In an interview with People magazine published on Wednesday, the Gaines opened up about their worries stemming from mass shootings, climate change and more.
“All these terrible things that have happened just really shocked my system,” Chip, 45, said. “I started talking to Jo like, ‘What can we do?’ I don’t want to leave a world like this to my children.”
“We started wrestling with the thought of simply paying for a stranger’s meal or calling an old friend — just a little token,” Chip said. “It evolved from there.”
Then the idea of Kindness Flyers was born.
The flyers encourage people to take one of the tear-away tabs off the flyer and fulfill the act of kindness printed on it. Acts include mowing a neighbor’s lawn or volunteering at a local charity.
Joanna Gaines and Chip Gaines attended the TIME 100 Gala 2019 at Lincoln Center in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for TIME)
“It got really personal for me,” Chip said. “Obviously I want to do a whole lot more than print out flyers and staple them around people’s neighborhoods, but if this is where we can start, I’m honored to give it a try.”
“We were hoping that it would resonate with people,” said Joanna, 41. “Little things that wouldn’t feel like a stretch and are good for your soul.”
There is also a version of the flyers for kids, which Joanna has found particularly successful, she said. The kids’ flyers contain tasks such as picking flowers and giving them to a parent.
“For me, the schools are where it starts,” Joanna sad. “That’s the generation we are raising up. Every day we try to teach our own kids to be kind to themselves, to each other, to neighbors and especially to those who look like they are alone.”
The idea extends into their own home life, as well, the couple said.
“We try to be conscious of what we hear [our kids] say to each other and how they say it,” Joanna said. “I know the kind words that were spoken to me as a kid that were really impactful — but also the negative words that I had to work through up until my 20s and 30s.”
“We try to teach our kids that their words really matter,” she added.