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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Freshman Basketball Team’s Misdial Ends With Facetiming Tom Brady

Freshman Basketball Team’s Misdial Ends With Facetiming Tom Brady

When the freshmen basketball team at Notre Dame Prep in Pontiac, Michigan, made a group text to coordinate practices, a teammate added the wrong number, resulting in an unforgettable exchange. Teammate Vinny Tartaglia meant to add his teammate Luca but was one digit off, accidentally adding the number of Buc’s cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting.

Jason Whalen, whose son is on the team, wrote about the exchange on Twitter. Murphy-Bunting responded to the group text. “Did you mean to add me to this group?….this is Sean. Do you know who I am?” Whalen explained that the boys thought their teammate was messing with them. Murphy-Bunting sent a selfie in the Bucs locker room but even with a selfie, the boys still thought that this might be a prank from one of their teammates.

To prove his identity to the disbelieving teenagers, Murphy-Bunting switched over to FaceTime, and introduced the shocked students to some of his teammates, including tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receiver Mike Evans, running back Leonard Fournette and Tom Brady. “Leonard Fournette walked us through the locker room and showed us all the players,” said Tartaglia’s teammate Nate Seaman. “Sean Murphy-Bunting, Mike Evans, Lavonte Davis, Gronk, Richard Sherman. That’s when we all said, where’s the GOAT?”

Leonard Fournette turned the phone over to Tom Brady, who had finished up a meeting. Brady,
a Michigan alumni himself, talked about the impromptu exchange with ESPN news “That was fun. That was really fun. It was really good to see all those young kids hyped up. I didn’t know who it was.[Leonard said, ‘Here’s my boy’ or whatever he said. It was nice. It would have been nice for me when I was in high school too.”

Wrong numbers and misdials happen to everyone and sometimes end up a funny story to tell but most are usually forgettable. For the members of the boys’ freshmen basketball team at Notre Dame Prep in Pontiac, Michigan-this one will likely be passed down to their grandkids.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Orlando’s Night of A Million Lights Holiday Tour is Back

Orlando’s Night of A Million Lights Holiday Tour is Back

The Night of A Million Lights is a holiday light show spectacular that delights thousands of visitors and raises millions to give sick children and their weary families a vacation. ‘Give Kids The World Village’ has launched their second annual holiday lights extravaganza, running until Jan. 2. The show began as an innovative pandemic pivot for raising funds but has become a holiday tradition.

More than 92,000 guests attended Night of a Million Lights in 2020, named by USA TODAY the “Number One Thing To Do In Orlando In December.” The display features 1.25M linear feet of lights, including 3.2 million lights that were donated by Walt Disney World. Last year’s event grossed $2.8 million to make wishes come true for children struggling with illness and their families.

Since 1986, Give Kids The World Village has welcomed nearly 177,000 families from all 50 states and more than 76 countries. When wish-granting organizations receive a request from a critically ill child who wants to visit Central Florida (or Disney World), Give Kids The World fulfills the wish – providing every child and his/her family with an all-inclusive dream vacation that includes transportation; accommodations in one of the Village’s 166 storybook villas; all meals and snacks; donated theme park tickets; nightly entertainment; daily gifts; and priceless experiences at the Village, featuring accessible rides and attractions.

For 52 nights the open house will once again provide the public with a rare glimpse inside Give Kids The World Village, an 89-acre, whimsical nonprofit resort that provides critically ill children with magical weeklong wish vacations at no cost. Tickets, which start at $25 but vary depending on the date and special add-ons, such as dessert parties, enable guests to immerse themselves in an exquisitely decorated fairytale neighborhood—the place where wish families call home during their stays. All proceeds from Night of a Million Lights will support Give Kids The World, rated Four Stars by Charity Navigator 15 years in a row.

Guests can explore a sparkling tree trail, take photos at one-of-a-kind step-in frames and backdrops, and enjoy a guided storytelling tour of 100 magnificently lit villas from the comfort of a tram—all of which are included in the price of the ticket.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on 8 Year old Is Selling Cupcakes To Buy Gifts For Foster Kids

8 Year old Is Selling Cupcakes To Buy Gifts For Foster Kids

An 8 year old Texas girl is selling cupcakes to buy Christmas Gifts for Foster Kids. Summer Linn, of Pearland, TX wants to help those who might feel like no one cares about them feel “wanted and loved” this holiday season. She has set out to help foster kids who feel left out this holiday season.

