By Amy Byres for the Rio Rancho Observer
RIO RANCHO, N.M. — “Kindness during COVID” highlights the bright side in uncertain times.
This Facebook page began with a Sandoval County committee called the Celebration Task Force.
“The task force usually comes up with ideas for fundraising events that help pay for things like food or prizes that help boost morale for the county employees,” said county spokesman Stephen Montoya.
He sits on the committee with Belle Allen from the county tourism department. They tossed around ideas with the goal to boost morale and stick to a budget, he said.
“After shooting some ideas back and forth with each other, I said something to the effect of we should do something that doesn’t require money, maybe just a story or photo of kindness that could uplift our fellow co-workers,” Montoya said. “That’s when Belle said, ‘What about Kindness during COVID?’”
This page grew from county employees sharing their acts of kindness to county residents sharing stories as well, he said.
Montoya and Allen work on Kindness during COVID as a side project from their regular duties, monitoring it to ensure its kindness, he said.
So far, Montoya’s favorite act of kindness has been from the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office, he said.
Deputies found a little boy named Jeremiah who had to cancel his birthday party due to the pandemic.
“So in light of that, they got permission to patrol his street in a line of sheriff’s vehicles while singing him happy birthday over a bull horn. It’s all on Facebook; you can see the look on Jeremiah’s face when the sheriff arrives. It’s priceless to give like that and this is exactly what we are looking for,” he said.
Montoya said the goal of this Facebook page is to bring joy into the world during uncertain times.
The page exists “to highlight the human condition and celebrate the small things,” he said. “Hopefully, we won’t need this page for much longer. But until then, I hope in some small way to bring some light into this darkness we are trying to navigate. There is a mural on my neighbor’s wall that says, ‘Kindness is contagious.’ I see it every day on my way into work. This simple sign gives me hope and inspiration. So I want to pay it forward with this page.”
To share something on the page, email Montoya at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find the page by searching ‘Kindness during COVID’ in Facebook’s search bar.
“I think sometimes the simplest gestures can be the most effective, like opening the door for someone behind you, or smiling at someone when they look down. A kind word like, ‘We are in this together; it’s OK to be scared, but I am here for you.’ That can really make a world of difference in someone’s life,” he said.