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5 days ago · by · Comments Off on Five Women Run Multi-Faith Soup Kitchen To Help Less Fortunate in Montreal

Five Women Run Multi-Faith Soup Kitchen To Help Less Fortunate in Montreal

Five women in Montreal get together once a month to cook for the city’s less fortunate. They call themselves the Shathi Sisters. Shathi is a Bangladeshi word that means togetherness and that is the core of what drives the women to operate their multifaith soup kitchen out of the St. George’s Anglican Church in downtown Montreal. Together, they are helping others and showing that, even in small numbers, you can make the world better.

When COVID-19 hit the world and brought even more struggle to the already difficult lives of those in need, these women gladly ventured on this project. It gave them the opportunity to help others and to see each other. Since December, the Shathi Sisters have spent one Saturday a month cooking 100 meals for those in need and have distributed them around downtown Montreal.

Food costs are kept under $100, but the woman philanthropists have always made sure that the food is “not just scraps of food,” but something they themselves would prepare for their own families: delicious, enjoyable, and healthy, but low cost. They hope to expand their services in the future and eventually do this mission once a week. Besides giving food to the needy, the multifaith soup kitchen project has also brought these women together and they always look forward to it. “We think it’s our duty to do this,” said Irene Mazumder. “Not just because there’s people in need. It’s our duty. If we’re able to help, then why not.”

“The purpose of my engagement, it’s serving the community,” said Sobhan. “When the pandemic was going on, many people lost their homes. They are homeless. So it was great timing for us to start with this. And maybe we started with a soup kitchen, maybe we can do more things. More projects.” Another founder member, Nafissah Rahman, says ““We have a lot of spaces, but it’s not people of colour, there’s no representation. And it mattered to us that the representation of ourselves, so that our future generations can see that we too, we have to do this.”

With the months of public health restrictions, the Shahti Sisters say meeting up every four weeks fulfilled their need to connect in person. The added bonus to their good deed is another great example that anyone of all backgrounds can make a difference in the lives of others and these acts of kindness always inspire others.

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2 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Coworkers Donate Kidneys to Save Each Other’s Husbands

Coworkers Donate Kidneys to Save Each Other’s Husbands

Tia Wimbush and Susan Ellis worked at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for over a decade and were in the same department for five years. A mutual friend had told them they had something in common — Wimbush’s husband, Rodney, and Ellis’ husband, Lance, were experiencing kidney failure. After working from home during the start of the pandemic, the two returned to the office part time in September. One day, their schedules overlapped and they ran into each other in the bathroom. It proved to be a life-changing moment.

“We were already helping each other out, just being comforters and supporters,” Ellis said. “We bounced ideas off of each other and just really listened.” When the two women bumped into each other in October 2020 they caught up on each other’s situations and soon realized they could do more than listen. “We were going through the transplant process. Susan and her husband, he was already on the list, she had already gone through the process of getting tested and I had just started. And she had told me in the bathroom that afternoon that she and her husband were not a match,”

The two started talking about what blood type each of their husbands had — and realized that they could both be a potential match for each other’s husbands. Wimbush thought she could also be a donor for her husband, but helping her friends felt right. “We really felt strongly about trying to do this as a partner match. We were all here at this moment, at the exact same time, in the same place, going through the exact same thing. What were the chances that we weren’t meant to help one another” Wimbush said.

By the end of October both women found out they were donor matches for each other’s husbands. After some setbacks due to the pandemic and Lance’s health, the four were able to undergo transplant surgeries on March 19, 2021 — all on the same day. The friends have already seen changes in their husbands. “It’s hard to say this but I’m not sure Lance would have made it another year. He was slowly deteriorating, had enormous co-morbidities that were going along with his kidney disease and the dialysis. For us, it was the miracle of a kidney transplant that our husbands so desperately needed. But that’s how it ended. It didn’t start with that in mind, it just started with two working moms and faith followers that needed some camaraderie and compassion and some support for each other. It was just really a story of kindness” Ellis said.