An avid baker and a kind soul, Summer wanted to give back – she chose foster children because she knows that it’s harder for Santa to find the foster children. “He’s very busy,” she said. “They get moved a lot. They’re special no matter what anyone says or does. Seriously. They deserve a good Christmas. They need a good home.”

That’s when she decided to start her own non-profit where she bakes cupcakes in order to raise money to buy toys for children in foster care. During Thanksgiving break, Summer set up shop close to a shopping center and had plenty of cupcakes ready for everyone passing by, one box for $5. She prepared no less than 2,063 cupcakes in her first batch!

Summer’s parents know how much this means because like the foster kids that Summer helps, her own mother also spent several years in foster care and knows how lonely and isolating it can be. Her mom, Max, was in and out of foster care for seven years as a child. “Thanksgiving and Christmas, when it’s supposed to be a time with family, you feel unwanted and unloved. Because again, you’re a foster kid,” Max recalls.

So far she has made a whopping 10,063 cupcakes and is using all of the money to buy children’s toys. “They deserve something that makes them feel wanted and loved because they are.” Summer is doing what she can to help a few foster kids have a great holiday. The third grader has now adopted 13 foster kids, whom she sends gifts and letters.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Customer Surprises Favorite Dunkin Employee With Furnished Home

Customer Surprises Favorite Dunkin Employee With Furnished Home

When Suzanne Burke of Cincinnati Ohio learned her favorite Dunkin’ Donuts employee had been evicted, she wanted to help. Burke and Johnson’s friendship first started three years ago in the Dunkin’ drive-thru line. “I go every morning. Ebony has worked at the drive-thru for three years and really has provided amazing customer service.”

After noticing that Johnson was not working her usual shift for a few weeks, she reached out to her to make sure everything was okay. She learned that Johnson, a mother of three, had been evicted from her Mount Healthy home and had nowhere to live. Burke knew she had to do something to help. “I just wanted to see if I could help her just improve her life and the life of her kids. ” Burke said.

With assistance from local nonprofit organizations and designers, Burke was able to surprise Johnson and her kids with a new, fully-furnished home — just in time for the holidays. She called New Life Furniture Bank, a gently-used furnishing bank for those in need, and staging designer Jo Potvin of Design to Market for help. Potvin and the local organization ended up working together to fully furnish and decorate the new home for Johnson and her kids so that it was move-in ready.

The final result was unveiled to Johnson and her family and the emotional moment was captured by a local news organization. “Thank y’all so much,” Johnson said through tears. “Thank you so much for helping me.” Ebony told the news station “The Lord really looked out for me because I kept praying and saying ‘can I be at home before Christmas?” Ebony and her three young kids all shared smiles, tears and excitement during the unveiling.

Potvin said she couldn’t think of a better time to have surprised Johnson. “It’s the perfect time of the year to feel like you’re spreading joy” Potvin told the station. Executive director of New Life Furniture Bank, Dana Saxton shared the same sentiment. “It’s as much a gift for us as it is for them, to be able to provide this for them,” Saxton said.

New Life Furniture Bank also shared the happy moment in a Facebook post. “We’re so pleased to partner with Jo Potvin and her talented design team at Design to Market Home Staging to make Ebony’s family feel LOVED during the holiday season. Ebony, a hardworking mom and beloved Dunkin’ employee… found herself homeless. A group of caring people in our community worked together to make sure Ebony and her kids are living in a warm and comfortable home -just in time for Christmas.”

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on North Carolina Nonprofit Helping Low Income Residents with Home Repairs

North Carolina Nonprofit Helping Low Income Residents with Home Repairs

Mark and Kenda Mullert, owners of Black Mountain Handyman, Inc in Black Mountain NC saw a need for help with home repairs in their community and set out to help. Mark had already been helping people who could not afford desperately needed home repairs and had seen houses with debilitating damages, a problem all too common for low-income and older members of the Swannanoa Valley community.

When he made a facebook post to “Nominate a Neighbor” he realized the need was greater than he thought. “I thought ‘Oh we’ll get 10 people, five people, I don’t know how many,'” Mullert said. “We ended up getting over 60 people who needed help.” He took off work from Thanksgiving to Christmas, taking his crew of five to address the most urgent needs for three weeks. He hated having to pick and choose which projects to tackle, but it opened his eyes to the serious need in the area.

