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3 weeks 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 myfriendlinkin.org along with several other books they have published.

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1 month 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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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Retail Giants Offering Debt Free Degrees to Employees

Retail Giants Offering Debt Free Degrees to Employees

Starting this fall, Target has made it easier for U.S.-based team members to get their degrees with a new debt-free education assistance benefit. More than 340,000 full-time and part-time employees at stores, distribution centers, and headquarters locations will have access to free undergraduate and associates degrees, certificates, bootcamp programs, textbooks, and fees with no out-of-pocket costs required.


Target’s partnership with Guild Education will provide easy access to more than 250 business-aligned programs from over 40 schools, colleges, and universities. The benefit means Target will provide direct payments to their employees academic institution of up to $5,250 for non-master’s degrees. It will also fund advanced degrees within the network of schools, paying up to $10,000 annually for master’s programs.


Target is investing $200 million into the program over the next four years to help eliminate student debt for its employees. The program is part of the company’s sustainability strategy commitment- Target Forward. They hope to promote access to education to build a team that equitably reflects the communities they serve.


Team members will have a range of options, including courses for high school completion, college prep, and English language learning as well as select certificates, certifications, bootcamps, associate, and undergraduate degrees. A few schools to choose from are University of Arizona, Oregon State University, Morehouse College and Paul Quinn College.
Another retail giant investing in their employees, Walmart will be investing nearly $1 billion over the next five years in career-driven training and development for its workers. The largest U.S. private employer, the company announced last week that it will pay 100% of college tuition and books for its associates through its Live Better U (LBU) education program. The corporation already had a program for continued education in place offered to employees for $1 a day but they are now doing away with the fee making all education programs paid for by Walmart.


The Live Better U Program will now pay for 100% of tuition and books and is available for all of their approximately 1.5 million part-time and full-time Walmart and Sam’s Club associates in the U.S. starting on their first day. Employees can earn college degrees or learn trade skills without the burden of student loans with over 50 schools to choose from. Walmart will add four more academic partners, including Johnson & Wales University, the University of Arizona, the University of Denver, and Pathstream. These complement the existing partners: Brandman University, Penn Foster, Purdue University Global, Southern New Hampshire University, Wilmington University, and Voxy EnGen.


Since launching LBU in 2018, more than 52,000 associates have participated in the program to date, and 8,000 have already graduated. Nearly 28,000 associates have been active in a LBU program this summer. Currently, cost is a leading barrier for earning a degree—with student loan debt in the U.S. topping $1.7 trillion.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Seven Year Old Cancer Survivor Celebrates Last Treatment by Donating Thousands of Toys

Seven Year Old Cancer Survivor Celebrates Last Treatment by Donating Thousands of Toys

A seven-year-old cancer survivor with a big heart wanted to show his gratitude after completing his chemotherapy treatment. Tripp Hughes completed his treatment at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City and his thought was, ‘How can I give back and help other kids that are going through tough things?’ He and his mother, Krista Hughes, started a toy drive that amassed thousands of toys for other kids going through treatment.


During the pandemic, patients are not allowed to share toys, so they go home with the children. Supplies were low and this is typically a slow time for toy donations. “They’d offer anything to make us just feel as at home as possible,” Tripp said. “So, we just wanted them to also feel the way that they made us feel.” Tripp and his mom started the toy drive and it just kept growing. They collected 4,400 toys packed into more than 100 boxes. “We just wanted to make sure that we got everything the hospital needed to be able to give back what they gave us,” Krista Hughes said.


Young Tripp was four years old when he was diagnosed with pre B-cell near-haploid acute lymphoblastic lymphoma. Tripp’s mother said the family was determined to face the challenge head-on and with positivity. She said the first 8 months were the most challenging but they had physical and emotional help from the hospital staff. “His team is just amazing. We’re so happy to have Children’s Mercy here,” she said. “Every single person you come into contact with helps the process feel ok.”


Krista said “He’s really impressed all of his doctors. His energy was always sky high, positive mood, never really let it affect him for the age that he is. He was always very mature for everything he was going through.” Tripp said “It’s just been a rollercoaster, every single pill I’ve been taking, every single day for two-and-a-half years.”


