by Annemarie Mannion April 11, 2022Kindness Matters Service Award WinnerLittle Cushions Bring Big ComfortFinding the right way to help turned out to be sew easy Now and Again, Kindness Always Matters as a Lion. The 2020-2021 Kindness Matters Service Award Winners have been announced. As Lions we believe that Kindness is always in fashion. Lions and Leos are continually looking for ways to improve their community and the world around them, grounding every service project they do in the idea that all people thrive when shown kindness.The Kindness Matters Service Award (KMSA) was created to recognize innovative and creative service projects in one of the global cause areas that left a positive impact on their communities.One award winner, The City of Adelaide Lions Club in Southern Australia, showed kindness by paying attention to the real needs of those around them—and then acting on them.Someone else’s shoes You never really know how to help a person undergoing cancer treatment unless you’ve been one yourself.Lions in Australia wanted to ease the discomfort of cancer patients and show them some love and support by making them colorful port pillows.In 2016, Adelaide Lions read a blog written by a woman going through treatment for cancer. She wrote that, while she appreciated the gifts from her friends and family, many of them were unsuitable for her condition. The smell of the flowers or candy they sent would make her nauseous or irritate her skin.The Lions thought they could do better and started the Hear Me Roar! Project that same year. The effort is dedicated to easing the pain, discomfort, and loneliness that many cancer patients and others in other challenging situations may feel. They wanted to provide real value to patients while also helping them to feel less alone.It wasn’t long before Lions also began creating care packages including brightly colored, heart-shaped pillows for youth entering foster care.The Lions began putting together care packages for cancer patients, including multi-purpose heart-shaped cushions and port pillows to attach to seatbelts to keep them from rubbing against patients’ chemotherapy ports.It wasn’t long before the project expanded to provide cushions to other patients in hospitals and colorful heart-shaped pillows to vulnerable youth in foster care to help them feel loved and valued.The project that began as a support to cancer patients grew to one that supported youth literacy by collecting and donating books.Kindness grows In 2018, the club began addressing the challenge of youth literacy. Lions began collecting, sorting, and packing age-appropriate books into book bags for distribution to disadvantaged and vulnerable youth across Australia. Club president Petrea Stacey says the reason why the project has evolved in so many powerful ways is simple.“Life is full of challenges,” she says. “And regardless of what someone is going through, we simply want to make them smile and feel comfortable. We want them to know there are people out there supporting them and thinking of them and bringing them hope and kindness to help them through the challenges they face.”Busy bees To date, the club has delivered about 3,000 cushions, 900 port pillows, 2,300 bags of books and 1,000 other miscellaneous items such as handmade bibs or scrunchies. Stacey estimates the project has helped more than 7,000 people.The work to make the cushions involves four large sewing bees a year, some mini-bees, and extra work by individuals in their spare time.The work to make the cushions involves four large sewing bees a year, some mini-bees, and individuals who work on their own to make cushions and other items. The club hosts barbecues and other fund-raising initiatives to support the project. Stacy says all the work is worth the effort.“We’ve received letters and emails of thanks and heard stories of children who keep their cushion as a comforter and security blanket,” she says.And that’s no surprise. Because kindness comes in all shapes and sizes, and you never, ever grow out of it.See more kindness in action The winning clubs represent all constitutional areas and show just how meaningful it is to be a Lion or Leo. You can see a full list of the winners here.