COMMUNITY; SCHOOLS; EDUCATION
By Heather Smith Craig
One good thing to come out of COVID-19 pandemic is the nonprofit Acts of Kindness, started by local high schooler Chloe Buchholtz. In 2020, Buchholtz felt sympathetic to the harsh working conditions at UNC’s ER department, then overwhelmed with COVID cases, staffing shortages and personnel’s stress of working long hours to combat a novel disease.
After raising money and delivering doughnuts to local ER staff, Buchholtz said, “I want to do more like this. I want to be able to help people. I want to be able to see a difference in my community.”
With help from her family and friends, she started her non-profit to raise awareness about local food scarcity, mental health, illness and homelessness in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
To further her mission, in 2021, Buchholtz partnered with Club Nova, A Lotta Love and PORCH to help them raise funds and awareness. Acts of Kindness held a 10-mile walk on the American Tobacco Trail to raise money. They raised $7,500 for A Lotta Love, a local nonprofit that transforms rooms at shelters into welcoming and warm spaces, and $6,000 for PORCH, a local hunger-relief organization. The teen’s organization has raised over $21,000.
The money generated also contributed to the mural on the side of The Lumina Theater, painted by family friend and supporter Loren Pease, a talented artist in Southern Village. Buchholtz says the mural—bright, rainbow-colored wings with inspirational words adorning the feathers—symbolizes “positivity, optimism, kindness, [and] strength.”
Buchholtz is inspiring others, too. She has started a club at Carrboro High School that has 45 members and is growing. In October, the organization completed a goods drive that gathered household products like sanitary items, toilet paper, toothpaste, shoes, water bottles, socks, etc.—“anything that people need to be more comfortable.” Buchholtz anticipates another goods drive in January or February.
Looking towards the organization’s future, the high school senior plans to start an Acts of Kindness chapter wherever she ends up for college, as do her best friends. Her younger brother will continue to support the Chapel Hill chapter.
Buchholtz says that they are learning as they go. They have developed a website, ActsofkindnessCH.org, where people can volunteer, donate and see testimonials of how Acts of Kindness has used donations. She welcomes partnering with other local nonprofits to help get the word out and fundraise together.
Heather Craig is a local mom, writer and photographer who moved to the area with her husband in 2005.