The day was shining in Independence Saturday and it wasn't just the sun shining down — it was all the good things happening around town. Some folks and organizations get an early start showing their love as houses were painted, goodies handed out and donations collected throughout last week. And many others saved the fun for Saturday, as evidenced by those driving around town.

"Independence is such an amazing community full of kind people and it was incredibly obvious this past Saturday," said Independence Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Wilson. "The response to LOVE Independence Day the past four years has been phenomenal." 

Riverside Park and Ralph Mitchell Zoo was filled with volunteers who helped install park equipment, pulled weeds around playground equipment, polished statues, cleaned up Kiddie Land and spiffed up the gazebo. The Independence Police Department and RSVP Four County volunteers participated in National Drug Take Back Day by collecting unused prescriptions at City Hall. Sweet treats were handed out if you made it to Community National Bank & Trust drive through Saturday morning and Independence Community College cheerleaders held a free cheer clinic for the youth in town.

The acts of kindness continued as many employees of companies and industries around town volunteered to help others by improving homes of those in need. Free coffee vouchers were handed out, discounts were all over the place and Riverside Park offered free carousel rides from 1 to 5 p.m. Many entities were thinking of the hard working volunteers assisting Community Mission for Improved Housing by passing out snacks and drinks to them while others visited nursing home residents, presenting them with flowers and other goodies.

"I can't believe how many people you can see all throughout town helping others and volunteering to make things nice," said out-of-town visitor, Sandy Fuller, of Kansas City, Mo. "I came to visit a friend but got wrapped up in the fun of LOVE Independence Day. I just had to get some items to donate to the little food pantries one group was working on."

Wilson explained the LOVE Independence Day concept has taken off since its 2016 debut. "This event began as an intentional opportunity to be kind to one another and demonstrate community pride," she said. "Annual kindness acts include everything from paying it forward in a restaurant drive-through to beautification of the town's parks to rehabbing homes for families in need."

She added, the possibilities are endless and the acts of kindness do not have to be expensive, elaborate or time consuming to make an impact. "Acts of kindness have a ripple effect which immediately elevates the morale of the entire community," she concluded.