Along with his wife, Kenda, Mullert invited business owners, building contractors and anyone who was interested to meet in 2019 to figure out how to create an organization, that could do the work so many people required while maintaining affordability. They saw momentum with the amount of businesses that were willing to help. In May 2020, Mullert organized another meeting and determined what was necessary to create a nonprofit, a means to raise funds and funnel the money to contractors to get the repair work done. Mullert chose five people with specific skills to function as the board, asking Ben Fortson to act as the leader of Hammer & Heart.

“We need folks who are in our community, who can see the home repair issues and send them our way,” Fortson said. Originally starting in Black Mountain, Fortson said the organization expanded its reach to the entire Swannanoa Valley after conducting research on what areas were most in need of assistance. He said repairs are not limited to a specific area and can include electrical issues, plumbing, roof work, accessibility concerns or anything else that if the problem persists, things will only get worse.

“Or it could be something that’s a hazard to their health,” Fortson said. “Maybe their heat doesn’t work. Maybe they’re elderly and the entrance to their home is rotted so it’s a struggle for them to get in and out of their home.” Fortson said often, these sorts of homeowners need help but don’t know where to ask for it. Through a careful vetting process, Hammer & Heart determines where the need is for applicants and how to best provide assistance. Their mission is to provide urgent home repairs to neighbors of the Swannanoa Valley who are financially unable to maintain their homes in a safe or livable condition. Local businesses and volunteers are vital to their efforts to better their community.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Former Grocer Has Organized Community Thanksgiving Dinner for 51 Years

Former Grocer Has Organized Community Thanksgiving Dinner for 51 Years

Bob Vogelbaugh is known around Moline, Illinois, as “Mr. Thanksgiving,” and for good reason — since 1970, he has organized community dinners on Thanksgiving for anyone who wants to break bread and celebrate the holiday. Vogelbaugh used to own a grocery store called Bob’s Market, and when he learned that 91-year-old customer Rose Hanson had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving, he quickly set up a dinner for her and eight other elderly people he knew, serving turkey and the trimmings in the back of his store.

Hanson died just a few weeks later, and Vogelbaugh said he initially thought it would be a one-time only thing, but Rose changed that. “I didn’t want people to be alone” he said. The dinner grew every year, and has changed venues to accommodate more people. For the last 30 years, Vogelbaugh and volunteers have been holding the feast at SouthPark Mall, with thousands of people typically showing up.

Every year, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, Vogelbaugh hosts a free Thanksgiving dinner. “It’s not a charity dinner, it’s a community dinner” he said. “It’s just a Thanksgiving gathering of friends and people you don’t know and some people have become friends through this over the years.” Vogelbaugh is retired from the grocery business, and now focuses on fundraising throughout the year to pay for the dinner. “I used to have a live band and then there was dancing. Then I went to a DJ, and so it was really a Thanksgiving party,” he said of previous years.

The past two years with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Vogelbaugh kept his tradition going but switched things up. Instead of hosting a seated dinner, Vogelbaugh and his volunteers set enough for people last year with many families not getting together because of the COVID outbrup tables outside so people could drive over and pick up meals. “I figured that it was hard eak and stuff, and so I thought we’re gonna go ahead and we’ll do a drive by,” he said.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on “Thanksgiving Grandma” Wanda and Jamal Celebrate Thanksgiving for Sixth Year

“Thanksgiving Grandma” Wanda and Jamal Celebrate Thanksgiving for Sixth Year

Thursday marked the sixth Thanksgiving for Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench – the pair who met after a Thanksgiving Day invite was accidentally sent to the wrong number over text message. The two first met in 2016 when Dench, from Mesa, Az., sent a text inviting Hinton over for dinner. It was meant for her grandson, who had changed his phone number. Instead, Hinton, who was 17 at the time, got the message while sitting in class at Desert Vista High School.

Hinton replied” You’re not my grandma,” with a laughing emoji. He then sent back a selfie so Dench knew he was not her grandson and asked if he could stop by for dinner anyway. Dench welcomed him with open arms. “Of course you can. That’s what grandmas do … feed everyone” Dench texted. The former strangers have been sharing the holiday ever since with Hinton documenting the holiday each year on his social media.

