Each member attending the weekly Edmonds Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast Wednesday morning received an unexpected surprise: A $10 bill, all in the name of spreading kindness.
The cash, inserted into individual money folders printed with the phrase “Make Kindness Normal,” was distributed by Kevin Hollinger, pastor of Edmonds’ Edgewood Baptist Church.
“He said he believed that we could each make a big difference in the world if we started with small gestures,” recalled Kathy Hashbarger, My Edmonds News advertising sales representative who was at the meeting. “And that some days small gestures matter more than we can imagine to those in need of a little kindness.”
The chamber members “were quite moved,” Hashbarger said, “and the ripple of the generosity was palpable as each of the 49 attendees quietly resolved to spend their $10 to further kindness in 49 personal ways.”
Hollinger explained in an email that he has been spreading the “Make Kindness Normal” message at chamber networking meetings ever since he saw a shirt with that message a few weeks ago at the Edmonds Museum farmers market. He bought the shirt and wore it to the next chamber meeting, distributing buttons with the same message. Then, he said, he attended last week’s fundraising breakfast for local nonprofit Clothes for Kids, where he heard the keynote speaker describe “how a new pair of shoes can really brighten the day of a child.”
The message inspired Hollinger to bring enough $10 bills to distribute to each person attending the next chamber breakfast.
“My thought was that people could take a person they knew out for coffee or use the money in some other way to experience and share kindness,” he said. “I wanted people to know that they matter. I wanted them to know that they can, and do, make a difference in the world.”
Added Hollinger: “I have been blessed by many people who have shown me more kindness than I could ever match or repay. I am delighted to be a part of the community. I hope we all can agree that people should not have to agree with each other, to agree to be kind to each other.”