SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Participants in this year's 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge helped the University of Missouri Extension document 873 kindness actions between March 20 and March 26, according to David Burton, a community development specialist with MU Extension.

"It only takes a small act of kindness to make a big difference in the life of someone in your community, like a service provider, a lonely person, or a neighbor," said Burton. "We have no idea how even the most minuscule gesture might resonate with the recipient."

This year, most of the submissions came from residents of Greene and Dent counties. There were 262 acts of kindness reported from Dent County, 498 from Greene County (beating the goal of 100). The remaining 114 came from other parts of the state.

Actions ranged from delivering food and other gifts to neighbors, doing laundry for a sick friend, stocking shelves at a food pantry, giving a sick friend a ride to medical treatment, or gifting a neighbor a Mister Rogers' themed garden flag, for example.

“One resident of Republic bought eight gas cards for twenty-five dollars each and gave them to employees struggling to make ends meet at two different local fast-food restaurants as thank you,” said Burton. “I just loved that idea.”

Acts of kindness are simple gestures that help us be a good neighbor, lift up others, or make our community a place we love.

"It is possible to change your outlook on life and the community around you by making kindness part of daily," said Burton.

As Mister Fred Rogers once said, "The real issue in life is not how many blessings we have but what to do with our blessings. Some people have many blessings and hold them; a few give them away."

Burton notes that mental health studies on altruism indicate that doing good deeds reduces stress, improves emotional well-being, and improves physical health.

"I'm like most of you in that I'm rarely in a position to do high-profile good deeds. But there is an alternative to doing one headline-grabbing good deed: doing a bunch of low-profile ones," said Burton.

The Acts of Kindness Challenge may be over but that is not a reason to stop thinking about ways to show kindness every day.

“Some research shows the biggest hindrance to being kind is selfishness,” said Burton. “But a little bit of kindness every day can be the perfect antidote for the selfishness virus.”


Neighboring is the art and skill of building relationships with the people who live in the closest proximity to you. Being a good neighbor offers tremendous health benefits, reduces crime, reduces loneliness, improves communities, and improves your quality of life.

University of Missouri Extension is at the forefront of a national movement recognizing the importance of neighboring in community development. MU Extension is offering classes like "Neighboring 101" and "Becoming an Engaged Neighbor" along with three annual neighboring events to raise awareness and encourage others to focus on neighbors.

To learn more about our "Engaged Neighbor" program or the impact of neighboring, go online to or contact David Burton by email or telephone at (417) 881-8909. "Becoming an Engaged Neighbor" can also be found on Facebook.