We’re Excited to Announce, Two Winners of our Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant for February 2021

Congratulations to Marina Arias and Nigel Mushambi, each received $250 to help fund their acts of kindness projects!

Kindness Grant Winner Marina Arias
Kindness Grant Winner Nigel Mushambi

Once again, we are able to give out two awards because we have so many wonderful people who support us and believe in our mission.  We truly appreciate all of the donations that make this possible.  

About our February 2021 Grant winners:  

Marina Arias

Kindness Grant Winner Marina Arias

Nigel Mushambi

Kindness Grant Winner Nigel Mushambi

Nigel (R) with his brother, Shane (L)

I was so moved by what Marina wrote when applying for our grant, truly she warmed my heart.  “My name is Marina Arias (Northern Humbolt, CA) and I am 14 years old.  We have a very high homeless population in our area. My mom saw a young guy who was in his teens with his dog, with no coat on.  She stopped, gave him all the money she had $5. (She is a single mom, and disabled Registered nurse, so we don’t have extra money.) She went home had me get a blanket, canned foods, dog food, (sorry Diesel you’re sharing your food today), all the change we had, sanitizer, masks, hat, and her grey sweatshirt for the guy. We went back into town, he was still sitting there, and she handed it to him in a reusable bag. We told him what was in there, and we hoped he would not be in the freezing cold for long.  He said “I don’t know how long” and my mom said “stay safe and bless you”. My mom gave him the name of the shelter in Eurekas also.

That night changed me.

As we went home, my mom was emotional and crying saying he was so young and she wished she could have done more. I started thinking, I could put together kits and when we see homeless and down on their luck people, we could hopefully spread some kindness and brighten their day! My kit includes a hat, gloves, small blanket, socks, dog food, dog bone, water, cans of protein food with pop-top lids, chips, candy and a card with some kindness that says “you are loved”.  Also, a photocopy of the resources available in our area for help, which include food, motel voucher/ shelter, handed to them in a reusable bag. We keep the “kindness kits”, in our car, and hand them out when we see someone in need. We live in Northern Humboldt area and resources are 10 miles away.  There are a lot of drifters and regulars in this area with little help. 

I pay for this myself by helping my mom with chores, and my mom contributes as well, we split 1/2 and 1/2. Which means just her money …She uses her credit card and says “it’s worth it”. 

Even though my mom has another upcoming ankle surgery, she stays positive  with a mantra saying “ I am blessed, I am equipped, and I have the favor of God”. With that attitude my sister and I have learned what matters in the world, and it’s not dwelling on the small things, that’s for sure! Spreading kindness and love. If you feel down, just look around and do for others! You will realize how truly blessed you are. You never know what one small act of kindness can do for someone.” 

Marina is so right.  Her mom’s kindness rippled out and touched Marina whose actions will directly touch all those she gives to but it also touched and inspired me and now I’m sure it will touch all of you.  You don’t always see it, but the ripple of kindness goes on and on.   

When his home school co-op shut down in March, Nigel Mushambi (Missouri City, TX) said he had no idea how hard it would be to adjust to online learning. In addition, he has a baking business with his brother Shane, 2 Bros In The Kitchen, that they also had to shut down. Nigel said, while they were dealing with the frustrations of the Covid shutdowns, “Around May, my mom asked me a question that changed my perspective about COVID.  She asked me, “What are you going to tell your grandchildren you did during the lockdown?” At this point, I realized I was living through history. I needed to write my story. Everyone should show compassion. I love baking, so I decided to show Sweet Compassion to teachers working hard during this pandemic.”

Nigel set a goal to bake cookies for 1,000 teachers who are working extra hard to ensure their kids are able to continue learning during these difficult times. To date, they have baked and distributed cookies to over 255 teachers, sprinkling a little bit of sweetness into their lives. 

Nigel (13 y/o) and Shane (15 y/o) have had a love of baking since they were toddlers, and after winning a local baking competition, three years in a row, they started 2 Bros In The Kitchen.  From the beginning, they felt it was important to include ways to give back to the community.  Their mission, “2 Bros. in the Kitchen doesn’t just want a world filled with happy taste buds. We want people to have happy stomachs and hearts too.”  They put actions behind those words, they’ve provided meals for homeless, toys for children, donated funds for medical care, delivered frozen pops to the homeless, handed out cake-in-the-jars for police and community leaders, and distributed school supplies.  

Getting into the kitchen and whipping up some delicious cookies to show appreciation for teachers allows Nigel and Shane, to keep doing what they love, baking and spreading kindness.  MKRO loves how committed these boys are to helping others as part of their business mission. We love that they are turning their kindness to teachers who are working hard to keep kids excited and motivated in spite of the difficult circumstances.  We’re proud of Nigel and Shane and so glad to help them spread sweetness in our world. 

4 thoughts on “We’re Excited to Announce, Two Winners of our Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant for February 2021”

  1. Each time I read about the loving acts of kindness from these winner’s i cry (tears of joy) it renews my faith and gives me hope. thank you Marina and Nigel for you loving kindness and thank you to their parents too for being great examples to them. And thank you Jackie for bringing these wonderful acts of kindness to us, Matt’s Kindness will always Ripple on.

  2. Great job Marina and Nigel ! Thank you for being so kindhearted and loving to others . Keep up the amazing work you two . Many blessings to you .

  3. these wonderful young kids are well deserving of the recognition for they have shown such grace and kindness when things seem to be so uncertain. It brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart to read such goodness does still exist. Thanks as always Jackie for sharing for we all need to see some good news for a change!

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