Stewardship’s Lent challenge, 40acts, which launched on Ash Wednesday, has led to a wave of over 2.9million acts of generosity over 40 days.
The challenge, which comes to an end this Saturday, asks people to do one simple generous act each day over Lent.
This year it had 75,000 people taking part, making this year’s challenge the biggest in its five year history.
Over the last 40 days participants have cleaned graffiti off local buildings, left free chocolates in gym lockers, wrote letters of encouragement to those in prison, surprised strangers with flowers or bought coffee for them in cafes, and invited the neighbours around for ‘pudding parties’ in an attempt to ‘give out’ rather than just give something up for Lent.
One of the most popular challenges of this year’s 40acts was #chocolatetuesday, where thousands of people slipped chocolate bars into people’s handbags, gave out free chocolates on trains and buses, or bought in sweet treats for their class at school.
The challenge encourages people to make living generously a daily habit and gives participants the opportunity to be generous not just with their money, but also with their time, their words, their skills and their hugs!
40acts concluded on Holy Saturday, where those taking part were challenged to do one last anonymous blow-out act of generosity that stretched them beyond their comfort zones.
The award-winning 40acts challenge run by charity Stewardship provided tailored materials to ensure schools, churches, groups, students, families and individuals could take part.
Ruth Bartholomew, who took part in 40acts this year with her husband and three daughters said: “We chose to do 40acts as a family so that we would have activities that we could do together and to show kindness within our family and also to our community members.
“It has had a positive impact on us all. Through all the acts we have taken part and in particular by delivering flowers, cakes, and treats to our neighbours, we have positively influenced our community and opened doors to more meaningful relationships with those we share life with.”
40acts also has a huge following on social media where those taking part share their actions for each day and encourage each other. This year the 40acts Facebook group more than doubled in size from 12,000 to 25,000 and its Instagram community tripled from 900 to 2,700 sharing their photos online. 2000 new Twitter followers joined the conversation, creating a community that supported and encouraged each other.
Alexandra Khan, part of the 40acts team at Stewardship, said: “It’s been a phenomenal year. The 40acts community is an incredible mix of people from all over the world. We’ve loved hearing their stories, seeing new friendships forged, and watching a ripple of generosity happen throughout Lent. For the last 40 days, the motto was ‘do Lent generously’. But now? Now it’s time to ‘do Life generously’.”
You can view Stewardship’s video to conclude the challenge here:
Taken from a Press Release
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.