1 week ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on 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.
2 weeks ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on 81 Year Old Man Receives Life Changing Donation
Self-proclaimed hermit, 81-year-old ‘River Dave’, whose real name is David Lidstone, became unintentionally famous after losing his home to a fire. He’d been living off-the-grid in the same secluded New Hampshire location for almost three decades when his cabin burned down. His longtime friends Jodie Gedeon and Sharon Copello organized a GoFundMe that quickly reached its $15,000 goal. On August 11, New Hampshire resident and billionaire CEO of Palantir Technologies Alexander Karp reached out to Lidstone and wrote him a personal check to the tune of $180,000 for living and future expenses.
Lidstone didn’t own the property where he’d built his modest A-frame cabin on the banks of the Merrimack River, but says he had permission from the site’s previous owner to stay there. The current owner of the land took steps to have him removed. On the same day that Lidstone appeared in court charged with civil contempt for refusing to vacate, his cabin burnt to the ground. The fire left “River Dave”, known for occasionally befriending a passing kayaker or boater, homeless along with his cats and chickens.
Estranged from his wife and family, for most of his 27-year tenure on the 73-acre plot – those ties in the community proved strong enough to form an unexpected lifeline. As word of his plight spread- donations and offers of places to stay began to roll in. While the response was staggering and the initial $15,000 funding goal was quickly met, no one could have predicted such a large donation.
Lidstone told news outlets “How can I express myself and my gratitude towards something like that? I start to tear up whenever I think about it. For an old logger who always had to work, for anyone to give you that type of money, it’s incredibly difficult for me to get my head around. I feel about as good as I ever have in my life.” A grateful Lidstone said the recent outpouring of kindness and support has been something of a revelation to him. “Maybe the things I’ve been trying to avoid are the things that I really need in life. I grew up never being hugged or kissed, or having any close contact.”
The money raised for River Dave is being put into a trust and he’ll be staying at an undisclosed location over the winter. Sometime next year, at a building site as yet to be named, construction for his new home will begin. As the GoFundMe setup wound down, Jodie Gedeon said “We feel we can help Dave build a good life now and will forever be thankful. We also know how many other charities and people are in need of help. At the end of August we’re asking that the spotlight be passed on to others to bring awareness and opportunities to spread the love and continue to be the change! The world is a better place with each of you in it and we simply can’t thank you enough.”
3 weeks ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on 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.
2 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on California Teen Invents Fire Suppression Device To Help Save Homes From Wildfires
A California teen, Arul Mathur, invented a solution to help combat California wildfires, allowing regular citizens to take fire protection into their own hands. Inspired by the 2018 Camp Fire, Mathur says he developed FACE, or Fire Activated Canister Extinguisher. FACE is an autonomous fire suppression device that releases retardant when it detects fire. When placed in strategic locations, FACE can prevent homes from burning down, according to the teen.
Mathur launched a Kickstarter campaign https://bit.ly/3jPycyQ on July 1st with a goal of $5000 to make FACE available to the public for the impending fire season. So far it has raised over $13,000 and all the revenue generated will be donated to install FACE devices in fire-prone areas that need them the most. A single device is capable of protecting fire-risk areas in one’s house, while multiple can form a defensive perimeter around one’s entire property against low to moderate intensity fires.
“Over the past three years, there have been almost 7,500,000 acres of wildfire in California alone, destroying nearly 50,000 structures,” describes Arul Mathur. When a sensor on the device heats up to a certain temperature, a glycerin element bursts within, releasing an eco-friendly fire-retardant spray 5-6 feet in all directions with the aid of a sprinkler. The retardant can be re-filled quite easily, and the only other human-controlled aspect is the initial introduction of air-pressure into the canister which can be done manually through a valve at the top. Each unit will retail for $120 after production begins.
Mathur said in the summer of 2019, a wildfire spread so fast, coming from 10 miles away, it threatened to force his family to evacuate their home. “Thankfully, due to the bravery and diligence of my local fire department, the fire was contained and our house was saved but many other people weren’t so lucky.” That’s when he first began designing and engineering FACE. Mathur said he reasoned that by owning self-activating fire suppression, individuals no longer had to be reliant on the fire department to save their homes. “Firefighters could focus on containing the fire, while we, as residents, could control the fate of our property,”
The only existing market alternative for F.A.C.E is a manual extinguisher, or an automatic sprinkler system, which unless it can be installed during construction of the house, will normally cost between $1 to $3 dollars per square foot, amounting to many thousands for a family home. While 5-6 feet of spray isn’t enough to stop large fires, but if enough FACE units are placed in strategic areas, neighborhoods or rural communities can work together to prevent brush fires from becoming wildfires, or living room fires from becoming house fires. Mathur says “The ultimate goal is to bring FACE into the hands of everyone who lives in fire-prone areas so that they can protect themselves and their properties.”
