An elementary school student in Escondido, California, is using buckets filled with small, simple treats to carry a message of kindness across her community during these difficult days of the coronavirus pandemic.
About three weeks ago Sylvia, a 10-year-old student at Richmond Elementary School, started a project she calls “A Bucket Full of Kindness.”
Sylvia and her mom, Marie Huszarik, bought some plastic buckets and filled them with a few items such as candy, snacks, bubble wands, glow sticks, and puzzles. For a tiny bit of humor, they added a roll of toilet paper to the bottom of the buckets. It was a collection of items that might be nice to have for people staying at home under California’s coronavirus pandemic guidelines.
Sylvia wanted to give the buckets to her neighbors and friends.
Her goal was sweet and simple.
“She wanted to give some happy to other people,” Sylvia’s mom, Marie Huszarik, told NBC 7.
‘Bucket Full of Kindness’: Escondido Girl, 10, Spreads Love to Neighbors
Inside the buckets, a cheery note for her neighbors further detailed the girl’s mission.
“A bucket full of sunshine to brighten your day,” the yellow, white and black-typed note read. “If you can pass some sunshine on, fill this bucket and leave it on the porch of a friend or neighbor. You do not have to go to the store. You could fill it with something homemade.”
“The idea of it is to try to spark a movement in the neighborhood to get this going,” Huszarik said. “And, hopefully, other people will be inspired to do it.”
Huszarik said Sylvia just wants people to know that someone – even if it’s a stranger – is thinking of them, and they are not alone.
“Even the littlest thing could brighten somebody’s day; you never even know,” the mom told NBC 7. “You never know this little thing that someone can do or say can have an impact. You don’t know what the other person is going through.”
Huszarik said Sylvia has a big heart – and a big personality.
Like many people following stay-at-home guidelines, Huszarik said not socializing or connecting with others has been tough on Sylvia these last couple of months. This project gives her a positive outlet and a break from isolation.
So far, the mom and daughter have put together 12 Buckets Full of Kindness, either giving them to neighbors within walking distance from their home or delivering them to those living on nearby streets.
Sylvia anonymously leaves them on people’s porches. Sometimes, she rings the doorbell, leaves the bucket, and runs.
It’s like the nicest form of “doorbell ditching” one could imagine, and those are the moments Huszarik loves the most because the look on Sylvia’s face is priceless.
“Just to see her face, when she drops it off and runs back to the car, she’s giggling and laughing,” the mom said. “I haven’t seen her be that happy – like a lot of kids – in a long time.”
Huszarik said Sylvia has been very thoughtful in choosing who gets the buckets. For instance, she delivered one to a pair of senior neighbors who no longer have kids at home because she thought they might be missing their family.
Another bucket was given to a new family that moved into their neighborhood just before the COVID-19 shutdown. They don’t know anyone on the street and Sylvia thought this might be a nice welcome gift.
She also delivered a bucket to a family with small children “who might not understand” what’s happening around us, and one to her older brother’s friend who is a senior in high school, missing out on the big milestones like prom and graduation.
“It boosts her spirits, too. It’s so fulfilling,” Sylvia’s mom added.
Huszarik said she and Sylvia were sure to phrase the note inside the bucket in a way that doesn’t make recipients feel obligated to keep the kindness going, but rather, inspired to pay it forward if they can. They know not everyone can go to the store right now, and that’s ok.
Huszarik said Sylvia plans to keep the Bucket Full of Kindness project going; her grandma is sending her some money this week to build more buckets.
Some people who have received the buckets have posted photos on social media, including a community Facebook page, just saying how much they enjoyed the sweet surprise.
“If we can inject a little sunshine into somebody’s day – you never know what kind of impact it’s going to have,” Huszarik added. “And it makes you feel good. We’ve had so many laughs.”