COLUMBIA - After a difficult year dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, two Columbia women have started a mission to try to part the cloudy skies with a little bit of sunshine.
Kim Ahrens and Jen Heishman started a project called COMO Ray of Sunshine. The goal is to fill bright yellow-colored bags with small goodies and hide them around Columbia for strangers to find for a fun surprise.
"Like to me this is just so small," Heishman said while stuffing the bags. "But, in general it could make somebody’s day turn around.”
The women try to fill the bags with yellow items to follow the sunshine theme. There are things like chapstick, play dough, candy, bubbles and even money.
"Just knowing that we made somebody smile during a time when not very many people are smiling, I think it’s been good therapy for us, too," Ahrens said.
They started the project this past winter and hope to make the bags every month or two.
The first time they made the bags they used their own money, but since then, they have been able to fill the bags with donated items. Then, they hide the bags on all sides of town.
“Outside of restaurants, outside of grocery stores, parks," Ahrens said.
Kathryn Mouse found a bag outside Cracker Barrel a few weeks ago.
"We were walking inside and there was this little yellow bag on the rocking chairs," Mouse said. "I just opened it up and there was like $10 dollars in there and chapstick...It was so exciting, I called my mom afterwards because I knew she would be just as excited.”
The MU sophomore said finding the bag was the perfect surprise.
"It’s people doing kind things like that is just so awesome…just makes people’s day just doing little acts of kindness like that just made my whole entire week," Mouse said.
Ahrens and Heishman said that's the goal.
"Hopefully it’s brightened somebody’s day," Ahrens said.
So, keep an eye out for the bright yellow bags, you never know where they'll show up to spread some sunshine next.
"It just warmed my heart, it seriously did. So, thank you," Mouse said.
Ahrens and Heishman also hope to include more items from local businesses to help support them during the ongoing pandemic.
If you're interested in supporting the COMO Ray of Sunshine mission, check out their Facebook page here. You can also read more about other people who have found the bags around Columbia.