Langley Advance Times sales manager Shaulene Burkett and publisher Lisa Farquharson are excited to be part of the #ShowTheLove | #ShareTheLove celebration this month.(Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Langleyites being lauded for showing the love

A social media contest runs throughout November encouraging people to share local stories of kindness

One can’t help but smile and be overcome with a sense of gratitude when a stranger unexpectedly does something kind for them, be it buying coffee in a drive-thru, extending a helping hand to someone obviously in need, or maybe even making a casserole or offering a shoulder to cry on when a tragedy or crisis hits.

There are literally thousands of ways that people in this community constantly #ShowTheLove each and every day, said Shannon Todd Booth, the communications and funds development manager with Langley Hospice Society and one of the coordinators of the LangleyGives initiative.

“In a community where everyone does a little bit, it’s thanks to this kind of caring that we’re all a little bit better off,” she said.

Well, the sixth annual GivingTuesday movement sweeps the nation on Dec. 3, uniting like-minded individuals, businesses, and communities in a shared expression of “celebrating good work.”

That might come in the form of pledging time as a volunteer, advocating for a favourite cause, or simply showing compassion and caring for others be holding open a door, mowing a neighbours lawn unsolicited, bringing in their garbage cans from the curb, or offering to do a grocery shop for a temporary shut-in.

“This isn’t really a new concept for Langley,” said Todd Booth, who was quick to clarify her organization – like many others – is the beneficiary on almost a daily basis of such community-minded kindness and generosity.

“We know it. We don’t exist without it, and we want the community to know it, too, and we want everyone to join in a celebration of such.”

Year after year, Langley has shown its giving spirit and local charities and businesses have even partnered under the banner LangleyGives to promote some of the “great volunteerism and philanthropy efforts seen by Langley residents, for Langley residents,” Todd Booth said.

Well, this year, many of those groups are hoping to take their LangleyGives efforts to a whole new level.

They’re throwing a huge spotlight on all such local efforts with what they’ve dubbed the #ShowTheLove | #ShareTheLove initiative.

“Langley is a very giving community,” so running between Nov. 1 and Dec. 3, this new initiative is literally designed to showcase what this community is really made of, Todd Booth said.

#ShowTheLove #ShareTheLove is about celebrating giving in a community that is invested in each other, and by not only showing some love through kind and compassionate gestures, but sharing news of those efforts.

She’s convinced that in hearing of such stories, fellow Langleyites will be inspired to participate in the new initiative, as well.

Several local non-profits and groups – including hospice, Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation, Langley Cares Foundation, Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, Langley Animal Protection Society, Langley School District Foundation, Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program, Soroptimists International of the Langleys, Critter Care, Langley Volunteer Bureau, Miracle on Church Street, Fantzy Media, and Langley Advance Times – have all opted in.

There will be a number of coordinated community undertakings throughout the month aimed at giving people chances to give.

But this program is also about spotlighting many of the grassroots gestures undertaken everyday, Todd Booth said.

Giving back doesn’t just mean writing a cheque, she said. There’s so many other ways to give. And while for some, sharing the love is second nature, for others reading about such gestures might move and motivate them to do likewise.

It could be bringing to light a local business that opens its doors to feed someone who is hungry.

It could be expressing gratitude to a group of neighbours who save bottles for a local charity.

Or maybe it’s thanks to a neighbour doing something as simple as cutting a rose from their garden and giving it and smile away freely to fellow residents as they walk through the neighbourhood.

“How about those people who clean the streets in their neighbourhood?” Todd Booth offered as yet another suggestion.

“Our hope is that we have a community out there that is going to celebrate the good work they see,” Todd Booth reiterated.

Whether you call it pay it forward, random acts of kindness, or sharing the love, everyone has a good new story to share and by sharing it, Todd Booth said, inspire others.

She pointed to just one small example in her own life.

While driving to the hospice butterfly release at Krause Berry Farm back in August, she was lamenting about the onslaught of rain that was sure to dampen participation in the annual fund and awareness raising event.

Without question, it was her favourite event of the year, and she was feared the weather to hurt the event.

Unexpectedly, the person ahead of her at a local coffee shop bought her a coffee and a breakfast sandwich. The person was gone before she realized what happened or had a chance to thank them for their kindness.

“That changed my whole day in 30 seconds,” Todd Booth recounted.

Do you know someone who goes that extra mile?

The LangleyGives committee hopes you will #ShareTheLove by sharing that story.

RELATED STORY: #LangleyGives is out today spreading the word about GivingTuesday

“I hope we can all take 30 seconds to recognize and celebrate someone doing good work in our community,” she said. “It’s a way to celebrate and encourage more kindness throughout the community.”

Not only does the #ShowTheLove | #ShareTheLove initiative offer an opportunity to celebrate together, but for the next few weeks it offers an opportunity for people to win prizes in an online contest.

They enter simply by sharing a story online – about a person or group in Langley doing something special for others – through Instagram or Facebook – @LangleyGives – with the hashtag #ShareTheLove.

This one-month initiative culminates with the global GivingTuesday on Dec. 3, which Todd Booth describes as more than a moment.

“It’s a movement. By participating in GivingTuesday, you will join in a new generation of community champions lending a hand to make our local and global community a better place.”

• STAY TUNED TO THE LANGLEY ADVANCE TIMES FOR SOME OF THE GROUP AND INDIVIDUAL EFFORTS UNDERWAY DURING THIS MONTH’S #SHOWTHELOVE | #SHARETHELOVE CELEBRATION

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