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1 day ago · by · Comments Off on 10 Year Old Rhode Island Boy Cleans Off Cars For Frontline Workers During Winter Storm

10 Year Old Rhode Island Boy Cleans Off Cars For Frontline Workers During Winter Storm

As temperatures dipped and snow fell, a 10-year-old boy decided to thank the front-line heroes battling the relentless coronavirus pandemic by clearing snow off their cars outside a Rhode Island hospital. He joined his mother’s friend Abbey Meeker in the bitter cold and cleaned off dozens of vehicles across the hospital’s parking lot as the massive winter storm slammed their state.


Christian Stone said “I was thinking they’ve been helping us a lot through this whole pandemic, and I figured why don’t we help them, you know? All day, every day the nurses here, they deal with the pandemic like COVID and they want to get home from work, so we thought we would make it a tiny bit easier for them by cleaning off their cars for them,” he said.


Meeker said it was Christian who came up with the idea after the last winter storm. “Christian wanted to do something good for nurses about a month ago when it stormed and he said next time it snowed, he wanted to clean cars off for nurses because of COVID. I told him I would come with him.” Meeker said she’s known Christian’s mom since grade school and thinks of him as a little brother. “Christian is wise beyond his years,” she said. “He’s my little partner in crime.”

Meeker said he always likes to help people and had been shoveling neighbors’ driveways for free before they went to the hospital. They headed to the Westerly Hospital at around shift change, when doctors, nurses and other staff members were walking to the parking lot. “We kind of made it a game.” When drivers used their remotes to start or unlock their cars, the duo would rush over to the car and clean it off as quickly as possible.


Christian said the nurses and other workers who came out to find the surprise and free car-cleaning service were really grateful. “It’s been cold but extremely fun seeing how happy they get. Some of them say, ‘Thank you so much,’ and I’m just really happy to see them happy. I feel like I actually helped someone out and that’s a really good feeling, when you know someone has been helped out. We want them to be able go home and see their family after a long day of work.”


Meeker said they ended up cleaning off about 80 cars in four different employee parking lots. Some people offered to pay, but they didn’t want the money. Meeker said Christian did get $20 because two insistent nurses told him they’d be mad if he didn’t accept it. Meeker admitted she really hates the snow and that they had to change clothes twice because they would get soaking wet in the freezing cold but she sucked it up because she knew how much it meant to Christian.

While the frontline workers at Westerly Hospital were blessed with Christian’s kind heart during this past storm, it’s clear Christian is blessed with someone like Meeker who encourages his kind heart and helps him see that even at the tender age of 10, he can make a difference in someone else’s day.

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1 week ago · by · Comments Off on Stephen King’s Donation Allows Elementary Students to Publish Their Books

Stephen King’s Donation Allows Elementary Students to Publish Their Books

Acclaimed author Stephen King is giving back to his home state. King is donating $6,500 to Farwell Elementary School, located in Lewiston, Maine, so that a group of students can publish their own books. King’s donation to the students in its Author Studies Program mean the students can publish the two books they’ve written.


As a group, the students — some of whom have graduated and are now in middle school — have been working on the books over the course of four years – working on the character development, plot, and overall storyline with the help of another Maine author, Gary Savage. The end result of their hard work is two books — an original and a sequel — and a 290-page manuscript. The books are ready for publication and with the help of King’s donation, they’ll be sent to a publishing company and available for purchase.


The books are about a boy’s adventures during the pandemic. Although the Author Study program has been in existence for several years, its focus shifted when the COVID-19 pandemic first reached Maine in March 2020. Savage and Martin moved the program online and tasked the students with taking Savage’s existing novel Fletcher McKenzie and the Passage to Whole and reworking it into an entirely new tale that incorporates their personal experiences in the coronavirus pandemic.

Principal Amanda Winslow said she’s proud of the students and what they’ve accomplished and praised the dedication of librarian Kathy Martin and author Gary Savage — who advised the students — towards making this happen. “I think it’s hard for kids to really understand the lesson of perseverance and patience, but they’ve been working on this book … and they’re definitely starting to reap the rewards of their hard work,” she said.
“Really incorporating their own experiences into the book, really that extra kind of feeling of this is a real book that you can really get your hands around, and once you start to read it you can’t put it down,” said Savage.