Both women know they are lucky because many people on the donor list wait 7-9 years for a viable match and sometimes their time on the waitlist outlives them. Wimbush and Ellis said they hope sharing their story inspires others to open up — because you never know who you’ll match up with. Going through the transplant process together gave their families a unique bond. “We bypassed friendship and we are absolutely family now” Wimbush said.

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2 weeks 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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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Graduating Class Donates Funds Raised For Class Trip to Island Community

Graduating Class Donates Funds Raised For Class Trip to Island Community

The island of Islesboro lies three miles off the mainland with 700 full-time residents. Graduating classes at Islesboro’s Central School consist of 13-15 students who traditionally fundraise to finance a once-in-a-lifetime class trip at the end of their final semester. Former student destinations include Paris, Iceland, Norway, and Panama.

The Class of 2021 had already garnered close to $8,000 in donations through fundraising efforts from working at concession stands, holding harvest and winter festivals and hosting community suppers before pandemic lockdowns prevented further fundraising. Like classes before them, they envisioned a journey to Greece, Japan, or South Korea before their hopes were quashed by COVID-19 travel restrictions. With their plans curtailed, the group decided to spend the money they’d earned a whole lot closer to home by reinvesting it in their community.

The bulk of their earnings was donated to the Island Community Fund in aid of residents whose livelihoods were broadsided by the COVID-19 pandemic. Another portion was put to good use funding coronavirus vaccination clinics. The rest will go to philanthropic causes as yet to be determined.

The pandemic hasn’t been easy for many and the tight-knit island community has felt the effects keenly. Five of the Islesboro Central School seniors take the ferry from the mainland, while the rest live on the island but the group was accustomed to doing things together. They were also split apart, unable to gather for months, with a three-mile gulf between the island and the mainland.

The seniors kicked off an email chain to discuss what to do about the trip. International travel was a no-go, so Greece, South Korea and Japan were no longer options. They thought about scaling it back to do a regional trip but the world’s struggles weighed on them as they tried to justify salvaging an exotic outing against a backdrop of deaths and economic pain.

One graduate, Olivia Britton said “It felt sort of obvious that it needed to go back to the island community.” Another, Liefe Temple,explained that the group said it would have felt strange to indulge in the luxury of foreign travel when they knew their neighbors were suffering such extreme day-to-day duress. “We could really see how the whole world and the island, too, was struggling. So it felt really good to do that with our money—to give it back to the people who gave it to us.”

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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Therapy Dogs Offer Support Rescue Workers of FL Building Collapse

Therapy Dogs Offer Support Rescue Workers of FL Building Collapse

As rescue efforts turned to recovery in the aftermath of the Surfside Building Collapse, the scope of the loss of life is clearer as search teams work into lower levels of a debris pile that is growing smaller each day.  Rescue crews have been working tirelessly during the search despite the emotional toll but therapy and comfort canines are on the scene to provide support for the rescue crews.

Therapy dogs from Miami Dade County Fire Departments are on the job, which represent a variety of large and small dog breeds. Bonnie Fear, of the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry brought nine golden retrievers from out-of-state to the site of the collapse to help first responders cope.  The retrievers are staying at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church while they wait to be called into action.

“These dogs are here for you,” said Bonnie Fear.  “A lot of times the first responders come up, they’ll fall to their knees, they’ll start crying or they’ll smile. We try not to say anything, we let the dog be the bridge for those people to grieve the loss, whatever they’re feeling.”  Comfort canines work similarly to therapy dogs—their job right now is to help rescuers cope with the emotional toil of the collapse.  Comfort dogs are a strong and well-proven therapy for depression, anxiety, and other forms of distress.  

Capt. Shawn Campana, a veteran of the Miami Dade Fire Dept, said “We are now very well aware that we can potentially be impacted by stress like PTSD, like suicide ideation, and that is what this team was designed to prevent. When a human does what we call friendly petting, which means we get our fingertips into their skin, our bodies release oxytocin.”  Oxytocin is a hormone that creates feelings of comfort and happiness, and as much as these dogs can give to the first responders the better.

