“Imagine a world where everyone was nice all the time,” Maria Reed, the Fort Hood spouse who serves as the Army Military Spouse of the Year, said. “That would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?”
The first Tuesday following Thanksgiving is known worldwide as Giving Tuesday, a day set aside to give back through kind words and actions.
“Think about it, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday … it’s all money, money, shop, shop, buy, buy,” Reed said. “We wanted to do something that was more about time, more about doing something.”
Reed, along with Coast Guard Military Spouse of the Year Jessica Manfre and National Guard Military Spouse of the Year Samantha Gomolka started talking during the Military Spouse of the Year town hall, where Armed Forces Insurance named them spouse of the year of their respective branches. They began discussing how they would like to help people, and before they knew it, they were on the phone with the Giving Tuesday, a global generosity movement designed to give back to individuals, communities and the Earth. Reed said they ended the phone call by vowing to reach one million people on Tuesday through Giving Tuesday Military.
“One million … is that nuts? One million is a big number,” she exclaimed, before doing the math. “One million is completely possible. If 25,000 people shared with 40 of their friends, that’s a million.”
Since then, they began to spread the word via social media and they look forward to reaching and then surpassing that number. Reed said her big goal is for #GivingTuesdayMilitary to be trending worldwide, as people reach out and give back through random acts of kindness.
Local schools have already signed up to bring coffee and doughnuts to troops on Fort Hood, and pledged to write and give out cards to people, along with many other ways of giving back. Reed said the best thing is that it doesn’t cost a thing.
“Our intent is about physically taking the time to be kind to a fellow human,” she said. “We hope people will get behind it because we’re not endorsing anybody, we’re endorsing kindness. How can you not endorse kindness?”
Reed said people keep saying, “I don’t know what to do.” She explained people can give blood, hold a door open for someone, smile at a stranger, help someone struggling with groceries, leave a note for someone … those and many other acts of kindness do not cost a penny.
People have been posting on Facebook with ideas for giving back. The page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/389127681795714 or by searching for Giving Tuesday Military. They can also be found on Instagram, Twitter or their website, GivingTuesdayMilitary.com.
Reed said they will be tracking the numbers through hashtags and encourages people to use #GivingTuesdayMilitary to let them know what they’re doing and how many people are involved. For those without social media, she said they can be reached by email at GTMilitary@gmail.com.
Reed, Manfre and Gomolka will also be featured on Monday’s episode of “The Kelly Clarkson Show” to discuss the movement. The show airs at 9 a.m. weekdays on NBC. Reed said Clarkson was excited about the kindness movement, because it was about bringing people together, no matter their race, gender, age or religion.
“We’re all the same, inside and out. When you see someone sitting alone … you know how that feels,” Reed said, recalling a video she watched of a little girl saying those words. “Go over and say, ‘wanna be my friend?’ If we all had that, there would be a lot of change.”