The books are expected to be printed and published in April of this year with the students in the program credited as contributing authors. “This student inspired book, ‘Fletcher McKenzie and the Passage to Whole,’ is a journey through Maine history and the wildly fantastic and healthy world of Whole. The major edits, written by elementary students, give the readers exactly what they crave at a time of Covid-19 fatigue and exhaustion — excitement, suspense, vividly funny characters, healthy eating, and subtle nutrition lessons, history lessons, respect for Native American history, and traditions, confusing and strange ventures, magical journeys, deadly danger, and closure.”


King’s donation is helping dozens of aspiring writers get one step closer to realizing their dreams. The $6,500 donation came through the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, a private nonprofit King and his wife launched in 1986 to help give back to local Maine communities. The foundation provides grants for projects in Maine that address the underlying causes and consequences of social and environmental problems. Giving priorities include health and human services, literacy, arts, and projects that will affect the most members of a community.

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1 week ago · by · Comments Off on Indiana Community Gifts Pizza Delivery Man A Car

Indiana Community Gifts Pizza Delivery Man A Car

An Indiana community is giving back to the man who has delivered pizzas with a smile for 31 years.   Robert Peters, known as Mr. Smiley around the town of Tipton, was gifted a new car after one customer decided to raise donations.  Tanner Langley, 28, a customer of the Tipton Pizza Hut said he and his family have been getting deliveries from Robert Peters since he was a child.

When Peters recently told him he was having trouble with his 28-year-old Oldsmobile, Langley decided it was time to thank Peters for the kindness he has shown the town over the years.  He started a GoFundMe campaign in hopes to buy him a new car. In just 2 days, with donations from the community, he surpassed the $12,000 goal, reaching over $18,000. 

“This community has a countless number of amazing citizens, but there are few people in this world that fill a room with smiles and happiness more than Robert Peters,” Langley wrote on the campaign’s website. “Robert has been delivering pizzas in the same car for a plethora of years, and I think it is about time that he gets an upgrade to his current vehicle!”

On Jan 11, Langley surprised Peters with a 2017 Chevy Malibu. The car’s registration, insurance and taxes were also covered and Peters was given a $500 gas card, plus a $2,500 thank-you tip from the neighborhood.  “He makes an impact on everybody and he’s a very kindhearted individual. Every time you see him, he has a smile on his face. He has never not been joyful”  Langley said in regards to the overwhelming support for Peters. 

Peters was overcome with gratitude for the generosity Langley and the community showed him.  He told news outlets it was heartwarming to know Langley and the community would go out of their way for him.  ” “I couldn’t believe it, it’s almost like it’s surreal.  I just hope that all those who made this happen will be blessed as much as they have blessed me,” Peters said. “This has really been an awesome experience that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. To me, me this is luxury. This is the first car I’ve had made in the 21st century.”

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2 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on GameStop Stock Surge Sparks Generosity Among WallStreetBets Group

GameStop Stock Surge Sparks Generosity Among WallStreetBets Group

The GameStop saga, which was initiated by a contingent of traders from Reddit’s r/WallStreetBets forum, has invited overwhelming attention — and scrutiny — to the world of day trading.  The ‘crowd-vesting’ strategy paid off for the Reddit users who had banded together to buy GameStop stock.  GameStop’s stock price went through the roof—from $43 to $325 in one week. 

Other struggling companies such as American Airlines Group Inc. and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. also saw stock prices rise and found themselves on the receiving end of liquidity to pay creditors.   The stock market frenzy has given these companies a bail out that is bringing them back from the edge of bankruptcy.

Many Reddit investors also found themselves with a sizable profit, which inspired an idea of paying it forward.  Hunter Kahn, a 20-year-old Cornell University mechanical engineering student raked in close to $30,000 in GameStop profits. While the bulk of that windfall will be spent financing his education, Kahn also used part of his newfound stash o’ cash to purchase and donate Nintendo Switch games and consoles valued at $2,000 to a local children’s hospital.

