January 21, 2022

Local merchants, nonprofits take part in Leap of Kindness Day

An expression of appreciation

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Jean Quinn, owner of Arnold’s Florist, shows different carnations Saturday. Quinn was giving out free carnations to her store’s visitors as part of Leap of Kindness Day.

On 2020’s extra day of the year Saturday, Jean Quinn, the owner of Arnold’s Florist in Homer, moved back and forth behind tables, snipping and preparing flowers.

“The gift of flower is just lovely,” she said.

Arnold’s Florist was one of at least 10 businesses and nonprofits participating in Leap of Kindness Day, organized by the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce. The event was meant for businesses and non-profits to show their appreciation to the community, said Nicole Davi, the chamber’s member relations specialist.

Businesses could participate leading up to or on Saturday, Davi said. Participants were also encouraged to show how they participated by taking pictures and posting to social media using the hashtag #LeapOfKindnessDay.

The Chamber of Commerce added the event this year, a leap year, after Debbie Thayer, the chamber’s director of events and marketing, discovered it while talking with members from the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, Davi said.

Chambers of commerce in more than 40 states, Canada and Ireland planned to take part.

Each of the businesses and non-profits showed their appreciation in their own way. At Arnold’s Florist, it was handing out free carnations to visitors, Quinn said.

She said that she liked the giving spirit of the day without the expectation of getting something back in return.

Zelvin Security in Homer sent a check to Grace Christian Fellowship in Cortland, said Lisa Atkinson, the company’s business manager. The money will be used to host a breakfast on Good Friday at the fellowship’s food pantry.

“It’s a great initiative to give back to the community and that’s why we’re participating in it,” Atkinson said.

Other organizations took a more personal approach.

Volunteers from Person to Person: Citizen Advocacy helped write letters Thursday with adults with developmental disabilities, said program coordinator Annmarie DiGiorgio.

“It just makes people think about other people in the community that they may not think about on a day-to-day basis, which is always helpful,” she said.

Quinn said she only had one hope for the day.

“Just to make people happy,” she said. “Just to bring a smile to their face.”