The dogs are near the site of the collapse to provide support for rescue crews and family members of those still missing.  As recovery work continues, the therapy dogs have spent time near a memorial site by the fallen tower, as well as at a Red Cross family assistance center donning blue vests that read “Please Pet Me,” and have been met by thankful individuals sporting both smiles and tears.  Fear said  “We’re very concerned about their mental health.  Our prayer is that they make it through, they find what they need to mentally process and to know, in their minds, that they found someone’s loved one, they made a difference for the families. And I hope they hang on to that.”

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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Alabama Teen Raised $39K For St Jude’s Cancer Research

Alabama Teen Raised $39K For St Jude’s Cancer Research

An Alabama teen raised $39,000 for kids battling cancer by cutting off his 19 inch Afro. Kieran Moïse, 17, was set to enroll at the United States Air Force Academy which of course required a haircut. Rather than lament the loss of the hair he had been growing since childhood, Kieran decided to turn the rite of passage into a charity event benefiting two causes to which he feels a deep connection-St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Michigan-based Children With Hair Loss.

He explained on his fundraising page “I have been growing my hair out for many years with the goal of donating it to charity. Now that it is time to shave it, I would like to raise $1,000 per inch for St. Jude’s Hospital. My hair is 19 inches long and that $19,000 will do so much good to help families dealing with cancer. One of my good friends in middle school died from cancer and I know St. Jude’s really helped his family. This is just one way that I feel like I can give back. It will also help make some really good wigs for kids! Please donate and help me reach my goal!”

During an event held at a local Huntsville, Alabama, brewery Kieran submitted to being shorn in front of a crowd of nearly 100 enthusiastic supporters. His lengthy tresses were forwarded to Michigan-based Children With Hair Loss, a nonprofit that provides human hair wigs free of charge to kids and young adults suffering from medically related hair loss will both receive the funds raised. To date, he’s also raised more than $39,000 in support of cancer research at St. Jude.

Kieran’s parents Patrick and Kelly Moïse have chronicled the growth their son’s amazing ’do over the course of his life and understand just how much cutting it off meant to him. “My son has always had a huge heart. He was determined that if he was going to have to get a haircut anyway, then he should pay it forward in a way that would help as many people as possible,” Kelly said.

Kelly added “Kieran hopes his story will encourage others to find ways to offer help and hope to those in need. He wants people to know that if he can donate his hair, then anyone can and he’s hoping that everyone will be encouraged to go out there and commit their own small act of kindness.”

Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital said “Charitable giving comes in many forms, from direct acts of kindness to impactful public statements that motivate others to come together to support a cause. Kieran’s simple act of kindness exemplifies the power of younger generations and is something to celebrate, a selfless decision that will make a direct impact on the lives of the kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and children everywhere for years to come.”

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4 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on GoFundMe Raises $53K for Oklahoma Man Walking 17 Miles to Work

GoFundMe Raises $53K for Oklahoma Man Walking 17 Miles to Work

Many people believe that being just one person, they can’t possibly change someone’s life but sometimes all it takes is one person’s kindness to spark the efforts of many. Michael Lynn of Moore, Oklahoma certainly didn’t expect to ignite a spark when he offered Donte Franklin a ride on a hot day but their paths crossing has resulted in an outpouring of donations including a new bike and $53,000 raised through a GoFundMe campaign.

Lynn was out running errands on a sweltering hot day when noticed a young man walking. On his way back, he noticed the same young man—still walking—and decided to offer him a ride. Lynn was so moved when he learned more about Franklin’s 17-mile work pilgrimage to his job as a cook at Buffalo Wild Wings, he couldn’t help but share the details of Franklin’s story on Facebook—where it was quickly shared more than 1,000 times.

To make it to his shift as a cook, Donte Franklin was leaving for work three hours early each day and trekking more than eight miles on foot to arrive on time. At the end of a full shift, , the 20-year-old walked the 8 miles home. Franklin credits his amazing work ethic to his late mom, who passed away four years ago. Franklin said life hasn’t always been a clear path for him after his mom died and his siblings raised him. “I had to be positive,” he said. “I had to grind to make a better me, to make my momma happy. I really don’t care if it gets tiring. I just have to keep pushing, I walk just to make my family proud.” Franklin is studying to become a welder and just needs more money to continue to help his family, even if it means hiking to work in scorching temperatures. “I’ve just gotta keep going. It’s all going to pay off in the end,” Franklin said.