“As a beneficiary of the recent events on Wall Street I think it is important that myself and others pay forward our good fortune.  I am proud to announce my humble donation of 6 Nintendo Switches and games to go with them to the Children’s Minnesota Hospital.”

He has now joined the ranks of another anonymous investor who recently donated ten Switches to a children’s hospital in Texas and others who have used their newly acquired funds to help cover people’s medical debts.

Another investor that profited from the trending buy in of Gamestop stock was maverick billionaire venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, who was an early executive at Facebook. His initial $115,000 purchase of GameStop shares turned into a $500,000 payout.  Palihapitiya announced that he bought 50 call options in GameStop. GameStop’s stock has risen a massive 750% in 2021 as online retail investing group WallStreetBets drove the stock up. 

He also announced he will donate his entire payout to the Barstool Fund, a new COVID-19 charity that gives cash payments to small businesses who are about to go out of business.  “I want to announce that I’m taking all the profits that I made plus my original position—so I’m gonna take $500,000—and I’m gonna donate to the Barstool Fund for small businesses,” Palihapitiya said.  The Barstool Fund, founded by Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, raises money to support struggling small businesses during the pandemic and “save as many jobs as possible,” according to the Fund’s website. So far, it has raised nearly $33 million from 205,525 supporters to fund 187 businesses. Recipients include bowling alleys, salons, with the overwhelming majority being restaurants and bars.

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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on NYC Restauranteur’s Initiative Keeping Business’s Open by Feeding Frontline Workers

NYC Restauranteur’s Initiative Keeping Business’s Open by Feeding Frontline Workers

When the pandemic ground life to a halt in New York City, restaurateur Luca Di Pietro had to close four of his five restaurants on March 15. After a friend offered to pay for meals offered to pay for meals prepared by Di Pietro’s restaurant to be delivered to a New York City hospital. He immediately wanted to do the same for the hospital that treated his son years earlier.


After that first delivery Di Pietro thought, “if there is such a need from the emergency room workers, maybe this could help save my restaurant while we do something good for the emergency room workers,” he said. Di Pietro reached out to other hospitals in New York City to continue deliveries and shared his plans with friends. From that point forward, orders for hospital workers began to flood in to his restaurant.


To organize the ordering process and manage donations, Di Pietro created Feed the Frontlines NYC, a for-profit initiative, to raise funds for his restaurant, Tarallucci e Vino, as well as other local restaurants and to provide hospital workers in the country’s hardest hit city with free and delicious food. Di Pietro and his team have become known as the “lasagna guys” among New York City’s frontline workers. Di Pietro and his team have helped deliver more than 157,000 meals to healthcare workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Supported by generous donations, Feed the Frontlines NYC works with local restaurants to prepare and deliver meals to fellow New Yorkers and has enabled many restaurants to rehire employees who had been laid off.


While most of his restaurants remain closed, he was able to rehire 135 of his own workers. Di Pietro partnered with other restaurants in New York City and lower Westchester County, New York-enabling them to pay their bills and rehire employees as well. In partnership with Di Pietro, the restaurants receive a portion of the donations to make and deliver meals to local hospitals. Each restaurant is given a different amount of money depending on how many meals it can make and deliver each week, Di Pietro says. The restaurant owners coordinate their deliveries with local hospitals and send meals themselves.
Feed the Frontlines has been feeding local hospital workers fighting the pandemic while helping to keep participating restaurants running and their workers employed.“We have … restaurants helping us and delivering food so they can keep their lights on,” Di Pietro says. “It’s morphed into something that I didn’t expect, but I’m very happy to be able to put together supply and demand.”


