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Cumberland Beach kids spread joy with 'pictures of kindness'

'It feels good to know that you could’ve put a smile on someone’s face and make their day,' says 10-year-old of family's efforts to bring joy to community

Since January 2021, Mandy Noble and her three children - Jared, Cody and Brielle - have made an outing of their weekly walks to the post office.

There, the kids wait outside while Mandy delivers three pictures with a letter attached to the postmaster. The letter describes the contents - a hand-drawn picture from each of the Noble kids, to be handed out to post office patrons in an effort to spread some joy at a time when life is isolating and challenging.

Around the Noble house, this project is known as “pictures of kindness.”

“It feels good to know that you could’ve put a smile on someone’s face and make their day. It makes you feel good inside,” says Jared, age 10.

“It makes me feel really good,” echoed Cody, age 8, and Brielle, age 4.

In mid-January, the Noble family were talking about how they missed friends, family and even trips to the store. Mandy encouraged the kids to remember others were feeling the same way, and might even live alone, making tough times even harder for them.

Was there a way they could help other people feel a little better, Mandy asked? Together, the kids suggested handing out “kindness pictures.”

Mandy messaged Amanda Donnelly, postmaster at the Cumberland Beach post office, who loved the idea of handing out the kids’ drawings.

For over six months now, the Noble family has barely missed a week of handing out pictures. If they do happen to miss due to a busy schedule or statutory holiday, they’re sure to make it up with two packages of pictures the next week, says Donnelly.

The kids create whatever they feel inspired to make that week. In the last collection, Jared and Cody both drew zoo scenes, while Brielle drew people and hearts. Pencil crayons show up most in their work, though paints, markers and glitter appear from time to time as well.

Donnelly picks a recipient each week based on who might need a pick-me-up in the small community - maybe someone who’s suffering a loss, or just someone who’s having a bad day.

“She naturally talks to people, she’s so friendly,” says Mandy of Donnelly. “She knows far more (people in the community) than we do, so we enlisted her to see where she felt (the pictures) fit.”

Recipients are always overjoyed to receive the pictures, just as Donnelly is to hand them out. “It’s definitely still so fantastic to give them out each time,” she says.

One recipient told Donnelly he still keeps the pictures on his fridge, and admires them every day.

Donnelly passes along letters of thanks and relays kind words to the Nobles, often by text. Mandy makes it clear they aren’t in it for the praise, however.

“It's lovely they’re saying thank you, don’t get me wrong. But we’re trying to teach our children that you do something from the kindness of your heart, not because you get a thank you or you’re being rewarded,” says Mandy.

The kids aren’t sure when they’ll stop with their pictures of kindness, and for now will focus on spreading smiles with their artwork.