Mr. Rogers once said, “There are three ways to ultimate success. The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind. “
In honor of Fred Rogers’ legacy of kindness, Governor Tom Wolf has declared May 23rd to be “1-4-3 Day” and asks Pennsylvanians to thank each other today through Sunday.
Why May 23? It’s the 143rd day of the year, and Mr. Rogers often used “143” to say “I love you” because there is one letter in “I”, four in “Love”, and three in “You”.
After so much struggle and heartbreak over the past year, there couldn’t be a more necessary time to spread love, do good deeds, and help your neighbors. We all have the power to make a positive difference in our communities, one type of action at a time.
When Yinz are looking for some inspiration We’ve put together a list of 13 ways you can celebrate # 143DayInPA in the place where Mr. Rogers called home.
Pittsburgh greeting card set (📸: @lovepittsburghshop)
1) Write someone a thoughtful note that you haven’t seen in a while.
With the rise in vaccinations, we can finally see some of our family members and friends again, but many of us still miss special people in our lives. Write your heart down on paper and send a note to someone you haven’t seen in a while. Nothing lives up to the excitement of getting snail mail from a friend.
May we suggest using Pittsburgh-themed cards like these from Love, Pittsburgh?
2) Donate or volunteer to your favorite local charity.
There are tons of nonprofits in Pittsburgh doing a great job helping the community, especially now when so many of our neighbors are in need.
Do you need ideas? Check out 412 Food Rescue, which, with thousands of volunteers, is able to reclaim healthy food and give it to those who need it while preventing it from getting into the waste stream. You can also help welcome Pittsburgh’s newest neighbors taking refuge with Hello Neighbor, transforming vulnerable neighborhoods of Pittsburgh from the ground up with Neighborhood Allies, or celebrate a happy birthday to a child in need with Beverly’s Birthdays. Oh, and don’t forget organizations like Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid are helping with COVID-19 relief.
3) ‘Redd up’ your neighborhood.
It’s as easy as grabbing a trash bag, putting on gloves, and going out on the street. Take inspiration from Pittsburgh Street Stewards, a volunteer organization of residents who have “redesigned” certain streets in our city’s 90 neighborhoods. You can find out more about the accepted areas and where stewards are needed on the group’s Instagram and Facebook pages.
Janoskis Farm & Greenhouse (📸: @francesca_dabecco)
4) Buy someone flowers (or plants).
When you give away a piece of natural beauty, someone’s day will instantly improve. Here is a list of NEXTPittsburgh’s women-owned flower shops. You can also get plants in various locations around the city such as: B. on farms and in greenhouses, at ground nurses or at city grows.
5) Pay for an order behind you.
A good deed can create a ripple effect, and even the smallest gesture can change a person’s entire day. Whether you’re ordering a coffee, checking out at Giant Eagle, or pumping gas at Sheetz, you can pay it forward by stealing your card for the person behind you.
6) Thank you to a front worker.
While there seems to be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, we cannot all forget our front-line workers. From nurses and doctors to grocery store clerks to USPS workers, many of our neighbors risk their lives to serve the community. Perhaps you will even thank your employees at the local “state store” – I know that Yinz relied on them for this year.
7) Be nice on the street.
Every driver in Pittsburgh knows the feeling of chaos as they merge on a bridge or navigate uncomfortable city streets. Keep calm and leave one of your fellow commuters in front of you. It doesn’t cost anything but a little patience. Extra points for letting someone in towards the tunnels on Fort Pitt Bridge!
Food for the Soul Manchester Community Farm (📸: @francesca_dabecco)
8) Get involved in your community garden.
If you don’t have a piece of land of your own, what better way to get to know your neighbors than to garden with them. Additionally, having access to fresh produce is a way to tackle food insecurity and prevent poor health. Check out the Grow Pittsburgh map of urban gardens to find one near you.
Editor’s Note: If you don’t have a neighborhood garden, it’s not too late to organize. Grow Pittsburgh is helping my neighborhood build our community farm in Manchester pictured above after we put earth. Cant wait to see how it flourishes all summer.
9) Give up your seat on the bus.
Our buses, ts, and inclines aren’t as crowded as they used to be, but it’s always polite to give your seat to German citizens, people with disabilities, pregnant women, or almost anyone who looks like they can take a break.
Lake Elizabeth in Allegheny Commons Park (📸: @francesca_dabecco)
10) Appreciate our parks.
If you read our Arbor Day Q&A with Ben Adams, you will know that a lot is invested in looking after the trunks and canopies of our city. You can help keep our urban forests healthy by becoming a Tree Tender with Tree Pittsburgh. They offer a course that covers urban forest practices, tree biology and health, basic tree identification, proper pruning and care, and instructions on how to guide your community in organizing tree planting and tree care. Or at least send some love to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.
11) Take care of our rivers.
It’s hard to imagine what Pittsburgh would be without our three rivers. In fact, Pittsburgh definitely wouldn’t be here without her. It is important to maintain the health of our rivers in order to maintain the wellbeing of our entire region. Check out UpstreamPgh, a Wilkinsburg-based organization that is committed to reducing rainwater runoff from surrounding communities and preserving the ecology of the area. Or get your hands dirty and remove dirt from our rivers with Allegheny CleanWays.
12) Compliment a stranger.
It’s completely free! You never know; What you say could make someone’s day. Still social distancing? No problem. Here are some very kind messages from Pittsburgh we made (leftovers from Valentine’s Day) that you can send to your friends in Pittsburgh.
Friendliness zone sign downtown. (📸: @danielgilman)
13) Create your own “Kindness Zone”.
You may have seen these signs around town, but now you can create your own Kindness Zone with the help of the Senator John Heinz History Center. They published these signs in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania specifically for 143 days. Visit the museum shop to purchase the sign, magnets and stickers.
The state’s website has a Kindness Generator to inspire you for the day and a Kindness Tracker to take into account the friendly gestures of Pennsylvania residents. They also urge people to use the hashtag # 143DayInPA to spread friendliness on social media.
How will you celebrate 143 days? Pass this story on to a friend and keep the moment of kindness moving.