So far the Feed the Frontlines NYC initiative has raised over $1.26 million to pay for meals, and its success has even inspired others to create their own Feed the Frontlines initiatives in other cities. One of Pietro’s family friends started Feed the Frontlines Marin, that services an enclave in the San Francisco Bay Area. The operations team at Divieto Ristorante started Feed the Frontlines Miami after learning of Di Pietro’s initiative. Shawn Wilson, co-owner of Shed’s BBQ and Viga Eatery, started Feed the Frontlines Boston.
One man’s idea had inspired and enabled others to keep their businesses open while helping show appreciation for frontline workers. The pandemic has greatly changed not only Di Pietro’s business but the whole restaurant industry, perhaps permanently. Di Pietro said “This is keeping the lights on for us and others. Otherwise, there would be no business. And with rent due and salaries, for all the personnel basically living paycheck to paycheck, they’re so happy to come in and work on this because everyone is impacted, and they’re happy to be receiving a full salary. It’s been very humbling and it’s been good.”

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4 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on UFC Fighter’s Nonprofit Giving Back To Community

UFC Fighter’s Nonprofit Giving Back To Community

The Good Fight Group, a nonprofit started by UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier and his wife Jolie has provided thousands of meals to food banks, provided school supplies, helped build a playground and even supplied a solar powered water well to create a more self-sustainable living environment for the Batwa Pygmy Tribe. The nonprofit raises funds by selling sought after memorabilia they call “Fight Kits” to fans of the sport.


Former Interim UFC Lightweight Dustin Poirier and his wife Jolie began their nonprofit in 2018 and started auctioning off the shorts, jackets, and wraps that Poirier used in dozens of fights. The Good Fight is dedicated to helping underserved communities in their local Acadiana region.


The foundation has raised thousands of dollars since 2018 to impact others, including the young family of fallen LPD officer Michael Middlebrook, and disabled children who didn’t have a playground. The first auctioned kit was from the Poirier vs Eddie Alvarez fight, with proceeds providing 3,000 meals for their local Second Harvest Food Bank. In August 2019, a specially-built playground for children with special needs was built after Jolie heard the story of a young wheelchair bound boy dying wish.


Selling fight kits also provided over 100 women experiencing homelessness with care packages, and 500 children with school supplies & backpacks at Acadian Middle School. Donations to The Good Fight also supported former UFC fighter Justin Wren who now champions long-suffering Pygmy tribes in Africa—providing new water wells, solar power, and 43 acres of purchased land for the Uganda Batwa tribe. Other fighters are donating parts of their kits for auction, including the winner of the UFC main event fight, Michael Chiesa, from Spokane, Washington.


The Good Fight’s first goal of 2021 is to fully fund transportation and providing more tutors for all 6 locations of The Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana. Currently, the kids have transportation from school to the clubs, but do not have a ride home in the evening—which cuts attendance dramatically. The academic gap for students is huge right now and the Boys & Girls Clubs are trying to give the kids what they need to stay on track to progress to the next grade level. “Project Learn” has been identified as one of BGCA’s targeted programs which provideds homework help, individual or small-group tutoring, regular implementation of high yield activities and school-club-family partnerships. So far The Good Fight has raised over $17,000 of their $105,000 goal.

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4 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on IKEA Group Buys 11,000 Acres of Forest in Georgia to Keep It From Being Developed

IKEA Group Buys 11,000 Acres of Forest in Georgia to Keep It From Being Developed

IKEA Group has always been environmentally conscious and their latest move of purchasing of 11,000 acres of forest in Georgia that looked like it would be lost to development, shows their continued commitment. The purchase was made to ensure it remains intact and working to suck up CO2 from the atmosphere, the forest was bought by IKEA as part of a strategy to reduce more carbon than it creates through its value chain.


The working forest in the Altamaha Basin is now owned by the IKEA subsidiary, Ingka Group, which has worked with The Conservation Fund, a non-profit that has protected over 8-million acres of forests in the U.S. from fragmentation and development. A working forest is one in which lumber is harvested and regrown—and it’s these forests which often suffer from being broken up into smaller segments and developed, something the Conservation Fund and Inka are ensuring will not happen by creating permanent easements that legally prevent the forest from ever being split up into smaller pieces.


Ingka Group currently owns 616,000 acres of such forests in the U.S. and Europe, while privately choosing to ensure the highest international standards for good forest management. A spokesperson added that “no significant amount” of wood from the forests is currently used in Ikea products.


