According to a report released today (17th Feb.), most Britons – 65% – believe we have become kinder as a nation over the last 12 months and 92% say they’ve done an act of kindness themselves, in the run-up to ‘Random Acts of Kindness Day’, 17 February 2021.

The report, released by COOK, the award-winning frozen food company found 65% of Britons believe people have done more acts of kindness during the pandemic than previously, with keeping in touch with family and friends (62%), showing support for key workers (61%), acts of volunteering (32%) and ‘doorstep drops’ of food (23%) some of the top ways Britons have noticed growing kindness.

People have also boosted kindness themselves, with 92% of people saying they have done one of many acts of kindness, including donating to charity (44%), donating to food banks (31%), helping neighbours (30%) and helping strangers (17%) amongst the most popular ways to show they care for loved ones and their wider communities.

COOK, which has 88 shops across the country, conducted the report to coincide with ‘Random Acts of Kindness Day’, 17 February 2021. Since the start of the first lockdown last March, the company has worked with its customers, local community groups and charities to identify and support those having a tough time, providing them with meals and treats through its Kindness Fund.

Since last March, with the help of the community, the company has given away 185,000 meals to people in need.

On 17 February COOK will donate 1,300 meals as a ‘Random Act of Kindness’ to people within the community experiencing tough times and it will be encouraging its 1,500 strong workforce to each do a small act of kindness for colleagues, family members or customers.

In the report, Britons also identified the ‘random act of kindness’ – a small and unexpected kind gesture from somebody that takes you by surprise – they would most want to receive on February 17th.

Being sent something unexpected in the post (24%), receiving an unexpected phone call or text (24%) and being paid a compliment (13%) came in the top three, with a delicious meal being dropped to your doorstep (9%) and someone collecting your shopping or prescription (9%) making up the top five.

A variety of other imaginative and inspiring small acts of kindness were suggested by COOK colleagues and customers, which has led COOK to compile a ‘100 Small Acts of Kindness’ list (attached). Brits also added that they would be most likely to do a random act of kindness for their partner (19%), a friend (17%) or family member (17%), with 6% saying they would do a random act of kindness for a stranger – although this doubled to 12% in the West Midlands.

James Rutter, COOK said: “We’ve adopted a phrase from ancient Greek storyteller, Aesop, as the motto for our Kindness Fund: No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. As well as being the nation’s back up kitchen, we also want to be able to help people going through a tough time, which is why we set up our Fund.

“Working with our teams and partners, we’ve been doing what we can to help spread care and connection in communities, through donating meals where they are needed most. We thought ‘Random Acts of Kindness Day’ was the perfect time to build on this, encourage small acts of kindness and endeavour to emerge from the pandemic a kinder nation”

Mike Innes a volunteer at Empty Kitchens added: “The meals we’ve had from the COOK Kindness Fund have been a massive help. We feel that people in our community are now more aware of the big difference a small act of kindness can make and we hope this continues. With the amazing help that COOK and many others have provided, we’ve managed to keep up with the increasing demand and are now providing meal packs for around 1500 people a day, and growing.”