Last month on the Urban Corning Facebook page, we posted a few pictures of hats and scarves that had been left around town. They each had a note that read, “I am not lost! If you need me, take me. God Bless.” The post went viral, amassing more than 35,000 views and hundreds of likes and shares.
Well here at Urban Corning, we’re not stupid. (In fact, we delete all of the comments telling us how stupid we are so that everyone will take us seriously.) We know that you’re interested in this stuff, and for that reason, we tracked down the person responsible for these random acts of kindness so we could share her story with you.
Crystal DeWert McCannon, with the help of her family and close friends, went out on that cold February day; the looming forecast of sub-zero temperatures was on everyone’s mind, and Crystal had just seen an inspirational Internet story. In the article, a family had left winter accessories around town as an act of kindness for those in need; Crystal knew she could do the same. “I thought this would be really cool to do in our town,” she said in a recent interview with Urban Corning. “We heard another storm was coming and decided to do something about it.”
Crystal and her family are no strangers to philanthropy. They spend about 20 hours each week at the Pantry of Angels in Lindley, NY in addition to other “crazy stuff,” their endearing term for community volunteerism and charity efforts. One particular idea led them to handing out Wegmans gift cards to random strangers in the aisles at Wegmans. Another had them bringing home-made cookies to the regional Ronald McDonald House. “Once you make cookies, it smells like home,” said Angel, Crystal’s 10-year-old daughter.
Many people ask, “Why?” – I did, anyways. Angel’s response came right away: “The only reason I wanted to do this was because I wanted to give back to my community,” she said. “We’ve gone without,” added Crystal,” and someone noticed us. Now, we notice those people in need.”
I had to wonder what it was about this community that had such an impact on Angel and Crystal and the rest of their family and friends to inspire them to take action. I mean, I’ve met some really great people and Corning has become my home, so I understand – but I wanted their thoughts.
“This area is really quaint, laid back, and safe,” said Crystal. “The people in our community will be the first to help anyone. The shops on Market Street donate to fundraising efforts all the time. We’re a small town with a big impact, and Market Street is the heart of it.”
Well, there you have it, Corning. Maybe that’s why we’re called the ‘Crystal City.’