“Well-managed forests provide essential benefits, including clean water and important wildlife habitat, as well as mitigating climate change. The transfer of these lands to Ingka Investments completes our Working Forest Fund process, through which we identify and buy important, at-risk private forests; develop sustainable harvest and restoration plans; and secure permanent conservation protections to block fragmentation and development,” said Larry Selzer, President and CEO of The Conservation Fund.


Forest stewardship is just one way that the world’s largest furniture outlet is trying to become a carbon-neutral company. They recently announced they would begin buying used IKEA furniture from customers for resale, while electric vans and less carbon-emitting materials are used in both packaging and product. They are also committed to the goal to only use renewable and recycled materials in their products by 2030 and reducing the total IKEA climate footprint by an average of 70% per product, by 2030.


IKEA’s Sustainability Strategy outlines their belief that climate change is no longer a distant threat, but a visible reality and one of the biggest challenges that humanity faces. The IKEA People & Planet Positive strategy describes the sustainability agenda and ambition for everyone in the IKEA franchise system. They say the purpose of the strategy is to inspire, activate and lead others in decision-making and goal setting so that together we can achieve the positive changes we want to see in the world.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Indiana Program Enables Truckers to Donate Rejected Food Shipments to Food Pantries

Indiana Program Enables Truckers to Donate Rejected Food Shipments to Food Pantries

A program in Indiana is allowing truck drivers to donate rejected food deliveries to charity. Truck drivers will often arrive at a grocery store to drop off several pallets of ordered food only to have the products rejected by the supermarkets because there was either an error in the ordering process; the food was cosmetically damaged in transit; there were equipment failures en-route that caused delay; or a variety of other reasons. This often results in tons of edible food being dumped into a landfill.


Instead of letting thousands of pounds of food continue to go to waste, the Indy Hunger Network charity created their Food Drop program which connects truck drivers with nearby food banks that can put the products to good use. In addition to helping to feed the hungry during a time that food banks across the US are reporting record numbers, the program also benefits the drivers by saving them from having to pay expensive landfill fees, providing them with a tax deduction for donated goods, and helping them to offload the cargo.


The program was initially launched in 2017 to operate solely out of Indianapolis and charity workers say that they documented over 90,000 pounds of food donated within the first six months. The program’s success led Indy Food Network to expand the initiative to several more food banks across Indiana. If the Food Drop project continues to prove itself effective, then the charity hopes to expand the program to other states as well.


Drivers are only asked to donate groceries that are still edible, non-alcoholic, and individually packaged with unbroken seals. The Indy Hunger Network works with community centers, food pantries, churches, and schools in the area with the goal of connecting drivers to fill the food shortage needs. They continue to look for new opportunities to improve the food assistance system.


They also run a grant program to award small grants to food pantries in Marion County for projects that would increase capacity, improve operations, and implement best practices. Each year they award grants to over 20 partners involved in the food assistance system.


The National Guard had been assisting Indiana’s emergency food bank system but their temporary deployment will be ending, leaving an urgent need for volunteers. People can visit https://www.in.gov/fssa/dfr/operation-food/ to sign up or go to https://www.indyhunger.org/ to find a list of locations in need of volunteers.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Amazon Launches $2 Billion Housing Equity Fund

Amazon Launches $2 Billion Housing Equity Fund

Global e-commerce giant Amazon has unveiled a new Housing Equity Fund, investing more than $2 billion to preserve and create over 20,000 affordable housing units in three communities where the company has thousands of employees—Washington State’s Puget Sound; Arlington, Virginia; and Nashville, Tennessee.  Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund will help preserve existing housing and help create housing developments through below-market loans and grants to housing partners, public agencies, and minority-led organizations.

