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Images & Voices of Hope | December 2, 2020

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Newspaper asks readers to highlight acts of kindness during holiday season

Newspaper asks readers to highlight acts of kindness during holiday season

Hoping to highlight acts of goodwill in Florida, the Tampa Bay Times turned to readers for help. Earlier this month, the Times asked readers to share acts of kindness and inspiring stories via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #TampaBayInspires.

For every act of kindness shared, the Times will donate $1 to Metropolitan Ministries, an organization that cares for the homeless. It hopes to raise $1,000 before Jan. 1 but may extend that deadline.

“We hope to keep it going past the new year, and perhaps partner with other organizations,” said the Tampa Bay Times’ Anne Glover, who helped create the project with the paper’s social media team.

The project has prompted dozens of people from around Tampa Bay to share inspiring stories via social media. The Times is collecting the stories on a RebelMouse page, which aggregates all social media postings with the #TampaBayInspires hashtag.

“Finding the good in people and institutions is easy if you just look around,” the page says. “Uplifting stories can make us all feel better about the world we live in.”

So far, people have shared stories about donating food to foster children; a Christmas wish fund that tries to help local families in need; and a refugee family from Cuba that’s able to start a new life in Tampa thanks to a local Catholic charity.

The stories reflect the many acts of kindness happening around Tampa Bay — stories that don’t always get the attention they deserve. They’re also a reminder that if you actively seek out the good in something, you can find it. The Times hopes to keep elevating what’s good in the community so that local acts of kindness don’t have to go unnoticed.

“There is so much sarcasm, hate and anger online a lot of the time,” Glover said via email. “We’re trying to combat some of that with this effort. There IS a lot of good happening around the area. If we can harness some of that goodwill into a place where people can come and feel good about things, that’s a good thing.”

Here are a few of the postings people have shared:

Disclosure: I use to work for The Poynter Institute, which owns the Tampa Bay Times. … Have story ideas you want to share with us? Email them to me or share them with us on Twitter (@ivohMedia).