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3 days 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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1 week 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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2 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Veterans United Gives Homes To Veterans

Veterans United Gives Homes To Veterans

The nation’s top Veterans Administration-affiliated home lender launched a national campaign to highlight vets and their service. With the help of actor, comedian and retired U.S. Marine Rob Riggle, Veterans United Home Loans has been giving thanks to veterans across the country by surprising them with new houses—completely paid off.

As the initiative’s first expression of gratitude, the Missouri-based lending company and its charitable foundation surprised 10 deserving Veterans with a new house each. Veterans United teamed up with Marine veteran and comedian Rob Riggle to select 10 veterans making a difference in their communities for 10 home giveaways and is donating one more to any veteran who enters for a chance to win at ThanksToVeterans.com.

Pam Swan, vice president of military relations for Veterans United Home Loans and a military spouse, got involved in efforts to support service members after getting married in 1987 and becoming aware of what “military families are lacking” and joined Veterans United in 2011. “We as a company work on improving the lives of service members, their families and their communities, and that is the core of every decision we make,” Swan said. “…Last year, we made a big statement in trying to say thank you on Veterans Day in a more spectacular way.”

The donations were a complete surprise to those selected, who were all in the process of applying for home loans and were just recently approved. Winning recipients were Army Veteran Jonathon Brown, eight-year U.S. Navy veteran and single dad Andre H. from North Carolina; Vietnam Army vet Jim L. from New Mexico, who needed a wheelchair-accessible home; U.S. Army veteran and father of three Daniel G. from New York; U.S. Navy veteran, widow and mother of three Regina L. from Georgia; and Marine Corps veteran Iraq vet Samuel T. from California, who teaches local self-defense classes.

“Our #ThanksToVeterans campaign underscores the daily commitment of veterans as local leaders, dedicated volunteers, and exemplary neighbors. And what better way to thank these deserving individuals than by giving them houses of their very own in the communities they call home?” said Swan

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2 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on NYC 11 Year Old Is Helping Shelter Dogs Get Adopted

NYC 11 Year Old Is Helping Shelter Dogs Get Adopted

An 11-year-old boy in Bronx, NY, is this year’s ASPCA Kid of the Year because of his efforts to help socialize shelter dogs at Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC). Evan Bisnauth leads a busy life in the Bronx, but he doesn’t let his many interests — or even a pandemic — deter him from his primary passion: helping socialize adoptable dogs by reading to them regularly.

In the summer of 2019 Evan’s mom, Amanda Persaud, heard about Books With Boroughbreds, an Animal Care Center program that encourages children to enhance their reading skills by reading to abandoned dogs. She took the bus with her son the following weekend from their home in the Bronx to the shelter in Manhattan. “I spent five hours reading to every dog on the first day,” said Evan, who is now in sixth grade. “After that, I wanted to go every weekend.”

He also creates amusing animations of ACC’s adoptable animals to help them get attention and ultimately be placed in safe and loving homes. When the coronavirus pandemic put his Saturday visits on hold last year, Evan decided to start a Facebook page, EB and the Pets, where he could post short videos he’d made of dogs that needed homes. The shelter supplied Evan with photos of dogs that were most in need of adoption and he got to work making videos with help from an app.

Evan also came up with the idea of interviewing shelter dogs to show their personality to potential adopters. “During COVID, I was not able to go in person and I needed to find a fun way to showcase the dogs and put them in a positive light. It’s like a little show. I’d ask them questions about themselves so people could see how they behave, what they like…information about them,” he said. “So I couldn’t be there, but I could get them the exposure they need.”

The ASPCA announced the recipients of the 2021 Humane Awards, an event to honor people and pets from across the nation who have made outstanding contributions to animal welfare. Evan was named Kid of the Year and was among other ASPCA award winners at a virtual luncheon to celebrate their commitment to animal welfare. “It makes me feel really good … but it also makes me want to do so much more,” he said. He said he hopes the award might inspire other people his age to help shelter animals in their own communities. “Helping dogs has brought me a lot of happiness. If everybody would read to dogs and try to get them adopted, think how much difference that would make in the world.”

Adoptions of shelter animals increased during the pandemic as more people stayed home, and in some cities, there was actually a shortage of adoptable dogs for a time. Some 90 percent of dogs adopted during the pandemic have remained in their adoptive homes. Evan’s crusade to help dogs in New York City has helped raise awareness and make older or unsociable dogs more adoptable, said Risa Weinstock, president and CEO of Animal Care Center.