One of the people who saw Lynn’s Facebook post was Kerri Collins. She and her husband are the driving forces behind a biker charity group called My Riding Buddies Oklahoma and Bikers for Elves (MRBO). “Anytime I see something posted concerning anybody anywhere in Oklahoma, I immediately jump in and we do whatever we can as a group,” said Collins. “It just touched me that this man is only 20 years old and is walking to two different jobs with nothing in the heat. It opened my heart because kids his age don’t do that.”

In appreciation of his extraordinary efforts, MRBO gifted Franklin with a brand-new bike prior to his next shift. While Donte’s commute got easier, the blessings didn’t end there. Inspired by the young man’s determination, a GoFundMe page was set up in his name with the goal of $2,000 to help him buy a car. The GoFundMe raised $15,000 in one day and by the end of the campaign had raised a total of over $53,000

Donte Franklin says he considers everything that’s happened to him to be a blessing and believes that he and Lynn were fated to become friends. Lynn shares that sentiment “As long as he wants to, I want to keep him in my life and I want to be in his life. I told him, if the Lord opens the door for you, walk through it… I think it’s open for him and the rest is up to him.”

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Wisconsin Father Breaks Push Up Record for Charity

Wisconsin Father Breaks Push Up Record for Charity

A Wisconsin father of three, broke the Guinness Book of World Record for most pushups in a year. Nate Carroll launched his mission on June 14, 2020 with two goals in mind, to teach his children a lesson in the power of perseverance by offering them an example in real-time and to raise money for the families of fallen first responders.

In order to claim a new Guinness World Record—ousting the current titleholder after an almost 32-year run—Carroll has been diligently documenting his accomplishments both in a logbook and with time-lapse video throughout his year-long odyssey. On June 6th, Carroll completed the countdown to his record-breaking goal with a special 50-yard line halftime ceremony during the 48th annual Fun City Bowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

When he completed his 1,500,231st pushup, he broke the previous record set by Paddy Doyle in 1989. After the record was broken Caroll said he wanted to finish his year in a number that included 9-11. He finished his 365-day period with a total of 1,500,911 pushups. It seems fitting since he was raising money for the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation.

The foundation’s Fallen First Responder Home Program pays off the mortgages for families of fallen first responders, so they don’t have to worry about losing their homes. The program, which has paid for 250 mortgages since 2014, is named for a New York City firefighter who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

Carroll has a full time job as a social worker and shared parental custody so finding the time during his busy schedule to clock thousands of push-ups per day was one of Carroll’s biggest challenges. “To set aside time to do 4,000 push-ups is impossible,” he told the Wisconsin State Journal. “You have to really make it a priority and be willing to commit to it and embrace the fact that you have to weave that into your day.”

Carroll said he wanted to show his children that it’s possible to achieve their goals if they’re willing to put in the work. He also wanted to show his children the importance of first responders in the community. “I wanted to demonstrate to my kids what goals that seem impossible look like when they are broken down into daily manageable chunks.”

During an interview Carroll said “Set a goal, and get after it. Make it who you are, not something you do. That way, when it gets hard and life throws obstacles in your way and offers you convenient excuses to stop or says it’s too difficult, you find a way to endure and persevere and keep after it. Winning those mini-battles each day builds strength and shapes one’s perspective of what is possible.”

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Florida Bride Donated Kidney 2 Days After Wedding

Florida Bride Donated Kidney 2 Days After Wedding

Just two days after her wedding, a Florida bride donated a kidney to her new husband’s former wife. Debby and Jim Strickland have been a devoted couple for a decade. Jim maintained a cordial relationship with his ex, Mylaen Merthe for the last two decades since their divorce. Around the same time their daughter announced she was expecting their first grandchild, Mylaen, who has long suffered from kidney disease, received some devastating news.

