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Carlsbad Realtor and “Kindness Meter” founder Carlton Lund, far right, and the staff of the Deli Llama christen the newest meter on Tuesday in the Hillcrest neighborhood in San Diego. Photo by Steve Puterski
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Kindness meter finds home in Hillcrest

SAN DIEGO — “Kindness matters” is more than a motto for Carlton Lund.

It is a way of life and the Carlsbad realtor’s latest Kindness Meter was officially christened in the Hillcrest neighborhood on Tuesday at the Deli Llama.

The meters are gaining in popularity as this marks the ninth, plus “traveling” ones, around the county.

“Eventually, I think you can have them at all different places,” Lund said. “With this color logo, it’s about complete solidarity. It’s non-denominational.”

The Hillcrest meterwill support LGBT organizations. The meter installation Tuesday fell on the one-month anniversary of the tragic Orlando massacre, where 49 people were killed during a shooting rampage at a gay nightclub.

The first goal of the new meter is to raise at least $1,000, which will be donated to a memorial in San Diego for the Orlando victims. Secondly, Lund added, is to generate funds for local causes such as the San Diego LGBT Community Center.

Lund, meanwhile, teamed with oceanic artist Wyland on the newest addition to the meter stockpile. Lund said he and Wyland both have close relationships with members of the gay community, and spreading kindness doesn’t preclude anyone from any community.

“What caused me to do it was the sheer violence (of the Orlando attack),” Lund said on reaching out to the LGBT community. “There is no small act of kindness.”

After a $250 deposit by Lund, several people at the ceremony swiped their  credit cards to make donations or dropped in coins.

One such kindness donor was Kai Donaghy, 6, and his mother, Bonnie. Bonnie read about the news on the deli’s Facebook page and said it was a chance for her family to give back.

Kai dropped in $10 in quarters followed by a credit card donation from Bonnie.

After the two made their contributions, others followed, giving the newest meter a solid opening.

“It was something to do for the families of the Orlando attacks,” Bonnie said.

Funds raised at the meter, which features drawings of Darlene the Dolphin, are much welcomed, said Amber Cyphers Stephens, chief communications officer of the San Diego LGBT Community Center.

Each quarter the funds will be deposited from an account at California Bank & Trust to the LGBT organizations, Lund said.

As for Stephens, she said the Carlsbad philanthropist called the center on Monday “out of the blue.” Lund detailed his plans and asked if the center wanted to partner.

Stephens said it was a welcomed call, one the center does not receive too often.

“He told me about his reaction to Orlando, how horrifying it was and wanted to work with the center,” she said. “We, of course, were delighted. It’s always nice to have someone approach you, specifically, someone who’s an ally.”

The San Diego center, which is the nation’s second oldest, provides programs, resources, advocacy, youth outreach, financial stability, homelessness and support to people of all sexual orientations. Last year, the center provided more than 61,000 direct service visits in San Diego.

“Community centers always need additional funding.” Stephens said. “With the things that have been happening lately, it’s nice when someone reaches out to you. It’s good to know there is overall support outside the (LGBT) community. I think it’s real important to build those bridges.”

As for Lund, his continued drive to spread kindness isn’t just relegated to North County or San Diego. He said this is the first step of taking “Kindness Meters” to the next level, which for him, is a global reach.

Locally, the “Kindness Meters” have nearly totaled $10,000 in donations.

“I will ring a bell when we reach $10,000,” Lund said.