Hinton had told his social media followers last week that the two would be celebrating the day together again. “We are all set for year 6!” he wrote, alongside a picture of a text message from Dench inviting him, his girlfriend Mikaela and his family over. He also included a photo of himself, Dench, Mikaela and Dench’s late husband Lonnie, who died in April 2020 after a battle with Covid-19.

Last year, Hinton posted a video on YouTube documenting the 2020 dinner he and Mikaela shared with Dench – months after Dench’s husband Lonnie died. “I want to say thank you to all of the people that sent their blessings and their condolences and their well wishes for me,” Dench said in the video. It’s still going to take a lot of time…but when I get visits from these guys, it really perks me up,” she said.

Since their story went viral in 2016 Dench gets recognized as “Thanksgiving Grandma.” The two have celebrated more than just Thanksgiving together; Christmas, birthdays, and exciting new opportunities have come their way. They also shared their losses together. Wanda credits social media for helping her through the loss of her husband as well. “I get so many people giving condolences, and they’re so genuine and so uplifting,” she said.

Dench said it’s been an amazing journey. “I would have missed out on a wonderful relationship,” Dench said, when asked what would have happened if she hadn’t invited Hinton over years ago. “I’ve changed my view so much on the younger generation, and now that I’ve reflected back on all these years, I didn’t change their life; they changed mine.”
Hinton said Dench is an amazing person and he is blessed to have met her.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Florida Man Takes Children Without Father Figures On Fishing Excursions

Florida Man Takes Children Without Father Figures On Fishing Excursions

Eleven years ago, William “Big Will” Dunn set out on a mission to help a young child growing up without a father figure. He turned to the one thing that brought him peace as a kid: fishing. Since then, Dunn has dedicated his life to helping foster children and those who are growing up without a father figure by taking them on fishing excursions in Clearwater, Florida, through his nonprofit Take a Kid Fishing Inc.

Dunn has worked with thousands of children as part of the fishing program, but it all started with one very important child: Cameron Delong, who was 8 years old at the time. “I saw this young boy that was frustrated and showed anger. I didn’t know why until I found out his father was not in his life.” Eventually, Dunn approached Delong’s mom and asked if he could take him fishing.

“I knew how special it was when my dad took me,” Dunn said. “Just being out on the water is like being out on another world. I can’t explain it.” Dunn admitted that he had a “rough upbringing in Miami,” but saw fishing as an escape. It was the very thing that “relieved all anxiety and stress that I had built up through the day,” he said. Suddenly, Dunn started to see a positive change in Delong. He started doing better in school, showing more respect to his mom, and “just becoming more of a man of the household because his dad was still not in his life,” Dunn said. “I’d get off of work at 5 and he’d be over the house loading fishing rods in the back of my truck,” Dunn said. “We fished a lot. Two to three days a week plus the weekends.”

After seeing the change in Delong’s life, Dunn said it became his life calling to help other kids that are fatherless. He began reaching out to foster homes and started taking groups of 20 to 25 kids on a fishing charter out of Clearwater, Florida, every Saturday. He did so out of his own pocket. “We take them out, show them a good day and spend time with them and everything,” he said. “Just to get out of the boat you see the difference in them.”

Three years ago, Take a Kid Fishing Inc. formally became a nonprofit, allowing Dunn to accept donations. According to Dunn’s website, the excursions teach children “life skills and responsibility inside and outside of the classroom” such as learning patience, teamwork, and how to relax and avoid making harsh and rash decisions.

The program uses social media and a media campaign to raise awareness of the program on local and statewide levels, and to organize fundraising events to provide funds necessary for operations of the program. “Fishing also teaches them to support each other whether they win or lose (catch a fish or not),” his website says. Over the past 11 years, Dunn says these children have become a part of his family and he continues to go out on the water with Delong, who is now 19 and views Dunn as a father figure.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Chef David Hertz Is Using Food to Inspire Social Change

Chef David Hertz Is Using Food to Inspire Social Change

Chef David Hertz is a world leader in turning food into social change. For David Hertz, food is more than sustenance, it’s a social-bonding tool. Through his non-profit, Gastromotiva, he’s found a way to empower the world’s poorest citizens. Gastromotiva provides free courses in restaurant cooking, kitchen-assistant training and food entrepreneurship, all with a focus on nutrition. Students apply online, and after they finish the program, they not only find jobs, but often start their own restaurants and soup kitchens.

