Church youth group offers random acts of kindness

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, December 31, 2014

As youth group leaders at the Sedley Baptist Church, Rachel and Silvano Piferi wanted to carry out random acts of kindness this Christmas season in order to bless others and show their kids what it means to give without receiving. On Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Piferis armed 22 members of their group with several envelopes containing $5 gift cards and sent them to Walmart in Franklin.

They would walk up to a stranger, hand them the envelope, wish them a “Merry Christmas” and quickly pass from sight.

“It’s one of our youth group’s favorite activities of the year because we get to surprise someone with a gift and then kind of disappear,” said Rachel Piferi. “It’s truly a great way to give without any expectation of getting anything back.

“Folks often look kind of confused when we first give them an envelope, but once they understand what has happened, they are so appreciative.”

Although the group gave away a total of 65 envelopes, totaling $325, Piferi said that it’s not about being recognized for their actions.

“Sometimes, we don’t even hear how it affected someone or if it meant anything (to them). I really think our youth understands that, and I just see their eyes light up when they make a difference in someone else’s day. They get to see what a small act of kindness can really mean.

“That is why we do this.”

On some occasions, however, Piferi said that someone will send her a card, stop her in the store or reach out through social media. One comment on the church’s Facebook page stood out to her, most notably the following excerpt:

“We were a bit startled and not expecting that,” said Lizabeth Futrell. “Thank you to your church and these amazing kids. You taught me to remember Christmas is not about expensive gifts and flashy presents, but all about Jesus. It is about giving and not expecting anything in return!”

“I can never return the gift those children gave me last night; however, I can learn the lesson and spread the word. This group restored by faith in humanity, and I, too, can give a random stranger a small token of kindness.”

As for where the cards and money came from, Piferi said that the kids bought the cards themselves, and raised the money through various fundraisers.

“I am so proud of these youth and watching their hearts for people. They get what it means to love others, they get how important it is to give to others and they understand that Christmas is about spreading the love and hope of Jesus.”

If you received a random act of Christmas kindness from Sedley Baptist Church, or would like more information about the youth group, you can reach out to them on their Facebook page or through the church at 562-5614.