4 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on British War Veteran Raised Millions During Pandemic
Captain Thomas Moore, a British World War II veteran raised money for charity in the run-up to his 100th birthday during the COVID-19 pandemic. On 6 April 2020, at the age of 99, Moore began to walk one hundred lengths of his garden in aid of NHS Charities Together, with the goal of raising 1,000 pounds or $1391 USD by his 100th birthday. In the 24-day course of his fundraising, he made many media appearances and became a popular household name in the UK, earning a number of accolades and attracting over 1.5 million individual donations. By the end of the day on Moore’s hundredth birthday, the total raised by his walk was 32.79 million pounds or $45 million USD.
When his campaign reached 5 million pounds, he explained his motivation “When we started off with this exercise we didn’t anticipate we’d get anything near that sort of money. It’s really amazing. All of them, from top to bottom, in the National Health Service, they deserve everything that we can possibly put in their place. They’re all so brave. Because every morning or every night they’re putting themselves into harm’s way, and I think you’ve got to give them full marks for that effort. We’re a little bit like having a war at the moment. But the doctors and the nurses, they’re all on the front line, and all of us behind, we’ve got to supply them and keep them going with everything that they need, so that they can do their jobs even better than they’re doing now.”
Funds raised by Moore were used on well-being packs for National Health Service staff, facilitating rest and recuperation rooms, devices to enable hospital patients to keep in contact with family members, and community groups who support patients once discharged from hospitals. When his campaign ended, Moore encouraged people to continue to donate, directly to the NHS Charities Together’s urgent appeal.
Moore’s selfless pursuit captured hearts around the world, including that of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who called him “a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus.” So many cards had been sent to him during the last two weeks before his 100th birthday that Royal Mail had to introduce dedicated sorting facilities and around 20 volunteers were recruited to open and display them, at the local Bedford School. On the morning of his birthday, a Hawker Hurricane and a Spitfire from the Royal Air Force’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight performed a flypast over Moore’s house. In the afternoon, a second flypast featured two Army Air Corps helicopters, a Wildcat and an Apache.
Murals were created in his honor, a bus company named one of its buses Captain Tom Moore on and reprogrammed the electronic displays to show a “Thank You Captain Tom” message intermittently in between the vehicle’s route and destination. On 17 July 2020, he was personally knighted by the Queen at Windsor Castle. Moore passed away on February 2nd 2021 after contracting Covid 19 but his impact during the pandemic made him a hero in the United Kingdom. Moore’s family continues to honor his life and giving spirit through The Captain Tom Foundation.
6 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Mercy Chefs Serves 10 Millionth Meal
In February, the Virginia-based disaster relief and humanitarian aid group, Mercy Chefs, reached the milestone of serving its 10 millionth meal. Founded after Hurricane Katrina, the nonprofit organization has served professionally prepared restaurant-quality meals to victims and first responders in 27 states and 10 countries, responding to more than 134 disasters.
Since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic in March 2020, they have distributed 7 million meals with the help of 10,000 community volunteers. The group uses coronavirus response distribution locations it has established across the US, where Mercy Chefs works with food distributors and volunteers to supplement the USDA Family Farmers Food Box Program with more meals.
Mercy Chefs has also deployed to locations in 2020 following natural disasters, including Hurricanes Hanna and Laura; and the recent tornado in Alabama. They have repeatedly returned to Panama City to serve those still affected by Hurricane Michael. Just after reaching their milestone, they headed to Dallas Texas when the call for help came as severe cold weather left millions without electricity, water or food.
They served thousands of hot meals to Texans during the unprecedented storms from a large mobile kitchen at Gateway Church North Fort Worth Campus. The team served both lunch and dinner to the community, distributing food from multiple locations. Mercy Chefs utilized several kitchens in order to prepare meals to distribute to citizens and also. They also have been working to provide clean drinking water to those who need it throughout Texas.
