Scavenger Hunts and “Kindness Crews” Help Uplift Individuals and Businesses
This fall the Downtown Spokane Partnership (DSP) is on a mission to “spread kindness” to those visiting, living, shopping and playing in the city’s center. This “kindness campaign” is aimed at rewarding individuals for helping keep the community safe and healthy, while supporting local businesses. It is a regionalization of Greater Spokane Incorporated’s county-wide “Spread Kindness” campaign, which is funded through money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Already the downtown campaign has seen a positive response, and DSP hopes to build on that momentum.
The recently launched campaign aims to spread the idea that by wearing a mask, washing hands, social distancing and engaging in kind acts, a person is both helping keep businesses open and move Spokane closer toward a time when the spread is slowed enough that it can return to a more normal pace of life.
Currently, every weekend DSP is hosting a “Kindness Challenge Scavenger Hunt”, as well as sending “Kindness Crews” out into the downtown area. Between the two, over $3,500 in prizes has been given out to downtown patrons, directly supporting over 30 businesses, with more still to come.
Each Friday DSP posts on its Facebook page a scavenger hunt prompt; something to look for at downtown businesses. The first week, it was a mannequin wearing a mask, another week it was single use menus at a food or beverage establishment. To participate, a person must take a photo of the challenge item. They then comment on the Facebook post with that photo and tag the businesses where the item was located. The following Monday, DSP selects winners of a gift card to the downtown business of their choice.
“I keep sharing and telling everyone about the hunts,” one participant said. “My friend and I enjoyed searching for the items and can’t wait to see what the challenge is each weekend.”
The weekly scavenger hunt will continue through the weekend of October 2nd.
“There’s obviously a lot to be stressed about right now,” said Mark Richard, president and CEO of DSP. “We thought it would be beneficial to inject a little positivity and fun into the mix to help us all through this time.”
Another way DSP is doing this is through what they are calling “random acts of kindness” via “Kindness Crews”. These crews are groups of volunteers that roam the downtown core in search of people exhibiting safe and healthy behavior, such as wearing a mask or social distancing, and rewarding those people with gift cards to local businesses.
“Some people are hesitant to take the prize at first, they think there’s a catch,” said one of the Kindness Crew volunteers. “Until they realize we really are just giving this stuff away as a simple thank you, then you can see them get really excited, really grateful. ”
The Downtown Spokane Partnership will continue its Kindness Campaign into October, including the introduction of “Kindopoly”, another scavenger hunt type activity with a life-sized Monopoly-style setup spanning blocks of the downtown core.
“Downtown has been steadily regaining its vibrancy since the shutdown in March,” says Richard. “We want people to know that businesses are back open and ready to serve you, in a safe and healthy environment. But to do that, and to preserve the amazing shopping and dining culture that has developed in downtown, we need your help. While you’re here supporting local business, we’ll be here spreading kindness.”