Students are being invited to take part in the third annual Powering Kindness campaign, sponsored by Electric Ireland. The initiative, which runs runs from Saturday 17th January to Friday 23rd January, seeks to promote three different charities and provide funding through everyday acts of kindness.

The UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems is supporting the Marie Keating Foundation throughout the campaign this year. The foundation plans to use any funds raised for their Comfort Fund which helps families that are suffering financially from the effects of cancer.

The Comfort Fund pays particular attention to families that see a reduction in income due to cancer treatment or caring for a sick relative. It aims to provide financial support to pay bills and childcare costs. With the potential boost to this fund from the Powering Kindness campaign, the foundation claims it could help over 100 families.

People are asked to get involved by performing an act of kindness and logging their efforts online. The charity with the most acts of kindness logged will receive the largest share of a €130,000 fund, which was increased by €30,000 by Electric Ireland in 2013. The organisation that comes first will receive €60,000 in funding, with the next prizes amounting to €40,000 and €30,000.

With little demand on time and money, this campaign seeks to help charities and raise awareness through everyday actions. Sample acts are described on the Powering Kindness website as “holding the door open for someone” or “giving up your seat on a train,” even extending to thanking someone for an act of kindness. People can log up to ten acts a day to support their chosen charity and are encouraged to upload a picture or video. Past participants in Powering Kindness include Stephen Fry and Ronan O’Gara, with over 45,000 acts of kindness being logged in during the previous campaign. Support has also come from broadcaster George Hook and the Samoan rugby team.

One student who will be participating this year during the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems’ week long drive will be midwifery student Roísín Ni Mhara, who confirmed she will be in a “pig costume walking around campus giving free hugs, Glenisk yogurts and Cheese snack packs” throughout the week. Ni Mhara encourages as many students from all across campus to get involved with the campaign and help such a worthy cause.

People who want to participate and log their act of kindness can do so either through the website, or on social media, using the hashtag PoweringKindness, and the name of their chosen charity, for example, @mariekeating.

In previous years, the event has been extremely successful, supporting charities such as Special Olympics Ireland and Focus Ireland. The charities involved in this year’s campaign are the Marie Keating Foundation (which provides support for people after a cancer diagnosis), the Irish Heart Foundation and the Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC). The ISPCC is connected to Childline, an organisation that was recently at risk of being forced to cut their hours of service due to a lack of funding.