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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Father on Dialysis’s GoFundMe Raises Enough For House For Autistic Daughters

Father on Dialysis’s GoFundMe Raises Enough For House For Autistic Daughters

A Georgia family is feeling the effects of kindness from strangers around the world. Michael Walker and his wife, Willa Strong, are living in and out of hotels. Each day since the pandemic hit, their focus has been on surviving and providing for their three daughters. Walker is on Dialysis battling kidney disease while raising their three girls who are all non-verbal with Autism.

The pandemic forced Walker to leave his retail job because he is at high risk for catching COVID. Strong had to stop working to homeschool the girls. Between Dialysis treatments, school supplies and the cost of living in the metro Atlanta area, the couple said their credit score took a big hit. After months of trying to get back on their feet, they had trouble finding an apartment or home that would accept them.

After more than a year feeling frustrated and trapped inside a one-bedroom hotel room, Walker took to social media for help. He broke down in an emotional testimony on TikTok sharing his family’s situation. Walker, who had been positive and hopeful through it all shared that he’d been losing hope and felt like a failure to his family. The video went viral receiving more than 300,000 views. Commenters encouraged him to start a GoFundMe and people from Georgia to as far away as Ireland have donated.

People are supporting the family all over the world from Georgia to Ireland. Some even encouraged Walker to launch a GoFundMe page. So far over $176,000 of the $250,000 goal has been raised with donations ranging from $1000 to as little as $5. The family plans to use the money raised to finance a loan for a rental home. Walker said he hopes they find a place that is safe and sufficient for his three daughters’ needs.

Walker said “For a long time, we felt alone. We felt like nobody cared. And the world proved us wrong.” Not only did they get some relief financially, Strong said the family also found community. She said this helped connect her with other families who have multiple children with special needs. Strong said, all this support is restoring the faith she once lost. “This was the push we needed in spirit to build my confidence,” she said. “All of this outpouring of love is so healing.”

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4 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Ontario Couple Helping Homeless Man Get Tiny Home

Ontario Couple Helping Homeless Man Get Tiny Home

A chance meeting and simple act of kindness led to a GoFundMe raising over $18,000, enough to build a tiny home for a homeless Ontario man. Kim Cormier, a mortgage agent in Kingston, was working from home on her front porch last July when she saw David McDonald struggling with the tire of his scooter in front of her house. She offered him some water and then watched his belongings while he went to get a new insert for his scooter’s tire.

After returning from the store, McDonald and Cormier chatted while he fixed his tire and she heard about his troubles, particularly homelessness. She invited him to have dinner with her and her partner Alex. They learned McDonald had been intermittently homeless since 2016. The three hit it off and found an unexpected friendship. In the follow months McDonald and the couple stayed in touch.

They began helping McDonald out with donations of clothing, shoes, and a solar-powered backpack that enabled him to keep his cell phone charged. When McDonald lost a room he was renting they offered to let him stay in her backyard. After a few weeks, her friends also chipped in with donations like clothing, a tent, an air mattress, hygiene products, and food for David.

“Spending time at home and with David, my partner, Andrew, and I decided that we should start looking for a more permanent solution for the winter. As we live in a one-bedroom home and would offer a bedroom if we had it, we needed something else. He was already using our facilities, showering in our home, cooking with me, and doing his laundry. We thought a micro home would be the best option for him to get through the winter,” said Cormier.

Cormier contacted Our Livable Solutions (OLS), a group of people that provide solutions aiming to end homelessness and they put her in contact with EnerDynamic Building. OLS and EHT (EnerDynamic Hybrid Technologies) Corp are making 80 micro homes for people without homes in the Kingston area. The micro-homes are moveable (weighing 1,200 lbs), fully fire retardant, and have full electric hookups using the same plug as Christmas lights on the outside of your home.

