Melissa Bahle is a “guerrilla” – Something good happened in Erie, 1/24/2019

Melissa Bahle’s kindness is making the world a better place. | Photo from Christopher Millette, Erie Times-News

Without further ado, your Idiotville feel-good story of the week:

This week’s feature starts out with something good about the internet, which seems like a rare story these days. Melissa Bahle happened to be perusing around online and heard about some folks just going around doing random acts of kindness in their community in the UK. They called it “guerrilla generosity” and Melissa, reading from her home in Bear Lake in Warren County, wanted in. So she showed some kindness of her own toward strangers in her area.

This is such a simple concept it almost seems ridiculous to write about, but Melissa’s story is unique. She didn’t just do some nice thing and tell the newspaper about it. She brought other people along with her in her mission of service.

She spoke to a friend about making some sturdy boxes to house donated stuff. A local Boy Scout troop stepped up and made them. Melissa placed them around Corry where she works and Spartansburg where she grew up. Four boxes total. She and others fill them up all the time with canned food, blankets, all kinds of things for people in need.

There is no keeping track of “what kind of people” are taking the items. There is no hand-wringing about whose fault it is that people are in need, or whether they are really in need at all. There is just a woman putting her time and effort where her heart is, and advocating for others to do the same.

She leads coat drives, too. She is not Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, so she went to local businesses and schools for additional donations. They came through in a big way. I encourage you to check out the GoErie link at the top for details on all the donations; I won’t restate them here.

What struck me about this is the larger dynamic of all the good that can be done when one person commits to start the ball rolling.

Once Melissa Bahle started asking questions about making the boxes, she found some Boy Scouts more than willing to pitch in. When she asked for donations, 1,800 food items came flooding in from Corry Middle School. Businesses donated various time, space and items, etc.

People are inherently good and generous, but sometimes they need a nudge to make a tangible difference. You could be the person to nudge hundreds or thousands of people toward giving just a little. Anyone could. Be a “guerrilla.” Be like Melissa Bahle.

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