Intentional acts of kindness help us all to make a bigger difference one blessing at a time, and we want to tell you how the Trideum Foundation has brought action to a pay-it-forward idea.
Seeds of Blessing GO A LONG WAY
The grocery shopper was getting flustered. She knew she was holding up the line at Star Market, but her debit card PIN number wasn’t working. If you’ve ever had a credit card denied for any reason, you know how upsetting that can be. All she was buying was lettuce and fruit, so the person behind her paid for her groceries.
The waiter was having a rough night. It was his first week on the job, and the ovens at the restaurant had stopped working properly. Food was taking forever to cook, and customers were getting angry. All of a sudden, someone threw a fork at him. But there was one customer who understood. Instead, of getting mad at the waiter, she tacked a few extra dollars onto his tip.
Sometimes opportunities for kindness find you in places like the checkout line at Star Market or the restaurant on the verge of chaos. Or they find you when a Girl Scout approaches you, and you actually have cash with you to donate to a worthy cause (in exchange for Thin Mints).
Those opportunities are great, but one Huntsville-based company is pushing employees to go beyond random acts of kindness. The program, called Seeds of Blessing, encourages employees to be more deliberate with their time and money instead of just waiting for opportunities to find them.
From A $10 Seed
Employees received a small, $10 stipend and a letter explaining the money was just a “seed,” intended to inspire a pay-it-forward campaign. They also received a flyer to give to their act-of-kindness recipients.
“You’re trying to be more intentional about doing nice things for people,” said Lewis Hundley, vice president of Trideum Corporation. “When it’s appropriate, you pass along a flyer and challenge them to think about ways to make a bigger difference, whether it’s spreading more seeds and doing more intentional acts of kindness or finally volunteering for that mission trip or volunteering to go work for that nonprofit.”
Seeds of Blessing was inspired by a comment from Trideum Corporation president, Van Sullivan. He wanted to find ways to inspire people, particularly his employees, to be more involved in the community. He suggested, “Start with something small and grow it from there.”
The Trideum Foundation took that advice to heart and came up with the idea to plant seeds, funding each Trideum employee to see what they could do. As the Foundation notes on their website, “If we all ‘plant seeds,’ and we work to grow those seeds, what a tremendous difference our small acts can make.”
What exactly can 113 defense contractors do with $10 each? While the program is still in its infancy, Trideum wants to develop in their employees a culture of kindness, of giving back whenever and wherever the opportunity arises. And it starts with simple acts such as paying for the next car in the drive-through line and passing along the flyer or taking those extra few moments to post a photo of a Wendy’s cup on Instagram to support the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Wendy’s is donating $5 to the foundation for every photo shared with the hashtag #Share4Adoption. These simple ways of giving back are often forgotten in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Dawneen Benedetto, a systems analyst at Trideum, took her $10 and added to it before passing it along.
“Yesterday, on the way to the Chiefs game, as we were sitting in traffic, there were several bikers collecting money for the March of Dimes,” Benedetto said. “I donated not only the Seeds of Blessing [money] I received from Trideum but also $20 more. I am a firm believer in helping out when I can and absolutely love volunteering in the community.”
Another employee, Steve Stark, is multiplying his $10 in order to give a large donation to a program that builds tiny houses for homeless veterans.
“My way of planting my seed is to take the $10 sent to me by Trideum Corporation and find four other people to match my $10,” Stark said. “Once I have my four people, I will take our $50 and send it to Veterans Community Project. Then, the four people that I found to match my $10 will be encouraged to find four people that will match their $10. Thus, my four turns to sixteen people. Then, those sixteen people will be encouraged to find four people, turning into sixty-four people, and on and on.”
Curtis Meadows is a Cub Scout den leader. Recently, his group was building portable stools for when they go hiking and camping. Meadows asked for a $5 donation from the parents to cover the cost of materials, but two of the parents couldn’t afford it. Meadows used his stipend to cover the cost of materials for those two boys so they could participate with the rest of the den.
“Needless to say, I have two happy scouts and some very thankful parents,” Meadows said.
Others have given their $10 to others who need it: homeless people, missionaries and Manna House, among other charities.
Should any of these blessings lead to bigger things, the Trideum Foundation has set aside funds to help projects continue to grow. For example, a group that works remotely in Kansas is pooling their money to assist a homeless shelter. The Trideum Foundation will match their donation.
How To Get Involved
By the way, Seeds of Blessing isn’t limited to Trideum employees. The goal is for this movement to grow well beyond the Trideum employees throughout our communities.
- From the Seeds of Blessing website, download a flyer that explains the mission.
- Use that flyer, in addition to your donation or act of kindness, to encourage others to get involved.
- Tag your social media post with the hashtag #PlantSeedsOfBlessing, so Trideum Foundation leaders can track the acts-of-kindness momentum.