Founder Gary LeBlanc said he was driven to help with disaster relief on a broader scale when he volunteered in his hometown of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. “The devastation was so intense and widespread. I saw firsthand the incredible difference a hot meal could make. I was inspired to the point of distraction by the idea of serving high-quality food in a disaster area. Little did I know how far that distraction would lead and Mercy Chefs now has three mobile kitchens and two refrigerated trailers. “
LeBlanc founded the non-profit in 2006 to help with disaster relief and they are often one of the first organizations to arrive following a major weather event. His teams are capable of providing 15,000 meals daily to meet the needs of devastated communities. When the pandemic started Mercy Chefs delivered millions of meals through grocery box distribution in places like Texas, Florida, Virginia, Puerto Rico, Oklahoma and others. They are also working toward ways to support people in food insecure communities with job skills training, single mothers cooking classes, and budget recipe creation.
7 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Toyota Replaces TX EMT’s Truck After Heroic Actions During Pile Up
The Texas pile up on February 11th took the lives of 6 people as Winter storm Shirley bared down on many states across the country. Rare wintery conditions had iced over highways all across Texas, including Interstate 35 in Fort Worth. In the early morning hours, 133 vehicles, including dozens of semis, some of them loaded with cars, were involved in the mass accident.
A video of the pileup as it happened is included below. At one point, a white truck is seen crashing into the ever-growing mass of vehicles. Moments later, a semi comes barreling down, smashes into it and the force of the impact sends the now-crumpled vehicle into the opposite lane, over the barrier. The man in the truck, MedStar paramedic, Trey McDaniel, survived. McDaniel said he saw the semi barreling at him at full speed and there was nothing he could do.
But he not only survived both crashes, once he got out of his now crumpled 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser, as he puts it himself, he went into “emergency mode” and started helping out other victims. McDaniel said he started helping other victims as soon as he got his bearings. He was dizzy and in pain but he was able to help out. In fact, he was already in his uniform, since he was driving to work when the accident happened so he was assisting crash victims for quite some time before other medics on the scene realized he was a victim himself.
McDaniel posted about his experience on Reddit, leaving out the details of his heroic behavior afterwards and explaining how his off road tires, as well as the car itself saved his life. “I was launched over the center barrier into the Northbound lanes while still inside. If you slow the video down, I made a full rotation, my roof rack came off, and the FJ landed on top of it, fortunately wheels down. Every airbag deployed, and the cab was a safe cocoon,” he writes. “I was alive. I oriented myself and crawled out of my driver window.”
A friend launched a GoFundMe in his name, in the hope that he might be able to replace the vehicle – an essential item for him, since he needs it for his daily work commute. Toyotausa caught wind of his posting and commented “We’re just glad you’re safe and inspired that you chose to help others in need. We’re happy you’re part of the Toyota family. So, don’t worry about replacing your vehicle – it would be an honor for us to get you a new one!” Toyota doesn’t offer the FJ Cruisers in the US anymore so they offered McDaniel a vehicle of his choice and he opted for a brand new 4Runner TRD Pro.
This isn’t the first time Toyota has offered to reward heroes for their heroic actions. In 2018, the automaker provided a new Tundra to Allyn Pierce, a nurse who burnt his old truck to a crisp helping to evacuate patients and staff in the Paradise, California wildfires before attempting to leave the area himself.
7 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Chicago Restauranteur Helping Feed Those With Food Insecurity
Chicago restauranteur Robert Magiet was driving across town one morning when he spotted a shivering tamale vendor braving the frigid January temperatures of the “Windy City”. He made a spur of the moment offer she couldn’t refuse. Rather than let the woman wearing many layers of clothing to keep warm stay in the cold all day—Magiet bought out her entire day’s supply—close to 10 dozen tamales, gave her a big tip, and sent her on her way.
Magiet loaded up the tamales he’d purchased and distributed them to homeless people. Pleased with the outcome of the morning’s events, Magiet took to Facebook to see if he could continue the trend. “Anyone know of any Tamale Cart vendors that will be out this weekend in the cold weather? I went to Yolanda near Humboldt Park and bought her out so she could go home today. I’d love to do the same for other Vendors and distribute the Tamales to our neighbors experiencing homelessness. Let me know of any leads please” he posted.
In the following days, armed with suggestions, Magiet bought up all the tamales from vendors at three different locations. And again, after generously tipping the sellers whose trade had been severely curtailed by both the weather and the lockdown, he distributed the tamales to people in need. Helping the hungry in his community is nothing new for Magiet.
After opening a Love Fridge community food pantry outside his TaKorea Cocina restaurant this past June, Magiet teamed up with the owners of Fatso’s Last Stand and Jack & Ginger’s restaurants to prep and deliver 1,300 Thanksgiving meals for the needy. After Christmas, he also partnered with Jason Vincent, owner of Logan Square eatery Giant, to man a food truck serving breakfast and lunch to the homeless.
