Good People Doing Good Things — Here & There

Helping Ukrainian refugees

Brian and Sharon Holowaychuks live on Vancouver Island in Canada.  Brian’s grandparents came to Canada from Ukraine, so as you can imagine, the Russian invasion of that nation has been very personal for the couple.  Well … they decided to do something to help.  The Holowaychuks are converting their 15,000-square-foot resort property into a Ukrainian refugee home, called the Ukrainian Safe Haven.  Says Brian …

“We’re in a position, in a place, in a time where we could help make a bit of a difference. And I thought, you know, it’s time to stand up and be counted.”

The Holowaychuks bought the resort in East Sooke, known as the Grouse Nest, last year. It sits on a 33-hectare (about 81.5 acres) property surrounded by trees, wildlife and overlooking the ocean waterfront.

Originally, they were going to convert it into an art gallery and events centre, which they’d already started remodeling to do. But Brian said those plans can now wait.

“I’m calling the plumber saying ‘Okay, all that stuff we took out, we gotta put it all back’.”

Brian hopes that for Ukrainians coming to Canada they can find the Ukrainian Safe Haven as a place to rest and feel safe and that they can stay as long as they need to.

So far, the local community has shown a flood of support for the project, with volunteers and supporters coming in to help or donate, Brian said. Stewart Johnston, a Victoria-based lawyer, decided he wanted to help out by registering the project as a non-profit at no cost …

“This is an extremely important cause and I’m really impressed with what they’re doing to help. I wanted to help out.”

With help from volunteers, they’ve completed enough of their remodeling to host the refugees who should be arriving within the month.

A young person with a heart of gold

Maria Balboa is a college student who also works as a bagger at the H-E-B in Corpus Christi, Texas.  On Monday, April 4th, she was bagging for a woman who had two little boys with her. When it was time to pay, Maria said the woman only had $19 left on her SNAP card and couldn’t afford the rest of the total.

“She was going to put back the groceries instead of a couple of items that she needed for dinner that night. I asked the cashier what the remaining total was and she said it was $137. Immediately I heard a voice inside my head saying, ‘pay for the groceries’. I stopped to think for a second but then I heard again, ‘Pay for the groceries Maria!'”

The woman tried to refuse the generous offer but Maria insisted. She paid the bill.

“$137 was quite a bit of money for me that day, but still I knew that I would get it back on payday and maybe she wouldn’t.”

On her next shift, Maria was called into the manager’s office. She thought she was in trouble.  It turns out the woman whose groceries she paid for filled out a survey …

In the survey, the woman explained her financial struggles. She is providing for her two grandchildren on her own and working a low-paying job to keep the siblings out of foster care.

“I was ashamed not having enough money and she insisted to pay for them. Today she made me cry but happy tears. Thank you from the heart for [your] kindness. My grandkids and I have managed to pull through since January it’s been very tough but God put this young lady at the bagging area for us. I wish I could have gotten her name.”

Maria said she was brought to tears from the kind words.  The store’s manager, Mark Moeller, ended up reimbursing Maria for her good deed. She also received a goody basket with groceries.

Lending humans???

I found the concept behind the following story intriguing and wondered if this might not be one way we humans could better understand each other.  It’s called the Human Library and it’s located in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Instead of reading a book, you spend 30 minutes learning about the person, or the “human book”.  The goal of the Human Library Organization is to address people’s prejudices by helping them to talk to those they would not normally meet or speak with.

“The Human Library Organization is a global movement working to build spaces in the community for personal dialogue about issues that are often difficult, challenging and stigmatizing.”

The Human Library was created by Ronni Abergel, a Danish human rights activist and journalist who became interested in non-violence activism after a friend he describes as a “troubled youth” survived a stabbing in Copenhagen. He wondered if a human library could bring people together peacefully like a traditional one.  He launched the first Human Library at the Roskilde Festival in Copenhagen in 2000. It ran for four days with eight hours of conversations each day. More than 1,000 people took part.

The next Human Library was hosted in Oslo, Norway, by Abergel for the Nordic Minister Councils youth assembly. The first permanent Human Library was established in Lismore, Australia, in 2006. As of 2022, the project has grown to have partners in more than 80 countries across the world. Most happen as events, although there are a few permanent Human Libraries.

Check out their website   … I’ll be curious to get your take on this one.  I see it as maybe a way for people of different backgrounds, religious beliefs, gender identification, and more to learn about others, people who aren’t just like them.  It may be a way of promoting understanding, something along the lines of what Daryl Davis did when he opened lines of communications with members of the KKK and converted many.

