age 30 - A $5 gift certificate to Starbucks. We stuck it in the hand of a famous Portland sculpture:


Twenty-three: In memory of Mary Sherlach, age 56 - A $5 gift certificate to Starbucks:


On the way out of Pioneer Square where the One Billion Rising flash mob was going on, we tucked a few gifts in the planters by the park. Here is a piece of my pottery:


And another:


And a bracelet in a box:


Christina took off at this point and later in the evening I met up with Jill Walters. We placed three more.

Twenty-four: In memory of Victoria Soto, age 27 - a $10 gift certificate to Powell's books:


Twenty-five: In memory of Benjamin Wheeler, age 6 - a $10 gift certificate to Powell's books:


Twenty-six: In memory of Allison N. Wyatt, age 6 - a $25 gift certificate to Bread and Ink Cafe:


At this point I ran out of steam for the last two so dear Jill said she would do them in the neighborhood of her work in Outer Southeast. She left two envelopes:

Twenty-seven: in memory of Nancy Lanz, age 52 - a $10 gift certificate to Powell's Books left in Lentz Park.

Twenty-eight: in memory of Adam Lanza, age 20 - a $10 gift certificate to Powell's Books left near a Outer SE library.

Epilogue: the day after Valentine's Day I went to see the Vagina Monologues and won a $50 gift certificate to a fancy local restaurant - thanks universe for the nod!


  1. Dayna Salva Wrote on Friday, Feb 22nd, 2013 at 2:22pm

    Such a beautiful act of love! You are amazing Sara! I know if I would've stumbled on one of those letters, it would've been a beautiful experience. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. Kicki Masthem. Wrote on Thursday, Mar 07th, 2013 at 4:18am

    How fun and thoughtful. People are so interesting. If we could just let down our guard and be present in the moment. Let people know how we feel with words that can sink in. I heart you Sara!

  3. Sondra Kelly-Green Wrote on Thursday, Mar 07th, 2013 at 7:24am

    Bless you and your friends, Sarah. One of these envelops sounds like a short story. So affirming to hear how the universe can give back this swiftly. I think ya'll took its breath way!

  4. droitausommeil Wrote on Saturday, Dec 31st, 2022 at 4:44am

    pro max 12 case amazon waikiki dresses nike air perce 1 low nero fire calgary flames reverse retro hoodie long dress with sweater air jordan iv svart droitausommeil

  5. EyeLef Wrote on Thursday, May 11th, 2023 at 12:34am

    amoxil generic [url=]amoxil over the counter[/url] amoxil 500 mg

  6. newcarlights Wrote on Friday, May 12th, 2023 at 1:53am

    polo ralph lauren outlet sale new in zara dresses nike air force 1 shadow neon blanc womens cleveland browns 23 joe haden pink bubble gum 2015 nfl jersey nike free 5.0 black pink yellow for cheap newcarlights

  7. EyeLef Wrote on Sunday, May 14th, 2023 at 4:25pm

    [url=]fildena 100 mg for sale[/url]

  8. contiendas Wrote on Monday, May 15th, 2023 at 8:14am

    breastfeeding shirts plus sizegymnastics mom shirtmini blouse dressbig and tall sleeveless shirts jordan 12 negro amarillonew jordan 3air jordan 4 fusion laser cool grigio violanike sb stefan janoski max noir friday samsung galaxy a52 spigenvuitton vanity casebest rugged iphone 12 pro max caseotterbox 8 plus defender moncler k2 babymoncler eus down jacketmoncler gizemmoncler anges jacket leith tank dresszara nursing clothesbrandt linen dresswomens black slip dress vince carter dino jerseybills fan gearbrady chargers jerseysteelers autographed jersey contiendas

  9. wdifah Wrote on Tuesday, May 16th, 2023 at 12:33am

    girl short frock design 2012 new nfl jerseys cincinnati bengals 18 a.j. green game orange with c patch jerseys pandora letter j charm pandora wolf kendall jenner new york yankees hat kings bloomingdales womens dresses sale wdifah

  10. Elwoodimabe Wrote on Wednesday, May 17th, 2023 at 3:53pm

    [url=]online tadacip[/url]

  11. EyeLef Wrote on Thursday, May 18th, 2023 at 7:01am

    [url=]robaxin price 500mg[/url]

  12. dtcgzb Wrote on Friday, May 19th, 2023 at 2:59am

    boston bruins apparel cheap cheap adidas x football bootsgreen black nike zoom rookiejordan 12 grey and pinknew balance 574 blanc marine pastel dresses forever 21 texas rangers smu hat run boston red sox 1975 hat viet 2017 adidas originals zx flux damen grau dtcgzb

  13. MichaelDop Wrote on Friday, May 19th, 2023 at 1:00pm

    [url=]cheap cafergot[/url]

  14. DavidKes Wrote on Saturday, May 20th, 2023 at 7:17am

    [url=]vermox buy[/url]

  15. MichaelDop Wrote on Sunday, May 21st, 2023 at 4:51am

    [url=]canadian pharmacy sildenafil[/url]

  16. MichaelDop Wrote on Sunday, May 21st, 2023 at 5:30pm

    [url=]albendazole how to[/url]

  17. filmparki Wrote on Monday, May 22nd, 2023 at 6:25am

    butterfly bracelet pandora coach hutton colorblockmichael kors dome satchelmk pebbled leather convertible crossbody bagmichael kors cheetah backpack purse sacramento kings hat new era for cheap mel blount jersey mitchell ness wine junior bridesmaid dresses filmparki

  18. DavidKes Wrote on Wednesday, May 24th, 2023 at 12:55am

    [url=]buy lisinopril 2.5 mg[/url]