Hertz was 18 when he started his journey, travelling to the Hatzerim kibbutz to live among native Israelis and Jews from all over the world. “I discovered myself and then I hit the world. Israel was my freedom,” he said. “I had the first vision that there was a bigger world and that I could search for my story, whatever it was. What was supposed to be a one-year trip abroad turned into seven.”

Between the ages of 18 and 25, he visited Thailand, China, Vietnam, India, England and Canada. He took his first cooking lesson in Thailand and discovered the ritual side of cooking in India. When he hit Toronto and started to work in the food delivery industry, he became inspired to become a chef, so he moved back to Brazil to attend a college of gastronomy in Sao Paulo.

In 2004, he was invited to design a kitchen project inside the Jaguare favela — one of Brazil’s many low-income shantytowns plagued with urban violence and drug trafficking, and historically neglected by the government. “When I stepped into that kitchen, I saw a new world,” Hertz said. “I was inspired to do something to contribute to the reduction of violence and to share my knowledge with the young people there, who at many times felt lost, with no relation of belonging to the space. It became my life project, my mission.”

The next year, he decided to create a school focused on training upcoming chefs from low-income areas, which are often plagued by malnutrition and food shortages. His organization, called Gastromotiva, runs a network of what they call Solidarity Kitchens, of which there are now 55 across Brazil and three in Mexico. He won the 2019 Charles Bronfman Prize, which honors innovative work grounded in Jewish values. He’s also worked closely with the United Nations’ World Food Program, which won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize. They have been partners in many efforts to combat global hunger, with the latest focused on alleviating the hunger crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of the Solidarity Kitchens are based out of the homes of alumni, as well as partnerships with local homeless charities and food banks. Together, they have distributed almost 80,000 free meals to hungry families. By the end of 2021, the number of Solidarity Kitchens will nearly double to 108, including some in other countries in Latin America. “Combating hunger and food waste are global challenges that require joint action. Collaborating with each other, we multiply our impact on the world. I wonder how to feed humanity with humanity,” he said

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Plastic Surgeon Has Performed Over 32,000 Free Surgeries

Plastic Surgeon Has Performed Over 32,000 Free Surgeries

A world renowned plastic surgeon and his team have performed over 32,000 free cleft-palate surgeries to help children smile again. Dr. Subodh Kumar Singh established GS Memorial Plastic Surgery Hospital in the memory of his father to provide state of the art reconstructive plastic surgery to the needy patients at a very affordable cost. The hospital partnered with Smile Train, a charity providing corrective surgery for children with cleft lips and palates.

Dr Singh came from humble beginnings and lost his father when he was 13 years old. After his father’s death, his family lived in extreme poverty. He and his older siblings sold homemade soaps to help support the family. In 1982 his older brothers pitched in to pay for Singh’s medical entrance exams. He went on to earn an M.B.B.S (an international medical degree equivalent to an M.D. in the US) from Banaras Hindu University in 1988, a Master of Surgery in 1991 and a Master of Chirurgiae in plastic surgery in 1994.

Dr. Singh said since around 2008-2009 they have performed over 4,000 free cleft surgeries under the Smile Train initiative. Thousands of other cleft surgeries have been performed at his center under his leadership. Cleft palate is a common birth condition. It can occur alone or as part of a genetic condition/syndrome. Symptoms arise from the opening in the mouth, causing difficulty in speaking and eating. Repairing a cleft lip or palate can sometimes require multiple surgeries depending on the patient.

Dr Singh is a global trainer and speaker under the Smile Train initiative. His hospital in Varanasi has become a major centre where surgeons across the world come to train in cleft lip-palate surgeries. Dr. Singh and his team have also performed 6,000 free extensive burn surgeries. His efforts inspired the making of Burned Girl (2015), the National Geographic documentary that won international awards for detailing the life of nine-year-old Ragini, whose childhood burns were treated surgically by Dr. Singh.

Singh said every child he has operated on reminds him of himself when he was a child. His service to the poor has earned him wide recognition. He was among celebrated guests at the 2009 Academy Awards and the central court for the 2013 Wimbledon Men Singles Final. “My father Gyan Singh and mother Giriraj Kumari (she died last year) taught me to serve the poor and live ethically. I feel God made me a plastic surgeon and not a businessman to serve a divine cause.”

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