Kicking off Project Sunshine: Spreading cheer on the Harlem Line

Back in December I had planned on being at the train station and handing out cards on the 24th, for all the other unfortunate people that had to work on Christmas Eve. I thought it might be interesting to just go up to random people and give them cards. Maybe it would make them smile. Unfortunately, I ended up being sick on that day, and I never went to work. So much for that plan…

But the whole idea of giving out cards stuck in my mind. And so I decided I was going to do it. For spring. Recently I read something about the Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy, which ended up influencing my final idea. One of the people involved in that group handed out dollars, but only if the person that got the dollar agreed that they would give it to yet another person. I wondered if I could do this in some way with cards. I give out cards, and I get other people to give out cards.

That was pretty much the thought process on how Project Sunshine came into existence. I decided I would give out a bunch of cards to people I see on the train, at the station, maybe even conductors, or the lady with the funky accent that sells tickets at the train station (if you’re reading this, I really like your accent!). Inside each card I give out, I would include yet another card in an envelope, with instructions for that person to find another person to give that card to. And in that card, there is yet another envelope, with a card for that person to give out. I’ve been calling the different cards first, second, and third generation cards, based on the amount of handling each card has gotten. The third generation cards are the last in the chain.

Roughly this is how it works. I give out a card to one person, but if it all works out, three people total end up getting cards.

So what do these cards look like? All of them have the same image, although based on whether the person ends up getting a first, second, or third generation card, the size is different. This is the image that is on each card…

I’m going to start passing these out on the trains today, the 16th of March, a few days before spring officially starts. The weather is supposed to be great and spring-like, so I figured it was about time. I will continue on the 17th, and on the afternoon of the 18th I will be in Grand Central also passing out cards. We’ll see how many I have left over and will go from there. I don’t really have the funds to be mass producing cards, but I’ve done what I can by scrounging up some old envelopes and recycling them (so if you have an envelope with a big white sticker on the front, that is why. Recycled!). I have a total of 60 first generation cards (total of 180 cards… I never want to stuff an envelope again!).

Each card will have the web address of “Project Sunshine” on the back, and I am hoping that people that receive the cards will be able to get online and make some comments. I am especially eager to see if there are any people that do actually get a third generation card. Honestly I am not quite sure how this is going to work, if people I give the cards to will actually give the card inside out to another person. But we shall see.

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