Kindness for the community

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Local personality Torry Martin is challenging members of the White County community to get up, get active, and spread kindness this fall.

Martin, who says he’s a diabetic who loves food which makes his life difficult at times, stumbled across a tasty treat this summer when he found Johnny Pops at a chain store and from there his idea has grown.

“I probably eat way more of these than I should, even though they are made with all natural ingredients,” Martin laughed. “But when you finish each popsicle, there is a good deed idea printed on the stick. These have intrigued me, and I want the community involved. Let’s erase all of the negativity we are seeing and replace it with fun, kindness, and good deeds.”

While the company is offering prizes for anyone who completes good deeds, Martin would like to take it a step further and have the community work together to complete as many acts of kindness as possible throughout the fall and add them together for an epic, community-wide party.

“I would like to put a collection box outside of the old M and H Hardware building,” Martin, who was responsible for the enormous attention-catching superhero/toy store themed Christmas display in the windows of the same building last winter, said. “Then we can count them, redeem them for some of the party packs and have one great big party to celebrate all that is good in our community.”

Martin, who is not native to Sparta but has adopted the community as his own and thrown himself into finding as many ways as possible to highlighting all the positives the local community has to offer, has even begun petitioning local stores to carry the Johnny Pops line so that it would be easier for all members of the community to get involved.

“Right now, I am getting mine at Sam’s Club,” he explained, “but I am trying to get the local grocery stores and Walmart to carry them here so that people don’t have to leave town to get them.”

Martin said that some of the good deeds listed on the popsicle sticks can be as simple as reconnecting with an old friend or taking a picture with someone. Other ideas that are mid-ranged include making a thoughtful gift for someone or cooking a homemade meal for someone who isn’t feeling well. Still more advanced acts of kindness can include volunteering your time to make your community better, and Martin has a list of project ideas for anyone looking to really do big acts of kindness.

“Picking up trash at the local park – I would actually like to have one day a month or so that we gather together to do that,” Martin gave as a volunteerism idea,” or teach someone a skill you are good at that they don’t know how to do.”

“There are even simple things for young kids listed on the sticks,” Martin said he truly would like to see the project be community wide. “Things like smile at a neighbor or tell someone that you love them. Everyone can participate.”

Martin said he hopes to see more and more kindness and goodness spreading throughout the community he now calls home and changing conversations so that more people are talking about the good that is happening rather than focusing on all of the negative events from the past year.

“The Johnny Pops company is giving away party packs for every 500 acts of kindness you do and turn in to them,” he said, “but I would like us to see us, as a community, do so many more than that. We can then collect them all and redeem them for a bunch of party packs and have one epic party on the square in front of the M and H building.”

To get involved, Martin says all you have to do is eat popsicles and do good. You can bring him the sticks or stop by the M and H building, and he will be happy to share more information about how you can get your family, youth group, organization, of friends involved and help turn Sparta into the good-deeds capital of the South – or at least help create one, big party for the do-gooders.

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