He wanted to celebrate his last treatment by thanking everyone at Children’s Mercy. His Toy Drive began as a few posts on social media, then it grew to involve benefit concerts and viral TikTok videos. “This has just exceeded our expectations. We had no idea it was going to get this big,” Krista Hughes said. Together, they donated a U-Haul packed with toys, blankets and other supplies to the hospital for other kids still in treatment.


Children’s Mercy staff said their supplies are running extra low. Summers are slow for donations and almost every toy is single use now because of COVID-19 safety precautions. They say Tripp’s gift couldn’t have come at a better time. Gregg Rosenboom, In-kind Giving Coordinator for Children’s Mercy described the donation as Christmas in July at the hospital. He said “He just went through a really tough time in his life and his thought was, ‘how can I give back and help other kids going through tough things?’ That’s awesome.”

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on South Carolina Man Repairing Donated Cars For Those In Need

South Carolina Man Repairing Donated Cars For Those In Need

A rural South Carolina restaurant owner has been transforming lives by repairing broken cars in his spare time and giving them away in his community where there is no public transportation, Uber or taxi service. Eliot Middleton owns Middleton’s Village BBQ and is also a trained mechanic who started repairing and gifting the cars as a way to honor the memory of his father, who was a mechanic.

To get the cars, he trades a plate of ribs from his restaurant, Middleton’s Village BBQ, to anyone willing to part with a broken-down vehicle. Since he started this in September 2020, he’s collected 100 cars and surprised 33 community members with a repaired vehicle – without asking for a single thing in return. “You don’t have a car, you don’t have a career. How will people who have no reliable buses, no Ubers, travel to the city, where they would be able to find bigger jobs at the port authorities or manufacturing centers?” Middleton told CNN. “They can’t walk 40, 50, 60 miles to great jobs – they have to settle for small-end jobs that pay well below what they need to survive. Giving someone a car can change all that, and it does change all that. I want to help everybody looking to better themselves when transportation is what’s holding them back” he said.

He said the idea first came to him in November 2019, when he organized a food drive to distribute 250 boxes of his barbeque. When he ran out of boxes, he walked outside and saw a line of people still waiting for food that was two blocks long. As people started walking away, he caught up to them and learned many had walked 3 to 4 miles to get the food because they didnt have a car to get there on time. Hearing that left him feeling distraught. “That was the turning point in my life when I made the decision to actively give my time and skills to give back to my community.”

Eliot started a nonprofit, Middleton’s Village To Village Foundation and a few friends started helping him repair the cars. Middleton, who owned a car repair shop with his dad before he opened his restaurant said “I like working on cars with a lot of problems because that’s my time to relate to my father, speak with him, because that’s what we’ve always done together. It makes me feel like he’s right there. It’s helping me as much as it’s helping the people I give the cars to because this is allowing me to cope with the fact that my dad’s not here anymore.”

After the story of his selfless deed was aired on nationwide TV, Eliot received an outpouring of donations including more than 800 cars and thousands of messages from people offering their help and services to assist his mission. The GoFundMe he started in March has also raised over $130,000 from people around the world in just 2 weeks. Eliot raised the goal to $150,000 after it surpassed the $50,000 goal and updated the GoFundMe. “Thank you to all the most generous individuals who have donated their hard-earned money to helping people get access to safe, working vehicles. We started this project with a goal of raising $50,000, but your outpouring of support has allowed us to double that amount and make an even bigger impact. This small but mighty group of mechanics will continue to work our hardest to get as many vehicles in our shop and ready to hit the road.”

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8 months 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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9 months ago · by · Comments Off on MacKenzie Scott Donates Additional $1.7 Billion Through The Giving Pledge

MacKenzie Scott Donates Additional $1.7 Billion Through The Giving Pledge

MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has donated more than $4 billion in the past four months to hundreds of organizations and charities—in particular to food banks and emergency relief funds across the USA. Scott signed the Giving Pledge—an initiative sparked by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett a decade ago—and promised to give away her billions “until the safe is empty.”

This July, she began making good on her promise and has already donated $1.7 billion of her $60 billion fortune to 116 charities. Just 5 months later, the 50-year-old announced that she’d given even more money away. Since summer, the world’s third-wealthiest woman has donated more than $4.15 billion to 384 organizations in Puerto Rico and the States—taking her 2020 donations so far to $6 billion.