She started a GoFundMe and raised the funds to put a deposit on a tiny home to be built for McDonald. The home is expected to arrive in October and McDonald says Cormier has already done more than he could ever thank her for. According to Cormier, McDonald gives back in his own way. “He has very good stories, and he’s just friendly and respectful,” she said. “It’s kind of nice to have someone come in and out, and someone to talk to, and a friend to rely on. I feel very blessed to have met David, he’s part of the family now.”

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Rhode Island Partnership Renovates 30 Apartments For Homeless

Rhode Island Partnership Renovates 30 Apartments For Homeless

A partnership in Providence RI between Crossroads Rhode Island, R.I. Housing, and the Providence Housing Authority has unveiled 30 newly-renovated housing units for formerly homeless families. The 30 apartments are located in 14 different buildings in Providence. The new renovations are said to include new interiors, appliances, insulation, heating, exterior renovations, and handicap accessibility.

President and CEO of Crossroads Rhode Island Karen Santilli said “There’s nothing more heart-breaking than seeing a child have to pick up the school bus outside of a homeless shelter because of a housing shortage. Ending family homelessness in Rhode Island is entirely possible given adequate funding and the creation of more housing like this that families can actually afford.”
The COVID pandemic heightened and highlighted an already-dire affordable housing crisis in Rhode Island. The number of families experiencing homelessness in Rhode Island has grown by 12% over the last year, according to advocates. They attribute the increase to the financial hardship brought on by the pandemic, combined with an existing shortage statewide of housing that families with low incomes can afford.

The project was paid for by a combination of federal and state funding. A total of $4 million came from the federal Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund programs. Another $2.5 million came through the state bond program Building Homes RI. The Preservation Revitalization Deferred Loan Program, which provides funding to address capital repairs, covered $627,378.

The homes are intended to provide permanent, safe, affordable housing for families with very low incomes who were homeless or at risk of homelessness. In addition, case management and other services will be available as needed to help the families excel. The apartments will be affordable to households earning less than 30% of area median income, or $29,950 for a family of four. Crossroads said they secured support from the Providence Housing Authority to ensure the tenants’ rent will not exceed 30% of their income.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Houston’s Mattress Mack Opens Showrooms and Raises Donations for Hurricane Ida Relief

Houston’s Mattress Mack Opens Showrooms and Raises Donations for Hurricane Ida Relief

Houston’s legendary philanthropist, Jim McIngvale, who also goes by Mattress Mack, stepped up yet again to help during a natural disaster. McIngvale quickly transformed his three Gallery Furniture showrooms in Houston into shelters for people displaced by the hurricane. Mattress Mack said he wanted to assist those who came to Houston after Ida damaged their homes and about 50 families and individuals sought shelter at Gallery Furniture.

Gallery Furniture, Kroger and the City of Houston asked Houstonians to step up this week with donations to help its neighboring state. Mattress Mack also headed the gathering of supplies to send to New Orleans, loading up dozens of his trucks with donations of non-perishable food, bottled water, diapers, baby wipes, pet food, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, hairbrushes, shampoo, feminine care products, socks, books, games, puzzles, generators and activities for families with children.

A convoy of box trucks and 18-wheelers, escorted by Houston police then hit the road to help families displaced by the storm. McIngvale said the loaded trucks are a testament to the generosity of Houstonians, many of whom have been impacted by past hurricanes. A total of forty trucks brought supplies to hard hit areas in Louisiana. He also set up a GoFundMe, Mattress Mack’s Hurricane Ida Relief Fund that has raised over $79,000 of it’s $100,000 goal.

Mattress Mack said the relief effort is the first of others to come. “We’re gonna do this today and next week and probably going to keep doing it until the effort’s done because certainly during our hardships during Hurricane Harvey people rallied to help Houston.,” he said. “So now it’s our turn to rally and help the people of Louisiana. They’ve had their lives turned upside down, and we’re going to do all we can to help them.”