He also partnered with his friend Taylor Hammond, owner of The StopAlong, a Bucktown pizzeria, to ask if he’d be willing to donate his kitchen once a week to help ease food insecurity for families in need. Knowing how much kids love pizza, Hammond readily agreed. “It’s like, I have a restaurant. I have food. I know people who have restaurants and food. Let’s help people who need food.” Magiet said.
Having seen firsthand the devastating impact the coronavirus pandemic had on his own industry, he feels lucky to be in a position to provide much-needed relief for those struggling to put food on the table. He says on average he purchases 15 dozen tamales for an average price of $16 a dozen. “At first they are in disbelief. They don’t understand why someone would want to buy so many tamales.”
Magiet plans to continue his tamale runs for the remainder of the winter. Pizzas are still on the table as well. “If somebody in our neighborhood is struggling, we all struggle. I’m not trying to save the world. I’m just trying to help people who need food. If I have the ability to go help somebody, I’m just going to go help somebody. To me, it’s literally that simple” Magiet said.
The food Magiet collects will be distributed to several Love Fridges locations around town, Breakthrough Urban Ministries in East Garfield Park, and to Franciscan Outreach’s homeless shelter in North Lawndale. If you’d like to help, donations can be made to Zelle at 773-807-0057 or venmo: @takoreacocina.
9 months ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on 81 Year Old Customer And Dunkin Donuts Staff Bond Amid Pandemic
A Dunkin’ Donuts crew in Concord, California, has adopted an 81 year old customer separated from his family and friends as their unofficial “Grandpa”. Gilbert “Gil” Walker, a retired high school teacher of almost 40 years, began making daily coffee trips to the local Dunkin when the pandemic interrupted his regular breakfast get together with friends. After he left them a $280 tip, the staff was so touched by the gesture that they have all adopted him as Grandpa ever since.
Walker began visiting as a way to safely get out of the house during the stay at home orders. Walker and owner Matt Cobo had a conversation that left Walker wanting to help. “I asked … if he had to lay anyone off and he said he had 14 employees and wanted to keep them but had to cut their hours,” Walker said. He started to think of ways he could help, and a little movement was born. On his next visit, Walker presented Cabo with an envelope of $280 cash, or $20 for each staffer. They were so moved by his gesture of kindness, they started calling Walker “Grandpa,” and adopted him as one of their own.
Cobo said that when the first shelter-in-place orders went into effect, “There was this feeling, this emptiness, this uncertainty of what was going to happen. We all felt it. We were scared,” he explained. “What Grandpa did that time was so much more than a gesture of kindness. He made us feel like things were going to be OK.”
Since then, there is a kindness shared between the staff and “Grandpa Gil.” They have signs posted throughout that jokingly read: Anyone who lets “Grandpa” pay is terminated immediately-The Management. “It became a contest of how I could convince them to take my money and them not taking it,” Walker laughed. “We’ve had a lot of maneuvering just to try to get money inside the door.”
Walker’s family even tips the staff off about upcoming events like his birthday or anniversary with his wife, Virginia. When Walker and his wife celebrated 62 years together, the staff set them up with a Dunkin’ smorgasbord in honor of the anniversary. “Holy cow, they’d set up a whole table inside the building, pictures of our wedding, a dozen white roses and food,” Walker said. “They had maple bars in the shape of a heart, it was crazy.”
In September, for Walker’s 81st birthday, the staff surprised him with a party, a sign and gifts in honor of his big day. “They were just all teary-eyed, and when you see that, you’re just like man, our work here is done,” Cobo said. “No one can deserve it more than him … it’s been really fun.” Walker, who has three kids, 13 grandkids and 20 great-grandchildren, said his closest family lives hundreds of miles away. The staff at Dunkin’ Donuts, mostly teens and young adults — have been there for him through this pandemic. “Those kids kind of remind me of my family,” he said. “They’re really nice and just treat me well every single day.”
Cobo said they consider Walker part of their family and the staff are always rushing to the drive-thru window each morning to say hi when “Grandpa” rolls up. “He doesn’t have any grandkids around and that’s part of why I think he’s developed this relationship … Maybe not technically family but we’d love to kind of fill in as his local grandkids. We all just think he’s incredible. There’s people that just have this smile and warmth — you say, ‘This guy is just goodness,’” Cobo explained. “That’s what he is. People catch that and they share that.”
10 months ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on 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.