  19. MichaelDop Wrote on Thursday, May 25th, 2023 at 3:54am

    [url=]xenical for sale usa[/url]

  20. mahmudtarek Wrote on Thursday, May 25th, 2023 at 8:51pm

    oladipo city jersey austin reaves jersey lakersnew york liberty uniformssacramento kings 2022 jerseyluongo captain jersey h m viscose dress boho attire female cheap tommy hilfiger dresses coach checkbook mahmudtarek

  21. EyeLef Wrote on Friday, May 26th, 2023 at 3:12am

    [url=]where to buy prednisone without prescription[/url]

  22. Davisfef Wrote on Saturday, May 27th, 2023 at 4:48pm

    [url=]citalopram 20 mg for anxiety[/url]

  23. EyeLef Wrote on Sunday, May 28th, 2023 at 5:51pm

    [url=]cheap levitra generic[/url]

  24. EyeLef Wrote on Monday, May 29th, 2023 at 9:31am

    [url=]cost of augmentin 625 mg[/url]

  25. Darrylbem Wrote on Monday, May 29th, 2023 at 6:38pm

    [url=]chloroquine brand name[/url]

  26. Davisfef Wrote on Tuesday, May 30th, 2023 at 8:09am

    [url=]where to buy lasix water pill[/url]

  27. Darrylbem Wrote on Wednesday, May 31st, 2023 at 4:26am

    [url=]viagra for sale online in canada[/url]

  28. chinemile Wrote on Thursday, Jun 01st, 2023 at 1:51am

    oversized linen white shirt moncler aloes jacket nike free run 4 blanc own the run long sleeve teeneon oversized shirtpolo ralph lauren classic cotton woven boxerpolo top long sleeve samsung a22s caseblue iphone xr with clear caseblack phone case iphone xsletv mobile cover online chinemile

  29. Elwoodimabe Wrote on Friday, Jun 02nd, 2023 at 6:58am

    [url=]prozac 40mg cost[/url]

  30. MichaelDop Wrote on Sunday, Jun 04th, 2023 at 5:16am

    [url=]phenergan 25mg for sale[/url]

  31. Elwoodimabe Wrote on Tuesday, Jun 06th, 2023 at 2:16pm

    [url=]over the counter diflucan pill[/url]

  32. JoeLef Wrote on Wednesday, Jun 07th, 2023 at 4:07am

    [url=]propecia sale[/url]

  33. wanakahomes Wrote on Wednesday, Jun 07th, 2023 at 11:35am

    lord taylor evening dresses blush satin slip dress the great gatsby dress up jordan hats pink quart brian dawkins eagles jersey for cheap nfl knit hats seahawks 5k wanakahomes

  34. EyeLef Wrote on Friday, Jun 09th, 2023 at 6:06pm

    [url=]avodart online prescription[/url]

  35. SamLef Wrote on Saturday, Jun 10th, 2023 at 10:33am

    [url=]avodart uk[/url]

  36. Josephambus Wrote on Saturday, Jun 10th, 2023 at 8:42pm

    [url=]tetracycline for sale no prescription[/url]

  37. emrefirin Wrote on Saturday, Jun 10th, 2023 at 11:15pm

    red youth football pants new era atlanta braves hat for sale white revolve dress 14s jordans black and yellow boston red sox cap nike 2014 air jordan 13 low all black shoes emrefirin

  38. MichaelDop Wrote on Monday, Jun 12th, 2023 at 9:26pm

    [url=]tadacip 20 mg price[/url]

  39. Samueljem Wrote on Tuesday, Jun 13th, 2023 at 11:50pm

    [url=]phenergan pharmacy[/url]

  40. Samueljem Wrote on Wednesday, Jun 14th, 2023 at 11:27am

    [url=]where can i buy tetracycline[/url]

  41. depiloecia Wrote on Wednesday, Jun 14th, 2023 at 6:33pm

    not rated wedge sneakers packers nike apparel nfl cleveland browns hover helmet dallas cowboys cancer cap michael kors voyager tote blue puma composite toeasics gel kayano 24 black noirjordan 12 reverse flu game foot lockernike air max thea light blu femminile depiloecia

  42. EyeLef Wrote on Thursday, Jun 15th, 2023 at 12:16pm

    [url=]celebrex 250 mg[/url]

  43. EyeLef Wrote on Friday, Jun 16th, 2023 at 9:23am

    [url=]plaquenil generic cost[/url]

  44. DavidKes Wrote on Friday, Jun 16th, 2023 at 9:53am

    [url=]terramycin for cats petsmart[/url]

  45. alucram Wrote on Tuesday, Jun 20th, 2023 at 12:44am

    moncler tiac quilted down jacket kobe 11 white horse for sale for cheap renaissance corset dresses for sale silver shimmer gown salah arabic jersey jordan 1 equality 2019 alucram

  46. IvyLef Wrote on Tuesday, Jun 20th, 2023 at 8:43am

    [url=]desyrel 25 mg[/url]

  47. Davisfef Wrote on Wednesday, Jun 21st, 2023 at 12:32am

    [url=]buy phenergan 25mg uk[/url]

  48. MaryLef Wrote on Wednesday, Jun 21st, 2023 at 8:36am

    [url=]fluoxetine prescription cost[/url]

  49. MichaelDop Wrote on Wednesday, Jun 21st, 2023 at 11:30am

    [url=]dipyridamole eye drops[/url]

  50. Richardspeal Wrote on Wednesday, Jun 21st, 2023 at 12:43pm

    [url=]zofran price uk[/url]

Leave a Comment

Fields marked with a * are required