For Houston residents, Mattress Mack’s kindness is well known. He opened his showrooms to displaced families after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, Hurricane Harvey in 2017,
during Tropical Storm Imelda in 2019 and again last year after a deadly winter storm left more than three million people in Texas without power. Displaced families have been welcomed to use the beds, sofas and recliners in his showrooms. Additionally, the business owner invites them to take in a movie or basketball game on his big screen televisions and even sit down for a hot meal.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on PAWS Act Passed to Connect More Veterans With Service Animals

PAWS Act Passed to Connect More Veterans With Service Animals

A bill to connect more veterans with service dogs trained to support mental health conditions has passed the Senate. The Puppies Assisting Wounded Service Members for Veterans Therapy Act, or PAWS Act for short, will require the Department of Veterans Affairs to create a pilot program for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to train service dogs. Once signed into law, the $10 million, five-year pilot program will take effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

The PAWS ACT authorizes the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to create a pilot program to connect service dogs with veterans dealing with post-deployment mental health needs by awarding grants to nonprofit organizations that would provide veterans with puppies to become therapeutic service dogs, as well as cover the cost of training the puppies.

Additionally, the bill will amend title 38, United States Code, and authorize the Secretary of VA to provide service dogs to veterans with mental illnesses who do not have mobility impairments. The American Legion testified in support of a previous version of this bill in 2017. “Service dogs can act as an effective complementary therapy treatment component, especially for those veterans who suffer on a daily basis from the physical and psychological wounds of war,” wrote The American Legion.

The Department of Veterans Affairs will work with organizations like K9s for Warriors, a Florida nonprofit organization that provides service dogs to veterans. Rory Diamond, the CEO of K9s for Warriors said that of the more than 700 veterans who have been through the K9s for Warriors program, 72 percent had attempted suicide before being paired with their service dogs. Jeremy Van Beek, the founder of Get Your Six K9′s Service Dogs said veterans with PTSD had been left out to dry. “They would ask, our well-being isn’t enough? And now a lot of veterans didn’t come forward that probably needed this and unfortunately are not with us today because it wasn’t a well respected idea.” Van Beek said.

Michael Thorpe, a veteran and dog trainer for Elite Canines said he is living proof that service dogs can make a difference for those with PTSD. “I had tons of panic attacks, I had tons of nightmares and before I got my dog Fecto, I would just stay in all the time and it was a nightmare for me.”

Senator Kevin Cramer, who helped get the bill passed said “Many veterans with mobility impairments have had their lives changed — in some cases, saved — by service dogs. Our bill would expand this treatment by launching a pilot program to make veterans with mental health issues such as depression eligible to receive service dogs. It’s a big deal for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. I think it’ll lower the suicide rate and give these veterans their lives back.”

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Moms Write Book About The Loss of a Child To Raise Money For Charity

Moms Write Book About The Loss of a Child To Raise Money For Charity

A group of moms who have experienced the loss of a child came together to write a book about their experiences and raise money for charity. The book is called “The Last Kiss” and is a tough read but they wanted others going through this to feel like they aren’t alone. A nonprofit known as My Friend Linkin published and released the book recently.

My Friend Linkin was founded by Naudia Greenawalt in 2017. The then third-grader wrote a book about her friend Linkin, who was battling cancer. The two sold more than 500 copies of the book to raise money for Linkin’s care and other childhood cancer funds. They’ve since published several books about childhood cancer written by kids.

Each chapter of “The Last Kiss” is written by a mom who lost a child. Through each chapter, they recount their deeply personal experience. All proceeds will be donated to each mom’s charity of choice. Danielle Biddy, an Atlanta-area mom whose is one of the authors, said “I definitely want others going through this to feel like they’re not alone and to have points where they relate or feel like even when they’re in the depths of that grief initially that there is hope. If you have to go through it alone, or you feel like you are the only one feeling that way, then it can be very isolating,” she explained.

Danielle said sharing her story in print was difficult, but something she felt called to do. “I kind of vowed to be that voice that you will survive. Because it doesn’t always feel that way. You don’t feel like you will. And just to look for the good.” Danielle and her husband are donating their portion of the proceeds to the Miracle Babies Foundation to honor their daughter Carolina and by keeping her memory alive for their new baby boy Jace.

