By Kiarra Solomon
With more than thirty murders in the first month of 2012, it seems we may be in need of a reminder that this is the City of Brotherly Love. But how do you spread love in a city the size of Philadelphia? You could hop on a tour bus and drive around the city performing random acts of kindness all over the city for a whole year.
Well, that’s what Keven Parker is doing. On Monday January 31st, Parker and Ms. Tootsie’s Restaurant Bar Lounge kicked off their year-long ‘Spread the Love’ Campaign.
The idea is simple: On the fourth Monday of every month, Parker and members of Ms. Tootsie’s Restaurant Bar Lounge will hop aboard the Spread the Love Bus and seek out individuals who stand in need of a helping hand. The team bus will make stops at grocery stores, utility billing offices, schools and community events to carry out a sincere act of kindness.
The campaign kicked off on Monday afternoon. The crew made several stops to seek out individuals in need including grocery stores, laundromats and even cell phone payment stores. But the very first act of kindness that Parker and his crew were able to perform was for a woman buying groceries at a South Philadelphia ShopRite. After covering the woman’s grocery bill, she began to explain that she cared for eight children, including grandchildren and foster children as well. And it would seem that both God and his mother wanted to send a sign that he was doing the right thing. “What was really awesome was when she told us that her son used to work for Ms. Tootsie’s. My mother had employed her son. It really bought it all full circle for me because my mom passed away in July”, said Parker.
And while this may seem like a huge task already, Keven wants to make it bigger. The staff is seeking other businesses to join the campaign. “We want to be the catalyst. But we want other people to say, ‘that’s a great idea and I want to help too” By adding more businesses, the campaign would ultimately reach more people. While it is a major portion of the campaign, the goal isn’t to only reach those who are struggling financially. The ‘Spread the Love’ Campaign is designed to reach everyone, even if it’s by simply paying for someone’s lunch.
Ms. Tootsie’s is also requesting stories of people who are in need. You can submit a story at the restaurant or online (www.mstootsiesrbl.com). Every month, Kevin and his staff will select one person’s story and meet their need, regardless of size.
Kevin wants the campaign to become contagious “There are no strings attached. We don’t want anything in return. The only thing we ask is that you Spread the Love.”
And maybe, just maybe if we all join in and ‘Spread the Love’ Philadelphia will begin to look like the City of Brotherly Love again.
For more information on how you can join the ‘Spread the Love’ Campaign or to submit a story of someone in need you can visit Ms. Tootsie’s website www.mstootsiesrbl.com or you can visit the restaurant at 1314 South Street, Philadelphia PA 19147.