In a blog post that begins with an Emily Dickinson poem, Scott–a lauded novelist as well as a philanthropist—writes, “This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling. Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires.”

Scott said she has been working with a team of advisors to help her accelerate her giving to organizations that need immediate support in the face of the COVID crisis. Using a “data-driven approach” to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams, and paying “special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital,” recipients of Scott’s funding include the YMCA, Meals on Wheels, the Global Fund for Women, civil rights organization the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, many dozens of food banks, Goodwill, and various centers of education such as Blackfoot Community College.

In the latest round of giving, Scott donated $40 million to Morgan State University, an HBCU in Baltimore. The gift is the largest single private donation in the university’s history, and roughly doubles the school’s endowment. Scott also gave $50 million to Prairie View A&M University in Texas — the school’s largest donation ever, and nearly doubling its endowment, according to the university.

According to news outlets, these donations “might be among the most ever handed out directly to charities in a single year by a living donor.” Scott is not the only billionaire who’s been giving in 2020. While Jeff Bezos has not signed the Giving Pledge, he has distributed $791 million in grant money to large environmental organizations through the Bezos Earth Fund.

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10 months ago · by · Comments Off on Prison Camp Survivor Donating $50 Million Children’s Hospital In New Zealand

Prison Camp Survivor Donating $50 Million Children’s Hospital In New Zealand

Mark Dunajtschik, an 85 year old prison camp survivor committed $50 million dollars of his own money toward building a children’s hospital in New Zealand. Dunajtschik is one of the most successful industrialists and real estate developers in New Zealand and is known for his philanthropic works—having financed the country’s Life Flight Trust helicopter rescue service which has been credited with saving 22,000 lives. Dunajtschik’s latest major humanitarian endeavor is overseeing the construction of a new children’s hospital in Wellington.

Dunajtschik escaped Knicanin prison camp with his mother near the end of WWII and was forced to flee his homeland of Yugoslavia. Five years after the war ended, he became an apprentice toolmaker. He mastered the trade and after spending five years travelling the world, decided to make New Zealand his home. Soon after arriving he established his company Precision Grinders, running the business for 25 years. Dunajtschik was among New Zealand’s most successful property developers and investors, although he only started in the industry as a “hobby” at the age of 57 and has no staff.

Dunajtschik’s life experiences have undoubtedly contributed to the man he is today and his commitment to giving back. Housing in post-war Germany was almost nonexistent, Dunajtschick’s only option at that time was living in a housing facility for the mentally and physically disabled. Seeing the daily challenges his housemates faced made him realize how lucky he was. “Because I was given the opportunity to live in that home, which was founded by an industrialist in the 1880s, now that I am in a position that I can also do something, naturally I want to do it. Those people that are born with a healthy body and mind can look after themselves and those unfortunate to be born with, or suffering ill health, need our help” he said in an interview.

Over the summer, construction on the exterior of the hospital was completed. Dunajtschik had no desire to simply throw money at the new hospital. He takes a hands-on approach to all his projects so he plans to see it through to completion. “It’s exciting to see that in a little over a year the vision will be realized and we will have a magnificent new purpose-built facility that will help generations of sick kids to come,” said Bill Day, Chair of Wellington Hospitals Foundation.

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11 months ago · by · Comments Off on Iconic Strand Bookstore Sounds Call For Help

Iconic Strand Bookstore Sounds Call For Help

Like many independent businesses across the country, the beloved NYC book store the Strand is in trouble. A Greenwich Village fixture since 1927, known worldwide for its “18 miles of books,” the Strand is the single remaining establishment out of 48 bookstores that once ran the length of 4th Avenue’s famous Book Row. Unfortunately, with the Covid-19 pandemic reducing crucial foot-traffic, store proprietor Nancy Bass Wyden, granddaughter of the store’s original owner, posted a cry for help on Twitter.

In a last-ditch effort to save her beloved family business, Bass Wyden reached out to her customer base with a plea for help. “I’m going to pull out all the stops,” she tweeted, “to keep sharing our mutual love of the printed word. But for the first time in the Strand’s 93-year history, we need to mobilize the community to buy from us so we can keep our doors open until there’s a vaccine.”