Greenawalt says the book is not only for moms who have experienced child loss, but also helpful for those who want to understand grief better and how to help those going through it. “It was important for us to include that because it was a way to bridge those that have experienced loss and those that have not experienced loss and say this is what we can all do,” she said. “Grief is messy, grief can be extremely ugly, but through that every day that you wake up you have a new day to start off fresh.” The book retails for $14 and can be purchased on along with several other books they have published.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Olympian Auctions Medal To Pay For Toddler’s Life Saving Surgery

Olympian Auctions Medal To Pay For Toddler’s Life Saving Surgery

A Polish javelin thrower, Maria Andrejczyk, who won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics auctioned off her silver medal to help pay for the surgery for an 8-month-old boy with a heart defect. The 25-year-old athlete won second place during the Olympic women’s javelin throw final in early August. Andrejczyk, a bone cancer survivor, announced on her Facebook page that the winning bid of $125,000 will pay for little Miłoszek Małysa’s operation at Stanford University Medical Center.

The Polish convenience store chain Zabka placed the top bid, paying $125,000 for the silver medal. After the auction closed, Andrejczyk said in a translated Facebook post that the medal was to her a “symbol of struggle, faith and the pursuit of dreams despite many adversities.”
She added: “I hope that for you it will be a symbol of the life we ​​fought for together.”

The toddler’s condition, according to his fund-raising page, is dire and requires an urgent operation in the United States. Małysa, whose heart defect causes his blood pressure to skyrocket and damage the arteries in his lungs and in the heart, is currently at home in southern Poland and receiving hospice care.

In an interview with a Polish sports program, Andrejczyk said winning the medal “brought her enormous happiness and she wanted to pass that happiness on” to a young child who could use some. “The true value of a medal always remains in the heart but a medal is only an object. It can be of great value to others. This silver can save lives, instead of collecting dust in a closet. That is why I decided to auction it to help a sick child.”

In a twist of equally inspiring kindness, instead of collecting its prize, Zabka announced it would let Andrejczyk keep the silver medal. “We were moved by the beautiful and extremely noble gesture of our Olympian,” the company said in a Facebook post translated from Polish. “We also decided that the silver medal from Tokyo will remain with Ms. Maria, who showed how great she is.” Żabka instead made a donation for the boy’s operation in Andrejczyk’s name.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on LaGrange Georgia Man Helps Community $1 At A Time

LaGrange Georgia Man Helps Community $1 At A Time

A Georgia man is proving $1 can go a long way in helping people.  Anthony Talley created a program where he collects just $1 from people all around his community to donate to someone in need, showing how small acts of kindness can add up.  Through his $1 Thursdays program, the LaGrange, Georgia, resident collects donations of $1 each, and then passes the money along to someone in the city who needs it.

Last year he raised roughly $8,000, which primarily went toward helping a man who lost his home in a fire. He also used some of it to give back to children, buying ice cream for every elementary school student in the Troup County cities of LaGrange, Hogansville and West Point.

Talley said “When I do stuff like this it’s an overwhelming joy.  People say, ‘well what do you plan to get out of this?’ And I tell them I plan to change the world, one life at a time, one dollar at a time.”

Talley lives in LaGrange, Georgia, a town with a high crime rate and high poverty rate of approximately 29.7%, so he knew he wanted to give back to his community.  Talley’s latest charitable effort through his $1 Thursdays program is to raise money to help a mother of 10 with the purchase of a new car after hers was lost in an accident involving her daughter and helping a family with the funeral expenses of a loved one after she passed in a car accident.

He collects the donations through a cash app with the username $AnthonyMauriceTalley and through Venmo at @Anthony-Talley-9.  He posts regular updates to his Facebook page to let everyone know how much has been raised and the current cause he is campaigning for. “Remember the goal is to change the lives of others $1.00 at a time,” he wrote in a Facebook post.  Aside from his fundraising campaign updates, his Facebook page is filled with inspirational updates revealing that just one man with a heart of gold is spreading kindness and hope throughout his community.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Surprise Adoption Request Goes Viral

Surprise Adoption Request Goes Viral

Daniel Donaldson and his family had always left the decision up to their foster daughter if she would like to become legally adopted. Donaldson, who has been a youth sports coach in Haleyville, Alabama, for many years, became a mentor and friend to 14-year-old Alecia after coaching her in 2019. After he became aware of Alecia’s foster care experience, the family said they didn’t hesitate to take her in.

