Speed Reads

neighbors helping neighbors

Annual yard sale funds random acts of kindness in Virginia community

From buying homecoming dresses to supplying nurses with boxes of donuts, Susan Thompson-Gaines stays busy by doing at least one good deed a day.

The Arlington, Virginia, resident collects her neighbors' old clothes, toys, jewelry, housewares, and other odds and ends, and once a year, holds a massive yard sale, using the profits to fund random acts of kindness in the community — her 2021 event raised more than $12,000. "So many people helped," she told CBS News. "It's everyone in the community now."

There's no shortage of people Thompson-Gaines can help, and she said that "once you start looking, there are opportunities everywhere." She has taken on large-scale projects, like holding a beach party for dementia patients and leaving flowers on the graves of veterans, but Thompson-Gaines also assists individuals like Marjorie Gonzales, a high school student in need of a homecoming dress. 

Thompson-Gaines took Gonzales shopping, and together they picked out a brand new ensemble. Being able to make meaningful connections with people she ordinarily would never meet has changed Thompson-Gaines, who told CBS News this has made her "a more happy person."