Thursday 28th April is ‘Pay It Forward Day 2016’ – a day when businesses and individuals are encouraged to pass on a good deed for the day, in the hope of creating a chain of positivity, generosity and kindness that will touch the lives of as many people as possible.
The idea is an old one that became a recognised movement in the US, with the Pay It Forward Foundation created in 2000 by Catherine Ryan Hyde – author of the 1999 book ‘Pay It Forward’, which has also been made into a film. The principal is a simple one: passing on acts of kindness to others, often strangers, who then ‘pay it forward’ through their own act of kindness to another.
Pay It Forward UK (PIF UK) is a not for profit initiative set up in 2012 by Becky Wells, who was invited to represent the movement on this side of the Atlantic after sharing her own experience online.
What makes this form of charity so special is it’s not just about giving to someone else, but about them passing the good deed on and helping another person too. It’s a ripple effect made up of small deeds that can have a huge impact.
Among those already taking part in the movement this year is a chain of restaurants in London, Le Pain Quotidien, who are running a Pay It Forward scheme at all their locations this week. When customers purchase their meal, they are invited to buy someone else a coffee, a tartine, a meal for two, or even a baking class. They are also donating £5 to Foodcycle for every baking class purchased as part of the scheme.
Also taking part is Jolly Good Causes, a press and communications agency specialising in helping small charities get their message heard. They are inviting large charities, businesses and individuals to contribute towards their Pay It Forward scheme by sponsoring one of their standalone services, which can then be claimed by any small charity in need of communications support. The aim is that one day those small charities will then be in a position to ‘pay it forward’ and sponsor a service for somebody else.
To mark the annual event and encourage people to be part of the movement, PIF UK is releasing a list of ways people can take part – whether that is on a small personal level or a bigger gesture of kindness.
Just some of the examples are:
- If you’re buying takeaway food, grab an extra meal for someone homeless
- Next time you shop, pick up a couple of extra tins or some non-perishable goods to donate to your local food bank
- Cooking a meal? Make an extra serving for an older neighbour or someone in need near you, or invite a lonely neighbour for lunch
- Become a donor – give blood, or join a register
- Offer your seat to someone on the bus, train or tube
There are so many simple things each of us can do to make a difference to another person’s life. And when someone wants to repay you for a kindness you have done for them, just ask them to ‘pay it forward’ to someone else instead and help spread the kindness.
For more information and a full list of ideas of how you can ‘pay it forward’, please visit the PIF UK website: www.payitforwarduk.net.