BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Raking a neighbor’s leaves, bringing food to a shut-in or helping a single mom with child care – the opportunities for giving where you live are endless, agree Tami Riffle and Sheila Watson.
The friends and fellow Whitehouse business owners have teamed up to encourage everyone in the Anthony Wayne-area community to “Give Where You Live” with a campaign that rewards those who post their good deeds on Facebook with a free T-shirt and sticker or a free yoga session.
“We want to get it snowballing to do good,” said Riffle, owner of Look at Me Signs, Graphics & Screen-printing. “We want to put this on Facebook and see if something triggers other ideas.”
For Halloween, Riffle decorated small pumpkins and placed them on porches of area residents. One recipient stopped in to offer a thank-you for the kind gesture, she said.
“I love to put a smile on people’s faces,” Riffle said.
Watson, the owner of Bee Free Yoga, said her daughter Kora wants to hand out pizza to homeless people on Thanksgiving, and her son Cooper loves to recognize veterans when he sees one wearing a hat bearing the branch of military they served in.
“It’s about learning to come out of your comfort zone and talking to people,” Watson said. “It’s as simple as complimenting a stranger.”
The Give Where You Live campaign was inspired by Jay Shetty, an author, coach and former monk who hosts a daily segment on the Calm app. Riffle was listening and taking notes one morning, when she heard him share the idea that “giving where you live is best.”
“I love that idea. I thought, ‘I want to do something like that,’” she said, noting that while she regularly helps charities, she wants to step it up and make it more local.
“We talked about getting people more involved. It can start local, like Whitehouse takes care of Whitehouse, then on a larger scale the Anthony Wayne area takes care of its district, and so on and so forth spreading outward,” Wat-son said.
Starting small makes it easy, the two women agreed. Instead of looking at a field filled with garbage – a task that can be overwhelming without a team – make it a goal to pick up the garbage along your street. It can also be about getting others to open up and talk about themselves, their experiences and how they might need help.
For example, Watson recently linked a friend up with Sara’s Garden in Wauseon, which offers services for those who have autism or have suffered traumatic brain injuries. For someone else, it could as simple as helping a newly divorced parent find resources to deal with food insecurity or counseling.
For those who are uncomfortable giving themselves a pat on the back, they can nominate someone they know who did something nice.
“Most people just do kind things without even thinking about it or wanting to be noticed,” Watson said.
Both women are looking forward to seeing the ways in which the Anthony Wayne community can come together and help one another through the Give Where You Live Campaign, which runs through Wednesday, November 23.
It’s simple: Give or help another person by donating time, goods or money. Post about it on Facebook and tag Look At Me Signs, Graphics & Screenprinting. Bring a screenshot into the store, which is located at 6632 Providence St., and get a free T-shirt and sticker. Adults can also get a free yoga session with Bee Free Yoga, held at Julie’s Fitness Studio, 6763 Providence St.