Waterbury residents nominated for Acts of Kindness rewards

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 4:34 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2021 at 4:41 PM EST
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WATERBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - A Vermont community kicks off the holiday season with kindness.

In Waterbury, see how one pandemic initiative led to a community effort.

When the folks at Revitalizing Waterbury realized they had leftover gift cards to local businesses from a pandemic relief initiative, they not only found a new way to promote those businesses, they found a way to engage the community, as well.

“I feel like if we can celebrate them in any way, we should be,” said Katherine O’Neill of Waterbury Center.

O’Neill knew exactly who to nominate when she heard about Waterbury Acts of Kindness.

“I nominated my daughter’s kindergarten teacher,” said O’Neill.

She calls the decision a no-brainer.

“Teachers are the unsung heroes of life in general but especially during the pandemic,” said O’Neill.

In the coming days, Ms. Greenberg, the kindergarten teacher, will be one of 60 unsung heroes in Waterbury who will be receiving a notification letter in the mail and a gift card to a local business.

“It’s just this wide range of people who are making a difference and make you smile throughout the day,” said Karen Nevin, the executive director of Revitalizing Waterbury.

Nevin says it’s a perfect way to kick of the holiday season and to help local businesses while doing so.

“It just came together, people have loved it, it feels so good. We all have grins on our faces,” said Nevin.

Nominees will receive either a $25 gift card to one of 30 businesses or $25 worth of “Waterbury Bucks” to be used at more than 50 businesses in town.

Nevin says thanks to donations, every single nominee will get a reward.

“It really caught on in the community and it’s been really exciting,” said Nevin.

One of the participating businesses is the Stowe Street Emporium.

“I do love that people are spending their money locally and supporting our stores, but more than that, I just love connecting with people,” said owner Kathy Murphy.

Murphy says a project like Waterbury Acts of Kindness is a perfect fit for the tight-knit town.

“I just feel this huge sense of community in our town-- we all support each other, we all refer each other to each other’s stores,” said Murphy.

Nevin says the program is such a hit, their organization will be doing it again next Thanksgiving.

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