Australia

Australians are sharing random acts of kindness happening during the coronavirus crisis

An offer for help spotted in Lane Cove, Sydney. Source: The Kindness Pandemic

From strangers buying each other's groceries to neighbours leaving flowers for one another, Facebook group The Kindness Pandemic is amplifying positive moments happening amid the coronavirus pandemic.

After a disturbing visit to a supermarket in Geelong, Victoria, Dr Catherine Barrett’s friend told her what she saw.

The supermarket cashier’s arms were scratched and bruised after panic-buyers became violent. 

Feeling disheartened, Dr Barrett launched a campaign called The Kindness Pandemic, encouraging people to print out kind messages and post them around their local supermarket.  

“Kindness won’t make coronavirus go away but what it can do is change our experience of it,” she told SBS News. 

The Kindness Pandemic

The campaign quickly grew into a Facebook community with more than 500,000 members and saw people from all over Australia sharing random acts of kindness - and not just in supermarkets. 

Here are just some of the stories being shared this week.

Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic
Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic

Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic
Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic

Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic
Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic

Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic
Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic

Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic
Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic

Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic
Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic

Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic
Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic

Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic
Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic

Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic
Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic

Dr Barrett is the founder and director of the national advocacy program Celebrate Ageing but now spends about 10 hours a day moderating her growing online community.

She says she is surprised at the number of people who have said the group makes them feel better about themselves amid everything that is currently happening in the world and despite their personal struggles.

“Someone even said their psychologist recommended they take a look at this group,” she said. 

Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic
Facebook/The Kindness Pandemic

It has also had an impact on her personally. 

“Somebody rang me and said ‘I'm worried that you’re on your own’, and I said ‘I'm not alone. I’m with [hundreds of thousands of] people!’ And I think that’s the experience of some people in the group too.”

Dr Barrett is now encouraging others to set up their own pages to collate acts of kindness in their suburb, town or city. 

Would you like to share your story with SBS News? Email yourstory@sbs.com.au

Australians must stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people. Indoors, there must be a density of no more than one person per four square metres of floor space. 

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. 

If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000. 

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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