Community comes together on fourth annual Riley’s Kindness Day.

June 21, 2020:  Bedford Now

What do lemonade pies, homemade cookies, ice cream sandwiches, donuts and succulents have in common?

They were all given as gifts during the fourth-annual Riley’s Kindness Day.

Riley Hoeksema was a great-grandchild of J. Russel Bouws — for whom Russ’ Restaurants is named. He died on June 19, 2016, in a tragic boating accident. He was just 16 years old.

“He was one of the kindest kids,” said Kerri DeVries, Riley’s aunt. “We decided that, in memory of him, we’d create a day of kindness to spread what Riley used to have. It helps my family have something positive on a day that’s very hard. It just takes the focus off the negative and puts it on something good.”

Each year on June 19, Russ’ Restaurants partners with Quality Carwash and Paint a Pot to organize Riley’s Kindness Day. Those interested in participating can pick up cards at any of the three businesses to leave with their act of kindness.

“Every year it grows,” DeVries said. “It’s fantastic to watch all of the Facebook posts and things people do. It’s such a positive thing, especially right now. There’s so much negativity around us and this is just a breath of fresh air.”

Some of the love this year was felt at the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce.

″[We] received an amazing surprise delivery of Russ’ Restaurants lemonade pie in honor of Riley’s Kindness Random Acts of Kindness Day,” the chamber wrote on Facebook. “Thank you to our anonymous deliverer for brightening our day in memory of Riley Hoeksema, and reminding us of the importance of everyday kindness. We are so grateful.” .... MORE

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