One cup of coffee can go a long way. It can show someone that kindness can come in the smallest forms and come from the most unexpected places. So how do you turn one act of compassion into a celebration of kindness and fun?
Karma Coffee, a local business whose mission is to “inspire kindness … using a good deed as payment for your coffee,” will host a festival of music and of course, kindness, on Myers Quad on Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. The festival, named Kindfest, will return to the University of Georgia for a second year.
Founder and president of Karma Coffee Jaren Mendel said Karma Coffee rewards people’s compassion.
“We accept acts of kindness as our currency,” Mendel said “By paying for you coffee in this way, I hope people remember the importance, ease and creativity behind kindness and consideration.”
Kindfest is centered around random acts of kindness like its host, Karma Coffee. Throughout the event, live music will help set the tone and vendors will be stationed around Myers Quad.
Student-led organizations, such as Food2Kids and Shop With A Bulldog, partnered with Karma Coffee to expand on the idea of giving products in exchange for acts of kindness.
Gilad Stolarski, a former University of Georgia student and founder of the Georgia Institute of Technology chapter of Karma Coffee, is the partnership director of Kindfest.
“All kinds of local community service organizations are going to set up booths for attendees to perform fun and meaningful acts of kindness,” Stolarski said. “[There will also be] a whole lot of live music and Nedza’s Waffles.”
Because the organization is kindness and community service-based, Kindfest aims to maintain a friendly feel so no one is uncomfortable attending.
“[Attendees] will not find any pressure to commit any kind of activism,” Stolarski said. “Just [a] cheery, lively atmosphere, fun and lots of positivity.”
The acts of kindness Karma Coffee encourages range from thank-you notes to weaving blankets for the homeless in the Athens area. This year, there will be a gratitude wheel, which allows attendees to spin a wheel and be given a gratuitous task to do, as well as a bee-house building station.
“From writing thank-you notes, making native flower bouquets, making bat houses and braiding blankets for people that are homeless, Kindfest is a place where you can do acts of kindness on the spot,” said Mendel, who created Kindfest with the hopes of tying creativity and kindness.
One thing Mendel wants attendees to take away from this event is the idea that “kindness is cool.”
“[I want] people to, at the very least, walk away with new ideas to express acts of kindness,” Mendel said. “Even if it’s minor, [I want them to] make an impact on their daily worldview. Whether it means saying hey to janitorial staff, it is the small, hardly-noticeable moments I hope to infuse with kindness.”
Though Kindfest was delayed this year due to Hurricane Michael, Mendel expects a good turnout. Last year, over 400 students attended the event and Mendel set the bar higher for the second annual event, hoping to break 500 attendees.