The response from the Strand’s loyal clientele came in the form of an avalanche of 25,000 orders over the course of a single weekend that crashed the store’s website and brought in approximately $200,000 in sales. One patron ordered 197 books. That was followed up by round-the-block lines at the store’s flagship location on Broadway and East 12th Street in lower Manhattan when the store opened.

Having suffered heavy financial losses earlier in the year, even with the amazing outpouring of love and a much-needed boost in revenue, the Strand isn’t out of the woods just yet, but Bass Wyden is determined not to give up. Revenue was down 70% since this time last year, the business’ cash reserves had depleted, and the $1 million to $2 million loan the Strand received in government emergency relief in April is running dry.

Bass Wyden started working at the Strand in the mid-’70s, when she was 16, and inherited full ownership of the business, including the building at 828 Broadway, from her father, Fred Bass, after his death in 2017. The bookstore has withstood the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the 9/11 terror attacks, but the pandemic could be its downfall. “As the 3rd generation owner,” she said, “I have tried to imagine what my dad and grandfather would do right now after they spent their entire lives—6 days a week—working at the store. I don’t believe they would want me to give up without a fight.” Bass Wyden said.

“Never did I imagine that the store’s financial situation would become so dire that I would have to write friends and devoted customers for help,” owner Nancy Bass Wyden said in an open letter. “It hurts to write this, but that is the predicament that we are in now.” For the first time since her grandfather founded the store 93 years ago, Bass Wyden said, the time had come to ask customers for help. She’s asking all loyal lovers of the written word to start the holidays early and Shop the Strand to save the Strand.

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11 months ago · by · Comments Off on Fourteen Year Old Named America’s Top Young Scientist For Work On Potential Covid 19 Cure

Fourteen Year Old Named America’s Top Young Scientist For Work On Potential Covid 19 Cure

A 14-year-old girl from Texas has discovered a molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2. Eighth grader Anika Chebrolu has been named the winner of the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge—America’s premier middle school science competition. She received a $25,000 gift for her award-winning work and a one-of-a-kind 2 day/1-night destination trip.

The Young Scientist Challenge is a youth science and engineering competition administered by Discovery Education and 3M for middle school students in the United States. Students apply by creating a 1-2 minute video detailing their idea for a new invention intended to solve an everyday problem. Ten finalists are chosen annually to work alongside a 3M scientist during a summer mentorship and receive a trip to the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, to compete for $25,000 and the title of America’s Top Young Scientist.

Anika’s winning invention uses in-silico methodology to discover a lead molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Binding and inhibiting this viral protein would potentially stop the virus entry into the cell, creating a viable drug target. As part of her research, Anika screened millions of small molecules for drug-likeness properties, ADMET properties, and binding affinities against the spike protein using numerous software tools. The one molecule with the best pharmacological and biological activity towards the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was chosen as the lead molecule that can be a potential drug for the effective treatment of COVID-19.

Initially, her goal was to use in-silico methods to identify a lead compound that could bind to a protein of the influenza virus. She was inspired to find potential cures to viruses after learning about the 1918 flu pandemic and finding out how many people die every year in the United States despite annual vaccinations and anti-influenza drugs on the market.

“After spending so much time researching about pandemics, viruses and drug discovery, it was crazy to think that I was actually living through something like this,” Anika said. “Because of the immense severity of the Covid-19 pandemic and the drastic impact it had made on the world in such a short time, I, with the help of my mentor, Dr. Mahfuza Ali, changed directions to target the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

Anika said winning the prize and title of top young scientist is an honor, but her work isn’t done. Her next goal, she says, is to work alongside scientists and researchers who are fighting to “control the morbidity and mortality” of the pandemic by developing her findings into an actual cure for the virus. Chebrolu also received the “Improving Lives Award,” according to a release from Frisco ISD.

“I am extremely humbled at being selected America’s Top Young Scientist as all of the finalists had amazing projects and were extremely well-rounded individuals,” Anika said in the Frisco release. “Science is the basis of life and the entire universe and we have a long way to go to understand it fully.” While she hopes to be a medical researcher and professor in the future, she is already doing grown-up work and inspiring a generation to reach for the stars.

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