A few months before Donaldson’s birthday, Alecia asked his wife Tiffany Donaldson to make it official. Together they planned a birthday surprise to make it official. On Donaldson’s birthday, Tiffany Donaldson, their three other children and Alecia, blindfolded him and lined up with a series of signs to share the good news.

They recorded the special moment where they blindfolded Daniel and asked him to help hold signs. The signs said: This man here started out as just my coach. But he stepped up when he didn’t have to. He is now not only my coach. My encourager, my protector, my provider, but now the man I call daddy. I have been part of this family for 524 days, but today for his birthday, I want to ask if we can make it official. He has no clue that I’m about to ask him to adopt me!

His family then lined up behind him and asked Daniel to take off the blind fold to read the final note. “ Let’s Make It Official. Will You Adopt Me? When Donaldson took off the blindfold and read the signs he was overcome with emotion and gave his new daughter a hug.

Daniel said when he learned of Alecia’s foster care experience it just felt natural to help her and she’s bonded with his three sons over the years. He said they have always left it up to her if she wanted to make it official so he was taken by surprise when he took off his blindfold. “They always crack on me about my age so I just thought it was a prank about me being old or something.” Alecia said of the happy moment that went viral “I will always remember that day and the hug he gave me. When he hugged me I felt so happy and safe.”

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Texas 5th Grader Leading Another Kindness Campaign

Texas 5th Grader Leading Another Kindness Campaign

Orion Jean, the then 10-year-old Fort Worth Texas boy who won a student kindness contest in 2020 where he pitched a campaign of compassion, is still spreading kindness. Last year, he used his $500 prize to buy toys that he donated to a children’s hospital in Dallas. After that, he partnered with a relief group to organize food drives and helped distribute 100,000 meals to families in Texas.

An avid reader, Jean has moved on to a new effort of collecting books to give out to children who might not have any at home. So far, he has 120,000 books but his goal is to have 500,000 books to pass out by the end of August. “I want to be able to share my love of literacy with as many people as possible,” he said. Jean said he’s participating in “the race to kindness,” because “It’s all about my moral duty to help people. You know, it’s my responsibility to be able to see these people who need help and knowing that I have the resources to help them.”

The children’s literacy non-profit, Reading Is Fundamental says 2 out of 3 children living in poverty do not have books at home and a recent survey reveals 94% of teachers’ biggest concern is their students do not have access to print books at home. Race to 500K books campaign runs until August 31st you can get involved by donating new or gently used children’s books to several drop off locations in Texas and Oklahoma. You can also make monetary donations through the website.

Last year, Orion worked quickly to record a video for the 2020 competition, held by Think Kindness, an organization that aims to inspire acts of kindness in schools and communities. In his speech, Orion focused on the idea that “kindness is easy, it can be free, and it can make someone’s day a whole lot better,” he said. Not only did Orion win the contest, but he also put his speech into action by creating the Race to Kindness, a series of events spreading kindness around the world.

Orion’s Race to Kindness previous campaigns of Race to 500 Toys for children at a local hospital and Race to 100K Meals were a success. For his efforts, the fifth grader was named one of America’s top 2021 youth volunteers by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Orion said organizing a donation drive is one way to practice kindness, but small, deliberate acts are just as important.

“It can start off with a positive thought or being kind to someone,” said Orion. He offered suggestions such as leaving a nice note for a neighbor or asking your parents how you can help them at home. “If you treat someone with a little kindness and with a little care, hopefully it will be returned back to you. And even if it doesn’t, it can make you feel better knowing that someone else feels better.”

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