Pope's visit inspires pledges of kindness in U.S.
CUMMING, Ga. -- Open arms await the Pope in the United States and 80,000 have vowed to follow in his footsteps, with acts of kindness. It's called the "Walk With Francis Pledge."
Christine Heidt is so moved by Pope Francis she's honoring his arrival with a pledge to donate a kidney.
"I felt so good, I knew it had to be the right thing to do," Heidt told CBS News of the moment she decided to do it.
When asked whether she sees it as a lesson for her children, Heidt said, "Absolutely. Because there's a million reasons not to do it. And the one reason to do it is to help someone else."
The Walk with Francis pledge campaign was the idea of Father John Enzler, President of Catholic Charities.
Enzler says it can be a major sacrifice, but it doesn't have to be.
"So for some people," he said, "It might be, I'm going to help out by raking the leaves of my neighbor twice during the fall. I call this a 'tow in the water' idea: put your toe in the water with service. You might get up to your knees pretty quickly."
At St. Matthias Catholic School in Lanham, Maryland, the students decided to launch a food drive. Eleven year old Jaylene Sotelo and 9 year old Igancio Joy say they were inspired by Francis.
"Because of all the good deeds he's done," Jaylene told CBS News.
Ignacio said he likes Pope Francis "because he loves the poor."
Father Enzler's goal is to garner 100,000 pledges by the time the Pope arrives -- and he just might make it.
As for Christine Heidt, her plan was to give her kidney to anyone who needed it. But it turns out -- through what she calls divine intervention -- that she's a match with someone in her own parish who desperately needs a kidney.
"In life there are times you are going to give and times you're going to receive, and those times that you risk the greatest are when your life will change the most," Heidt said.
There's no greater gift to oneself, she added, than giving hope to someone else.
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