As an only child to two overnight essential workers, 10-year-old Roeland Park resident Hunter Russell was missing friends and family during the coronavirus stay-at-home orders. He realized his neighbors were probably missing people too, and decided to do something about it.
Russell’s parents James and Megan cleared out about three stores worth of Easter candy to support his idea: kindness bags. The Russells first passed out Easter candy filled bags — complete with social distance cards — to Hunter’s school friends and grandparents. Soon, Hunter’s good deed became a family activity, his mom Megan said.
“It became this beautiful family bonding time as we each filled bags and took a family walk to hand them out,” Megan said.
Although the family didn’t keep track of how many bags they passed out, Megan said she estimates it was more than 200. The Russells tried to find families with children or with someone graduating, but others were random houses that Hunter picked, she said. Each bag had a wide assortment of candy, with everything from Peeps and chocolate bunnies to small eggs and Pop Rocks, she said.
Additionally, the social distance cards included the Russell’s address so those who received a bag would know the candy hadn’t been messed with. Megan said most people have been excited about receiving kindness bags and some have even sent the family thank you letters.
“We want people to know that one small simple act of kindness can save a life or make their day, [and] to share love and hope because it’s just as contagious as fear,” Megan said.
Hunter eventually ran out of bags, so the Russells filled up several local “My Little Pantry” locations with the last of the candy, Megan said.