OTSEGO, Mich.,—Jessi Gates took an idea from Pinterest and turned it into a summer project to get her family "paying it forward". Now, she's using social media to document the "Summer of Kindess" on Facebook.
"I thought it was a fantastic idea," said husband Scott Gates. "She's been organizing it and we've all been pitching in. Just kind of took off from there."
The couple, along with kids Austin, 10, and Madison, 4, have been performing random acts of kindess in the area every week. Each act is acccompanied by posts and pictures on Facebook.
"We went around passing juice boxes out to people, put quarters in the candy machines at Walmart, helped decorate the church," explained Austin.
Other projects have included tapping microwave popcorn packs to Redbox machines, cleaning local parks and making cookies for assisted living homes.
"The people are very appreciative," said Scott. "The kids get to meet them. They see the smiles...It's a good feeling for me and it's also good for the family."
The family has dubbed the effort "2012 Summer of Kindness". After 9 weeks of giving back, they completed the final good deed-- creating homeless care packages-- earlier this week.
Mom Jessi says she hopes her kids have learned a lesson this summer that they'll never forget.
"Just knowing something small like this may really leave an impression on them, and that maybe they can grow up and maybe do this with their families," Jessi told FOX 17 News. "It makes my heart smile for sure, when they're out there, and seeing what they're doing is important helping out the community."
The family plans to continue paying it forward throughout the school year on a "less-scheduled" basis. Jessi added there's a good chance the project will return next summer.
To read more about the family's activities this summer, click here.