People and Places
28/05/2020
Kindness always comes back

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Among the disheartening news and uncertain times, there is a beacon of light in Jess Bal’s Facebook group, Mornington Peninsula Kindness. Kate Sears speaks to Jess about heart-warming posts sharing small acts of kindness that offer a peaceful break in everyone’s newsfeeds, while others post about how grateful they are to receive a swap or donation of much-needed items made possible via the power of the group. 

How did Mornington Peninsula Kindness begin?

At the beginning of self-isolation in mid-March, I noticed on my own personal social media, people started reaching out for support and a need for general household items. However, I was also seeing people do the opposite, posting their willingness to help and sharing of their goods. Therefore my aim was to create a safe space where these people could interact and help one another without having met. What better way to connect through a time of isolation than through social media. Mornington Peninsula Kindness was created for people in need, people who are able to help and people who believe kindness can go a long way.

How quickly did it grow?

I originally started adding my own friends’ list to the group. It then multiplied within days from people sharing and adding their own friends’ lists. Within one week of being active, Mornington Peninsula Kindness had already reached 2500 members. I was completely blown away by the clear need for something so simple yet effective in our community. After one month of being active, Mornington Peninsula Kindness had reached 4500 members. My philosophy for this group is the more people who have access to different opportunities of support, the better. 

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I have grown up most of my life on the Mornington Peninsula. I completed my schooling at Dromana College and have been a senior netball player for the Dromana Football Netball Club. I have coached young people in netball and worked as a local youth worker. I am now a health and PE teacher who loves nothing more than living by the water. 

How has the Mornington Peninsula Kindness experience been for you?

Honestly, it’s the members that make this group. The compassion, empathy and overall support that I have seen from hundreds of people in our community has just been incredible. Through such a worrying and unknowing time I have witnessed people donate food, baby products, toilet paper, clothes and more. Providing a space for our community to not only help in the physical aspect but a place to share kind messages, heart-warming stories and local business support has been the most fulfilling. 

Do you have a favourite post?

A post that stands out is one that I shared that was requested by an anonymous member. This member was reaching for support as they were struggling with their current circumstance. Mornington Peninsula Kindness was then flooded with offerings, guidance, support, gift vouchers etc. This member ended up making herself known to the group as she was just overwhelmed with the generosity. 

Find this wonderful and inspirational page on Facebook @Mornington Peninsula Kindness

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