GREENSBURG, Ind.— Being stuck at home over the last several months has been stressful at times for so many of us.
But no one knows that feeling quite like the parents who have been balancing working from home— or the stress of not working— while homeschooling their kids via E-learning. It’s a lot to manage and sometimes you just need a pick-me-up.
Now, thanks to a Facebook group that had taken the state by storm, women are “cheers-ing” one another through their favorite vino.
It all started with one Greensburg mom’s random act of kindness, which has since inspired over 46,000 Hoosier women to do the same.
Barely 3 weeks ago, Jaelyn Jett decided to spread some positivity by spontaneously dropping off gift bags with wine and snacks on a few strangers’ doorsteps around Greensburg.
However, at the last house, something almost went awry when the homeowner came out to confront her.
“She yelled at me and said, ‘Where’d you come from!’ And I said ‘It’s just a random act of kindness,” Jett recalled. “And she started crying, saying she’s been having a rough couple of weeks and all the scary stuff in the world has affected her and then she said, ‘How can I pay it forward?”
That question inspired her to create “Wined by Friends Indiana” on Facebook, where over 40,000 Hoosier women are connecting for a unique fusion of “Ding-Dong Ditch” meets “Secret Santa” happening on porches all over the state.
The way it works is once you meet the criteria (which includes being 21+ and an Indiana resident) and are approved to join by one of the administrators, you post an “About Me” sharing a bit about yourself, including interests, what kind of wine and treats you like and where you’re located.
“Once you want to start ‘wining’ someone, you’ll search in the group your zip code, town or area [to find] someone close to you,” said Jett.
Then, simply reach out on the group or via private message. Once they share their drop-off address, you mission begins: to drop off a surprise bottle of wine or gift basket on their doorstep… undetected.
From the very beginning, Jett says group members have been eager to spread kindness.
“The first day I made the group, I had 2 baskets on my porch… I’m like, ‘Wow, that was quick!” she recalled.
After getting “wined”— as they call it— many members post pictures of their gifts and share their gratitude.
As a full-time working mother of two, Jett understands how much it means for other women to experience these random acts of kindness. But she says the group’s immense popularity isn’t rooted solely in the material gifts.
“People are loving to give… They’re really not caring so much about receiving right now. They just want to give,” she said. “They want to make a difference.”
Many members are going all-out, by wining multiple people per outing, creating elaborate baskets with goodies like bath bombs, face masks, snacks, flowers, cards and more.
“There’s one lady who actually put lights all around her basket and it glowed,” noted group member, Ciera Johnson.
Other members are documenting their experience by sharing videos of their drop-offs on Facebook and Tik-Tok.
Some are even including their whole families in the drop-offs, like Johnson, who’s 3-year-old son couldn’t wait to help.
“He said, ‘I want to do it! I want to do it! I want to give somebody juice!’ And I was like “Uhh, okay!” she said with a laugh.
Four Things You Need to Know About the “Wined by Friends Indiana” Facebook group:
- Over the last couple months, wine groups have popped up all over the nation, including right here in the Hoosier state. Jaelyn Jett started the “Wined by Friends Indiana” Facebook group after an encounter one day while she was out doing random acts of kindness by leaving gift bags on people’s doorsteps. At the last doorstep, the homeowner came out and confronted her when they were unsure of what she was doing. When she told them she was doing random acts of kindness, the woman broke down in tears and told Jett she had been struggling. Appreciative of the kind gift, she asked how she could pay it forward. “That question made me want to start the group,” Jett recalled.
- Within barely 3 weeks since starting the group, it’s accumulated over 45,000 members so Jett certainly has her hands full. “If I’m not working, I’m doing the group, and vice versa,” said the mother of 2, who works full time. Fortunately, she’s enlisted the help of several other administrators, who help sift through some of the 10,000 membership requests. To become a member, you must be a resident of Indiana, be 21+ (and yes, they will be asked for proof if needed), and meeting all membership criteria before being approved to join. *Note: Always use caution on groups where you share your location. Often, you can find people you already know on these groups but— if not— you can share your location or a drop-off address via private message rather than sharing that info publicly on the group page.*
- The wine group has inspired other off-shoot groups that are also focused on giving. For example, Ciera Johnson (a member of the wine group) actually went on to start her own group just for Hoosier kids, called “Snack Attack for Kids.” In this group, which is built on the same sort of premise, parents are teaching their kids the power of giving by surprising other children with Snack Packs. You’ll learn even more about “Snack Attack for Kids” on next week’s trip In Your Neighborhood.
- Speaking of off-shoot groups, fear not fellas, you are not being left out! There’s another Facebook group just for Hoosier men called “Beer for Beards” so there is really something for everyone!
To join the “Wined By Friends Indiana” group, you can send a request on the Facebook page or contact an administrator like Jett for an invitation or more info about the group.