Update: On April 15 I got a note from Ben’s mother, thanking me for the post … and letting me know that, two years after Ben’s death, they adopted two girls from Russia!
On March 29, 2002 — Good Friday seven years ago — three-year-old Ben Packard suddenly died of croup. His parents desperately wanted to find a way to bring some kind of healing out of their personal tragedy.
They created “Ben’s Bells” to recognize acts of kindness in their community — in their own words, “to inspire, educate, and motivate each other to realize the impact of intentional kindness and to empower individuals to act accordingly to that awareness, thereby changing our world.”
“Ben’s Bells,” grew to become a community effort that recognizes the power of kindness. In memory of little Ben, people in the Tucson, Arizona area gather to create these beautiful ceramic windchimes … and send them to selected recipients (it’s called “belling”), whose act of kindness has made a difference in the life of local residents. To date more than 11,000 sets of bells have been distributed.
One of the recent recipients of this award are foster parents Barbara and James Reyes, whose story was run in the Arizona Daily Star last February.
Ben’s mother Jeannette tells their story here. The site offers instructions on how to start a chapter of the “Bells” in your own community as well!