43 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things — Here & There

    • It’s truly my pleasure, Carla! I feel a bit more hopeful after writing my ‘good people’ posts. Sadly, the feeling doesn’t last long, but it’s always good to see those who put others ahead of their own desires, who care, who have compassion and empathy. And I honestly believe those people are in the majority … we just don’t hear from them as much, for they are busy being … good people … and don’t have time to go ’round tooting their own horns.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is exactly what our world needs much more of! Compare that young woman who gave what was probably half of her week’s salary to help an elderly lady feed her grandchildren, to the likes of Elon Musk who would rather spend billions to play games than to give a single dollar to a starving family. Yes, if there is hope for this world, it is in the hands of people like these. It’s the weekend again, Michael, so I hope you have a fun weekend and that the sun shines brightly for you! xx


  1. Not to be a Debbie-Downer in the least, and not to marginalize what Maria Balboa (the HEB worker) did out of her own pocket and goodness of her heart, BUT

    That impoverished grandmother working a low-wage (lowest?) job and caring for two grandkids on a Texas SNAP card (food-stamps), is an incredibly sad but TRUE state of economic affairs here in Texas. Over the last decade or more Texas’ homeless problems, very stagnate minimum wage ($7.25) essentially since 2009! From 2000 to 2008 the wage shamefully rose from $3.35 to $5.15 in 2002, then $5.85 in 2006, and $6.55 in 2007—one of the WORST rates in all of the U.S. the last 22-years!!! 😡 The moronic (R) Congress in Austin doesn’t seem to even comprehend Texas’ high-cost of living, super high housing rates, inflation (before COVID & Ukraine), and high-cost of basic healthcare! 🤬

    Jill, here in glaring inequality Texas, there simply isn’t enough “Maria Balboas” to counter-compensate our (R) governments from municipal levels to state levels. And the economic chasm gets bigger and bigger and bigger each year—and has the last 20+ years. 🤦‍♂️😞

    Liked by 1 person

    • I fully agree with you, Professor! It is criminal that the federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2009 and while some states have taken the initiative, many have not, such as Texas. It is also criminal that people trying to raise a family can barely afford to buy food, but then you have arseholes like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos who own billions, yet share not one single cent! But … the post was just about good people, and Ms. Balboa qualifies for that title in spades. Now, if only we could elect people like her to Congress, we might solve the problem of poverty and starvation in this country!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s so encouraging to read these stories, Jill. Amid all the rancor, I keep trying to remind myself that there are more areas we humans share than there are ones that divide us.
    I’m not surprised that the Human Libraries have appeared in Scandinavian countries. (Turns out, they began in 2000.) I wondered, with a hopeful heart, if such efforts in the US would succeed. In fact, there are a number of them–including a couple in Fort Wayne and Muncie, Indiana. There the human “books” are volunteers whom the library trains to discuss specific topics close to them, such as depression, life as a police officer, surviving abuse, and other sensitive issues.
    I see one drawback: The “readers” are library patrons, a self-select audience who may be more open to such programs than members of the larger public. There may also be other problems with less controlled situations when vulnerable people are bearing their souls.
    PS: I tried to “like” this post, but it never fully loaded.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
      You can lead a “reader” to the library because (s)he likes to think.
      You can lead a cow out to pasture and a child to school….
      But you can’t teach a know-it-all, and you can’t reach a fool.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I often have to thump myself upside the head and remind myself that there ARE good people out there, that MOST people are actually more good than not. It’s just that the other kind have the loudest voices and garner the most attention, so it’s sometimes easy to forget about the man who shoveled his neighbors walkway or the girl who paid for a woman’s groceries. Little things add up.

      Thanks for doing a bit more research on the Human Libraries! I think that for some topics they would work fine here in the U.S., but I cannot imagine a scenario where a group shared their views calmly, listening to one another, on the most divisive topics such as gun control, education, religion, racism, etc. But then, perhaps I’m not giving the human species enough credit.

      Sometimes when I have trouble ‘like’ing or reblogging a post, I find that simply refreshing the page helps. But thank you, my friend!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. One aspect of these Wednesday items I love to read, is where a community reacts and rallies around to help with the initiative, makes me believe there is still hope.
    The dear check-out girl is an angle, so is her boss.
    Thanks again Jill for reminding us, most people mean well.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: GOOD PEOPLE DOING GOOD THINGS – HERE & THERE. | | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  5. Pingback: Good People Doing Good Things — Here & There | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed them, my friend! I find it uplifting to go in search of the ‘good people’ on a weekly basis … so much nicer than my usual fare. What did you think of the Human Library idea?