Amazon’s first investments include $381.9 million in below-market loans and grants to the Washington Housing Conservancy to preserve and create up to 1,300 affordable homes on the Crystal House property in Arlington and $185.5 million in below-market loans and grants to King County Housing Authority to preserve up to 1,000 affordable homes in the state of Washington, with additional investments to come in all three regions.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said that his company has been helping people in need, including building a Mary’s Place family shelter within the newest Amazon office building last year to support over 200 women and children experiencing homelessness in Puget Sound. “This new $2 billion Housing Equity Fund will create or preserve 20,000 affordable homes and help local families achieve long-term stability while building strong, inclusive communities.”  The Fund seeks to ensure that moderate- to low-income families can afford housing in resource-rich communities with easy access to neighborhood services, amenities, and jobs. 

Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund will provide an additional $125 million in cash grants to businesses, nonprofits, and minority-led organizations.  Amazon is providing below-market capital in the form of loans, lines of credit, and grants to households making between 30% – 80% of the area’s median income.  The fund will also give grants to government partners including transit agencies and school districts, which typically are not involved in affordable housing issues, Amazon said.

Amazon’s first Housing Equity Fund commitment in Virginia includes a $339.9 million below-market loan and grants worth $42 million to the Washington Housing Conservancy (WHC)—a nonprofit organization that preserves homes so they are affordable for moderate- to low-income residents. 

Home prices in the US have climbed more than 6% annually since 2012 despite low wage growth for most workers. Another obstacle is affordable apartment buildings in American cities affordable for teachers, healthcare providers, transit workers, and others with modest incomes are increasingly being redeveloped into luxury apartments, causing displacement and reducing housing options for working families.  Before the coronavirus pandemic, rental prices had also risen steadily, causing a shortage of affordable units.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Atlanta Homeless Man Hailed Hero For Saving Shelter Animals From Fire

Atlanta Homeless Man Hailed Hero For Saving Shelter Animals From Fire

Heroes come in all walks of life and are often created just by being in the right place at the right time. That is the case for Keith Walker, a homeless man in Atlanta who made the split second decision on Dec. 18, 2020 to rush into W-Underdogs Shelter and rescue 16 dogs and cats trapped inside. WWhen Walker saw the flames, he urged another homeless man named Mike to call 911. Then he rushed inside and started pulling out animals as fast as he could.


Walker, 53, has been homeless since he was 13 years old and the nonprofit frequently shelters his dog. One of the nonprofit’s signature programs, The Rescue Team, teaches at-risk kids about compassion and responsibility through rescuing and rehabilitating homeless dogs and cats. Walker has done odd jobs for W-Underdogs for several years and was heading there to walk his pit bull, Bravo.

It’s fortunate the two homeless men arrived at the scene when they did because the organization’s founder happened to be on an outreach mission at the time. Celebrity dog trainer Victoria Stilwell, founder of the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior and member of the advisory board of W-Underdogs said he saved every single one, and they’re all perfectly fine.

“It could have been really bad,” she said. “If they hadn’t done that, the fire could have spread and we would have lost all our animals. The act that he did was incredibly brave and he is a true hero. He is the guardian angel that was watching over W-Underdogs.” Officials deemed the blaze an electrical fire and the shelter was left uninhabitable but all of the animals were taken to a new facility.

Walker told news outlets that he was “nervous” to run into the burning building but that he knew he had to save the trapped animals. “I was really scared to go in there with all that smoke. But God put me there to save those animals,” he said. “If you love a dog, you can love anyone in the world. My dog is my best friend, and I wouldn’t be here without him, so I knew I had to save all those other dogs.”


Walker is now being hailed a hero and a GoFundMe set up to help him with a $5,000 goal has raised almost $85,000. “We received a flood of requests on how people can help Mr. Keith Walker, the hero who saved our animals from the fire. Rest assured we have Mr. Walker’s best interests at heart, and are exploring how to best manage donations that have come in on his behalf,” the facility said on their Facebook page.

In addition to teaching at-risk youth to rescue, care for and train pets for forever homes, W-Underdogs fosters empathy and leadership in young people with programs like planting trees, building dog houses and distributing pet food for those in need. Youth also help with their program to trap, neuter and return of community cats. “We’re not an animal rescue and we are not just a youth program; we’re actually a youth program that empowers you through animal rescue and that’s where the connection lies,” Stilwell explained.

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