Kindness is a Superpower We All Can Access by Shannon Cameron

July 13, 2023

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why? This was asked last Tuesday at our weekly meeting of neighbors we call “What’s Up, Tuesdays/¿Qué tal martes?”  Our staff that leads this meeting start with an ice breaker to make people feel at ease and build community. These ice breakers also are tiny windows into each person there. They reveal themselves to us in a beautiful way.

I was pondering what my answer would be. Would I want warp speed so I could get a lot done? How about invisibility so I could take a secret nap? Maybe the superpower to make wave my hands and have all my laundry clean, folded, and put away? Our neighbors answered this question in different ways, but all had a similar theme: caring for each other. “I wish I had the power to heal all the sick children,” said one neighbor. “I wish I could have the power to do what I use to do when I had a good paying job—take clothes a couple times a year to children in Mexico,” shared another neighbor. “I wish I could feed every hungry person.” The sharing went on and on, all being much more about others than themselves. Those that come to our pantry for food are often very low income or have no income at all. None of them wished for all the money in the world, or a beach house off the coast of Spain, or anything else seemingly “selfish”. One gentleman wished he “could teleport so I could easily give anyone a ride at anytime and be back to help out someone else.”

So often those in our community with less are villainized. Our media often comes down on those with low income calling them “lazy” or “free loaders.” Although there may be a very small minority that exist that take advantage, I see a very large majority of people that are incredibly resilient, hard-working, and desperately want to help their community.

The kindness in our neighbors that use our services is showing up in new ways as well. I’m thrilled to share more and more are volunteering their time and skills at the pantry. Our friends from Tuesdays/¿Qué tal martes?” are helping weekly in our Community Clothing Closet sort clothes and assist with those that need clothing, others are helping with food distribution, some are sharing favorite recipes in a community recipe binder. I love that more and more everyone is seeing this as their space and they have the power to shape it for the better.

I often think of a quote by the author and performer Joél Leon that states, “If we are asking for the world to be kind, we must first ask what are we doing to add more kindness to the world. If we are asking for the world to be more loving, we must first ask what are we doing to add more love to the world. We are the vessels for the things we seek.”  My firm wish is that everyone sees the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry as a vessel to add more love to the world and a place of action to make the world what we all seek.