  6. Stunning acts of kindness especially by a young college student to whom that must have been a huge amount of money, I’m glad she got it back via her employers. What a grand idea the Human Library is, I’d love to take part and share memories of my youth and encourage people not to give in to disabilities.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, that was probably more than half her paycheck for a week! But such a good heart … such humanity. She could teach our politicos and their adherents a thing or two! Yes, I think the Human Library idea has potential and it would be fun to participate, to learn from others and also help others understand varying viewpoints. I just fear that on certain subjects the toxicity would negate the positive impact.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Good stuff in this! The Human Library is interesting! It’s a good place to start a safe place for conversations for sure. I love the volunteering aspect of it also, but I may be biased in that regard 😀 God bless that couple and the lady that are helping folks in such a crazy time and economy. It gives me a good feeling in my heart before bed. Thank you, my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m so glad to have given you a good feeling right before bedtime! Yes, I found the Human Library thing intriguing, but try as I might, I cannot imagine those who most need to listen to and learn from others sitting still and actually listening. Sigh. Have a happy rest-of-the-week, my dear friend! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • It was good 🙂 I was thinking that too about who would listen and book time with them, especially after today. We were doing texting to voters about ICE and what is happening in the detention centers. I was told “Trump forever”, “F&^k off, “Lock all of them criminals up”, “They need to gtfo of our country” etc. and so on and so forth. Humanity is not something that people like those would be able to embrace.
        Have a good day, my friend ❤ I hope you are feeling better!

        Liked by 2 people

        • You are kidding!!! I can’t believe people would be so rude! Oh wait … yes I can, but still … you’re trying to do something good and you get that response??? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. The bigotry and hatred I see these days is appalling … depressing. I am so sorry you had to be subjected to such nasty responses … please try not to let it get you down. Not everyone is like that! Love ‘n hugs!!!

          Liked by 2 people

          • Oh yeah…I see it all, but thankfully I get more good responses than I get those kind. It depends where we are texting to. This is the central U.S. list, so it can be hit and miss. The south is the worst of course. Love and hugs back to you my friend!

            Liked by 2 people

                • It’s always best if you can find the humour in a dark situation, but lately I find it more difficult than ever to simply ignore or chuckle at ignorance. There’s so damn much of it! My day? Meh … same ol’ same ol’ … I’m a bit on the tired side today, but otherwise fine ‘n dandy! Love & hugs to you, dear friend!!! By the way … did you get a bit of a tan while you were at the beach?

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • There is way too much of it! I had an interesting text that I am actually looking into about a company that funds the company that I volunteer with. I’ll keep you posted how that turns out lol.

                    I hope you are able to feel better! I know you haven’t been sleeping well, and that is hard to function as a person while being exhausted. All my hugs are yours when you need them from afar 🙂

                    I got a little bit of tan and a little bit of burn. My forehead, which I forgot to use sunscreen on, was as red as an apple along with my nose. I had a tan line from my sunglasses too 😀 then I got a little sun on my legs, shoulders, and chest 🙂 My shoulders burnt a bit, but now they are tan.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Yes, please do keep me posted … might turn out to be an exciting challenge!

                      Thank you, my friend! No, I don’t sleep well … I think I need an on/off switch for my mind … that’s the problem with being a thinker. Plus, the heart problem is no better, but I will be seeing the cardiologist in just over two weeks, so hopefully he will have some magical solution! Then again, he may well tell me to think less and sleep more! 😄 A million thanks for your support and the hugs, my friend!

                      Ouch! I’ve never had much of a sunburn, for not having fair skin, I don’t burn easily. But, my daughter and granddaughter are very fair-skinned and have to lather themselves in sunscreen whenever they go out for more than a few minutes. My late ex-husband used to get sunburned and I took great pleasure in peeling the skin from his back, much to his annoyance! 😉 Use some aloe … works every time!

                      Hugs ‘n love, my friend!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The guy was talking about OSF funding ACLU, and I did look it up and saw that OSF had given 2 million in funding. I need to look up more about it, but it is small compared to the other donations received. I have started my conference duties this week, along with textbanking, and it’s going to be a long rest of the month LOL. I will be in the same boat as you with the thinking overload 🙂 You will always have my support! The burn is better, and I’m looking tan 🙂 My kids used to love peeling my sunburn 😀 now I can’t get them to scratch it if it itches haha!

                      Love and hugs, my dear friend!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Two million is no doubt small compared to some donations, but still … not exactly peanuts! You are one busy lady!!! Just remember to squeeze in some time for you, to relax, read, listen to music, take a walk, or whatever helps you relax. You can’t afford to burn yourself out! I’m glad to hear the burn is better! Love and many hugs!!!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I took those few days 🙂 I have that big conference coming up, and I have had two lazy days to gather myself. Whew…it’s going to be a long two weeks coming up for sure. Love and hugs!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Having a passion for what you do — and you DO have that passion — makes it all do-able. You’ll be exhausted by the time your conference is over, but you’ll also have a sense of satisfaction, of a job well done, of knowing that what you are doing is valuable. Keep on keeping on, then! Love ‘n hugs galore!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I am so thankful for your support! I really needed to read these words today. I think those around me do not see what I do as work, so it gets a bit frustrating at times. They think I should be getting paid…*sigh* Big Love and hugs to you, my friend! 🤗

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ah yes … I know that mentality! I take my blogging very seriously, like to think what I do is important, that it matters, but there are many who think of this as my “little hobby” since I don’t get paid, have no boss, etc. Ah well, people will be people … let them live in their little narrow worlds. You and I both know that what we do has value. Love & lots o’ hugs, dear Amy!!!

                      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.