I’ll never forget when I first heard that a local guy had created the ever-so-simple-yet-impactful Do Something Good For Your Neighbor Day. With all of the different “days” out there, here was one that we could all get behind, especially living in the City of Good Neighbors. After all, one of the reasons that Buffalo has finally got its mojo back is because of the solid bond of community that drives us to do great things. We no longer rely on others to help us – instead we simply help each other. We understand the importance of strong community, which is made up of strong neighbors. Buffalo is known as the city where, if you get stuck (literally or figuratively), someone is there to help.
Do Something Good For Your Neighbor Day (DSGFYND) was started a decade ago by Starr Valentino, when he was living in Atlanta. At the time, Atlantan Councilman Michael Bond officially proclaimed Do Something Good For Your Neighbor Day as a day of selfless action. The following year, Valentino returned to Buffalo – the city where he was born and raised – and he brought the “selfless day of giving” back home with him.
Upon his return, Valentino beseeched his longtime friend Councilman David Franczyk to acknowledge DSGFYND, which he did in 2012 by declaring a day dedicated to Valentino’s cause. Since that time, the special day (now international) has been picked up by cities throughout the US, and has even made its way into Canada. Locally, DSGFYND, not to be confused with National Good Neighbor Day, has been recognized by leaders that include Governor Andrew Cuomo, Congressman Brian Higgins, Senator Timothy Kennedy, and Buffalo Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
In past years, Valentino has spent DSGFYND handing out gifts cards and t-shirts, and buying food and clothing for random people. But there are countless ways that we can lend a hand to our neighbors, from helping someone cross the street, to opening a door for someone (even when you’re running late), to buying a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you… doing something good for your neighbor does not have to be difficult, it just has to be thoughtful.
“Although I currently struggle with anxiety, I encourage people to spread love and kindness. There are hundreds of ways to show acts of kindness; visit the sick, feed the homeless, buy a cup of coffee, or run an errand for someone.” – Starr Valentino
In Buffalo, we are all neighbors as deemed by the slogan City of Good Neighbors. On Thursday, May 16, be sure to do something kind, and helpful, for someone else. Hopefully, if all goes according to plan, this day will rub off on all of us, and in the future every day will be Do Something Good For Your Neighbor Day. At least, that’s the way Valentino sees it.
Photo by Josh Appel