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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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7 days 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 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on California Teen Invents Fire Suppression Device To Help Save Homes From Wildfires

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.”

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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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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 Missouri Teens Hailed Heroes For Saving Woman During Flash Flooding

Missouri Teens Hailed Heroes For Saving Woman During Flash Flooding

Two Missouri teens are being hailed heroes for saving a woman from drowning after a June storm dumped six inches of rain over Columbia, Missouri with little warning. The fast moving storm caused flash flooding with creek waters bursting their banks, causing overflow zones to turn into ponds.

Boyscouts Joseph Diener, 16, and Dominic Viet, 15, were exploring the scene of their hometown to survey the damage after the massive rainfall flooded parts of the city. The two, along with a few other friends, were biking past a basketball court when they heard someone calling for help. The group of teens saw a woman in a bathing suit, clinging to a basketball hoop that was nearly entirely submerged in the floodwaters. The young woman was desperately trying to keep her head above water under the force of a current.

The two took “about 30 seconds” to realize they had to take action, Joseph said. There was a small group of people gathered near the woman already, Dominic said. “We didn’t have time to think, her head was barely above the water and we could see her sinking more down every second. We didn’t think about the risks, we had to get her out.” The two teens hoisted her up onto their shoulders because her legs were cramping. “There were some currents trying to pull us down too, because — I don’t know —it’s not normal water,” Dominic said.

The two were able to get her to solid ground where she started throwing up water. Emergency services arriving at someone else’s call performed first aid and rushed her to the hospital. Assistant Fire Chief Jerry Jenkins described the boys’ act as heroic and brave, as did Dominic’s mother Monica Viet, who had been calling her son to warn him of another storm rolling through and was growing nervous. She sent her husband to where they were located and when he saw the ambulance and fire truck, she said her heart sank. “You know, my mind went to the place where he was the one who was injured,” she said. “I didn’t realize that he was out there saving somebody! But then he saw them on their bikes heading back to their friend’s house, and I got a text from Dominic saying ‘Coming home soon, just saved a woman’s life Mom.’”

The fire department honored the two boys with a “Citizen Life Safety Award” for their heroic rescue. Both teens are Life Scouts, which is the last level before Eagle Scout. Neither are working on any lifeguarding skills as part of their upcoming projects, but their scoutmaster, Morgan Dailey, that they might get badges for their honorary action. “There’s a heavy emphasis on being prepared and especially being prepared for emergency situations and this clearly was an emergency situation.”

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4 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Food Donations Pour In For Rescue Crew of Florida Building Collapse

Food Donations Pour In For Rescue Crew of Florida Building Collapse

As crews continue to search through the rubble of the building collapse in Surfside Florida for those still missing, a growing army of volunteers has been offering everything from water and energy drinks to pizza and deep-fried Oreos to firefighters, police officers and other rescue workers working 12-hour shifts at the site. The crews have been searching since the huge section of the Champlain Towers South building fell to the ground at around 2am on June 24th.

The community has been dropping off cases of water and food to nearby churches for distribution to the hundreds of search-and-rescue workers since the day of the collapse. At Casa Church near the disaster site, Pastor Ezequiel Fattore began with handing out a few bottles of water. His congregation pitched in and within hours he was at Costco buying $600 worth of water and food with the first donations. The donations have been flowing in ever since and the church has a side room now packed with cases of water along with a large assortment of energy drinks, bottled iced coffees and bags of chips and other snacks. As volunteers pack coolers to distribute among police and emergency crews in the area, more donations keep coming in. Fattore said he’s had heartbreaking conversations with loved ones of those dead and missing. Some members of his church have friends still unaccounted for but the outpouring of donations reaffirms his faith.

Members of the community and businesses have been steadily dropping off large orders of food to crews and some line the nearby streets handing out water and snacks to police, fire and rescue crews as they pass by. Nicolette and Patrick Daniel and her husband traveled from Texas to Florida to offer whatever assistance they could to victims’ families and emergency workers. They hired a food truck to cook 350 meals that were distributed in a parking lot of another nearby church. Daniel said she felt compelled to give back after the outpouring of support she received when her mother died suddenly a year ago. “It was the doorbell that kept ringing and the people who kept calling that kept me going,” she said.

The outpouring from the community has also been for families and victims affected by the collapse. The Shul, a community center located blocks from the scene, created a central fund to disperse money to families and victims affected by the collapse. The organization said they are overwhelmed with emergency supplies for families and has asked those who would like to support survivors to make a monetary donation. The American Red Cross is helping displaced residents find shelter and is providing them with food. The Miami Heat and several local organizations have launched a hardship fund for the victims: https://supportsurfside.org/ Neighbors 4 Neighbors along with the City of Surfside and F.R.I.E.N.D. Miami-Dade’s Long Term Disaster Recovery Group has set up a fund to assist the victims in the long term with unforeseen costs and things not covered by insurance. https://neighbors4neighbors.org/surfsidefund

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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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