Chimes of kindness ring through Douglas County
Chimes of kindness can be found throughout the community when least expected, and at least 80 bells are strung up on light posts and in front of businesses across Douglas County at this very moment.
They’re called Kindness Bells and are made by community members and the Partnership of Community Resources.
“People seem to find them when they’re most in need,” said Loretta Stender, a volunteer of the Kindness Bells Project.
The Partnership created the Kindness Bells Project about eight years ago when teen suicides were increasingly common in Douglas County, said project member Lorraine Felix.
“At the time, there were a lot of suicides in the community and Cheryl Bricker was looking for something to bring kindness and hope to the community,” she said.
Felix said the idea for the project was adopted from a former employee’s experience at her daughter’s university in Arizona.
“Her daughter came across a bell at the university and when they looked into it they found out that a lady had lost her son and created ‘Ben’s Bells as a way to honor his memory,” said Felix.
More information about Ben’s Bells can be found at bensbells.org
The Ring in Kindness Project is a free community activity where participants make clay bells, paint and string them and place them around Douglas County in an effort to spread kindness.
Each piece is unique to the person who made it, except the biggest chime.
“The biggest chime on the bells represents something in the community,” Felix said. “It’s usually a big event or project going on in the community.”
In the past the chime has been a cupcake for the Partnership’s anniversary, a bear represented bear problems in the community, Nevada, a boot, a horse and more.
“This year the big piece is an airplane, because of all the changes that have been made to the Minden Airport recently,” Felix said.
Bells are made throughout the year and hung up the second week of November.
“We hang them in November because of Veterans Day and the holidays. It seemed like a good time and when many people might be feeling lonely or need some cheering up,” Felix said.
Minden resident Fran Hetherton said she found a Kindness Bell about two years ago while walking around town with her husband.
“We found it during a time of need and decided to keep it, then I decided to volunteer to make them and I’ve been here ever since,” Hetherton said. “We live in a wonderful community where stuff like this exists.”
Betsy Stone was visiting the area from California and came with long-time volunteer Lynn Wall.
“It’s been a wonderful afternoon, meeting these women and just knowing that something like this exists,” Stone said. “I’m going to go out and search the parks now.”
Volunteers agreed that The Kindness Bells Project is a great way to get out and do something nice for the community.
“It has to go to the right person at the right time,” said Wall. “Once and where you decide to hang them it’s out of your hands.”
Ring in Kindness meets 2:30-4:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month at the Partnership of Community Resources, 1517 Church Street, Gardnerville. Information, http://www.ringinkindness.com or 782-8611.
“This bell is yours for the taking. Take it home, hang it up, or share it with someone who you know could use a lift in their spirits right now,” reads a message on the bells.