Hamden Rabbi And Community Partners Join Forces to provide yellow ARKS

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A Hamden rabbi is paying it forward in a special way as we head into the new year.

Rabbi Moshe Hecht of Chabad of Hamden established the kindness campaign by planning to give out small yellow boats called A.R.K.

The name stands for Acts of Random Kindness.

The sunny little boats purposely stand out for a reason and one glance at them and you might think that they're a toy but they actually have a higher purpose.

"ARK is not only about what's being given but equally important is the ability that ARK has to create givers," said Rabbi Hecht. "This repeated behavior over time transforms a person's psyche and influences their actions."

Rabbi Moshe Hecht holding one of the yellow ARKS. Rabbi Hecht plans to roll out the ARKS next month.

Rabbi Hecht believes that these small plastic containers -- that will be located in banks and grocery stores starting in January -- could go a long way for those in need and teach the community about giving back. There is no limit on how much money you can put in the ARK but the goal is to pay it forward.

"A person can decide to give the ARK to whomever they decide and wherever they would like it to go," said Rabbi Hecht.

Boxes of of ARKS will go to those inside the Hamden community to be spread in and around the state.

The small arks can go to a friend, loved one or someone who may be going through a rough time and even charitable organizations.

Harry Garafalo is the owner of Garafalo Markets and owns a few ShopRites in the southern portion of the state. Garafalo tells NBC Connecticut he knew he wanted to jump on board and ordered hundreds of arks for his stores.

"It's going to allow people to think maybe some more positive thoughts about possibly paying it forward and helping someone in need," said Garafalo. "It's a unique program, it could run year-around, you can pass if off to one person who may pass it along to another person."

ION Bank in Hamden is one of the community partners joining forces with Rabbi Hecht.

"I thought as soon as I heard about them, I thought we had to get on board because now more than ever, we need to teach kindness and be kind," said Kathleen McPadden who is the community relations officer for ION Bank.

Hamden's Liberty Bank branch is all in on the effort happening in the community.

"I just feel that being able to hand these out to our customers is a great way to pay it forward," said Lis Abate, who is the Bank Manager at the Hamden Liberty Bank. "I feel like I'm going to take some with me when I'm out and about and give it to someone in need."

Rabbi Hecht tells NBC Connecticut the focus is to remember the importance of giving to others and understand the daily benefit of giving or providing an act of kindness everyday.

"You can't put a limit on kindness so we're hopeful that this picks up a lot of traction and people are really excited," said Rabbi Hecht.

If you would like to participate in the ARK campaign you can contact, Rabbi Hecht at rabbi@jewishhamden.org.

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