Her kidneys were functioning at just 8% of normal capacity and without a transplant, her odds of survival decreased every day. The hunt for a donor match was on. Mylaen’s brother wasn’t a viable candidate—but miraculously, Debby was. Debby said that she imagined Merthe’s daughter giving birth and her mother not being there to greet her granddaughter and that thought is what made her decide to volunteer. “I just couldn’t not try to change that. God told me, ‘You’re a match and you need to do this. When somebody needs an organ, if they don’t get it, they’re probably not going to make it. I know it’s something that you do quickly” Debby said.

Having lost a brother to cystic fibrosis while waiting for a lung transplant, she knew time was of the essence. With a green light on the tissue sample and blood tests, Debby willingly scheduled the life-saving surgery for just 48 hours after her previously planned nuptials. “It was the most amazing day of my life, until two days later. That was also the most amazing day of my life” she said. Mylaen and Debby have bonded and now refer to one another as “kidney sisters.”

Debby said that she asked to see Merthe straight away after she regained consciousness. She said she could immediately see Merthe was healthier already: the dark circles under her eyes had gone and she had regained a little color. “We had our masks on, too, so we’re crying, and of course, our stomachs were hurting because of the incisions,” Merthe said. “We kinda laughed and cried.”

Since the successful procedure, Merthe moved in with her daughter and son-in-law and her new grandchild to recuperate. Debby recuperated at home with Jim and their family of six foster children. The family has grown to include grandkids and Merthe and her family into their brood. The entire family has a summer trip together planned to celebrate. “This is what the world is about. Family. We need to stick together,” Merthe said. “She saved my life.”

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Pregnant Mother of Two Hailed Hero For Saving Girls From Drowning

Pregnant Mother of Two Hailed Hero For Saving Girls From Drowning

A pregnant mother of two is being hailed a hero after saving four kids from drowning during a family outing. As fate had it, Alyssa DeWitt, 27, decided to take her kids to First Street Beach Pier at Lake Michigan despite thinking the winds may be too strong. She soon noticed a group of girls under 15 on the beach who were going into the water.

Alyssa and her two children were the only other people on the beach at the time when the young girls ran into trouble. “I happened to look up and saw one of the girls waving her arms towards me and immediately knew something was wrong,” she said. Rip currents had pulled the girls out deeper and deeper into Lake Michigan, and they couldn’t get out.

“I got up, pulled my kids out of the water and ran out onto the pier. They couldn’t even keep their heads above water at that point. I called 911 immediately but I didn’t know if they could hear me and I didn’t have time to wait and find out,” she said. Alyssa knew she had to act quickly. “I put my phone down with 911 on and laid down over the side of the pier and told them to reach for my hand” she said.

Despite being five months pregnant she began trying to pull the girls over the rocky and slippery pier. “Every time I’d get one of them halfway up, a big wave would come smashing into us and knock them back down or almost pull me over,” she said. Alyssa recalled a moment she said will stick with her forever and still makes her cry when she thinks about it. “My turning point was when one of the little girls looked at me and said, ‘I’m going to die.’ That was it for me and I was like ‘I’m not going to let you die, I’m going to get you out of this water, I promise.’”

She managed to pull all three girls out of the water and over the pier before the group set off back towards the shore to rescue a fourth girl who had managed to get closer to shore but couldn’t stand because her leg was injured. Alyssa said “I honestly do not know how I did it, it was pure adrenaline at that point. Right after I got everybody onto the beach, the ambulance and the police cars came flying into the parking lot.”

Alyssa sustained a swollen wrist but she and the baby were both fine when she went to the hospital to get checked out. The modest hero praised her six-year-old daughter for managing to keep her two-year-old brother safe during the ordeal. “Between me screaming into the phone that I needed help and me screaming to the kids what I needed them to do to get them out, I was also turning around and screaming to my son not to come because it wasn’t safe. He was very scared and repeatedly tried to run to me on the pier” she said “My daughter would pick him up and take him back to the sand and she was so calm and I’m extremely proud of her, she did a great job.”

Manistee City Police Chief Josh Glass said “Thankfully, all parties involved sustained minor injuries, but without the actions of this heroic young lady could have easily turned out differently. Especially being a father of young children, it’s extremely impressive the way this young lady called to action without hesitation and I think it’s pretty obvious what would have happened if she wasn’t there.”

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