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2 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on 13-year-old Uses His Make-A-Wish To Feed Homeless

13-year-old Uses His Make-A-Wish To Feed Homeless

A 13-year-old boy in Jackson, Mississippi used his Make-A-Wish to feed homeless people.
Abraham Olagbegi was born with a rare blood disorder and needed a bone marrow transplant.
His transplant was successful and he was later contacted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which gifts children with life-threatening illnesses a granted wish. Despite the allure of getting something epic for himself, he thought the money and opportunity would be better spent on other people.

Abraham decided he wanted a long-lasting wish. “I remember we were coming home from one of his doctor appointments and he said, ‘Mom, I thought about it, and I really want to feed the homeless,” Abraham’s mom, Miriam Olagbegi said. The Foundation was more than happy to oblige Abraham in his wish and they set up a stall in Jackson, Mississippi to hand out free food to homeless people as well as supplies donated from local businesses.

In September, Make-A-Wish helped Abraham organize a day to hand out free food in Jackson, Mississippi. Abraham’s wish is still not fulfilled. Make-A-Wish will help Abraham feed the homeless once a month for one year. Abraham and his family are scheduled to host the event every third Saturday of each month. The Mississippi chapter has pledged to help Abraham by seeking out local businesses that can offer assistance and food to serve up to 80 people.

After Make-A-Wish finishes his wish in August 2022, Abraham plans to continue helping the homeless. He already has a name for the nonprofit, “Abraham’s Table.” “We’re just very excited to be able to continue on this endeavor. It’s just so rewarding,” his mom said. “If I was out there on the streets, homeless, I would want somebody at some point to think of me and to do something special for me. So, that’s what I try to instill in my kids and we just try to pay it forward, by doing what we were raised to do.”

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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Anti Food Waste App Too Good To Go Now Serves Los Angeles

Anti Food Waste App Too Good To Go Now Serves Los Angeles

Too Good To Go, the company behind its namesake app for reducing food waste added Los Angeles to its list of cities in the US over the summer. Founded in 2016 in Copenhagen, and now in 15 countries, Too Good To Go saves more than 200,000 meals every day. Since the US launch 10 months ago, the app has amassed more than one million users and over 6,000 partners in cities across the US, including, New York City, Boston, Washington, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Austin, and Atlanta.

Co founder Lucie Basch said “We throw away one-third of the food we produce each year. That’s $1.3 trillion worth of food that gets tossed. Food waste is responsible for 8% of greenhouse gas emissions. It has great consequences both on the environment and the economy. And socially speaking, it’s absurd to throw away the food we produce when we know today that 870 million people are underfed.”

The app connects consumers to surplus food from restaurants, bakeries, cafes and grocery stores at the end of each business day. Customers browse participating locations and can reserve and pay for a “surprise bag” on the app and head to the store during the pick-up window, which is based on each location’s closing time. There’s no fee to use the app on either end.

Basch said “Most stores do not want to run out of fresh food, so they over produce and then have waste. The app allows stores to update the amount of surplus they have in real-time, based on how sales are going throughout the day. The contents of the bag vary daily, but the consumer has an idea of what the bag will contain based on the type of food sold at the location. It’s really this win-win concept where the store doesn’t throw away food anymore and people can save food while getting three times the value of what they paid for,” Ms. Basch said. “I believe the best way to fight big causes like food waste is to make everyone part of the solution.”

The small volumes of food that stores have at the end of the day cannot effectively be redistributed to food banks or homeless shelters. The food is safe and ready for eating, but not sellable the next day. Too Good To Go fills the gap in high-density, urban areas by making it easy for consumers to pick up this surplus. The app is very straightforward, the buyer pays $4 to $6 for the bag and the store fills it with products valued at three times the price. The app takes a commission of $1.79 on every transaction, with the rest paid to the seller.

Now in 15 international markets including France, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands. Too Good To Go has quickly become the go-to for conscious consumers and businesses around the world, resulting in more than 37 million app downloads and over 72 million meals saved to date. Plans are to be in many of the largest US cities by the end of 2021.

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4 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Army Veteran Donated 36 Acres For Veterans Treatment

Army Veteran Donated 36 Acres For Veterans Treatment

US Army veteran Marty Weber donated 36 rural acres to help veterans with PTSD and addiction issues. The land bordering New Jersey’s Pinelands National Reserve will be used as a rehabilitation center/retreat for mental illness and addiction. Up to 30 percent of American veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and 14 percent suicides in the U.S. every year are vets. Many veterans also struggle with homelessness and addiction.

Weber lost his longtime partner Jeff Poissant, who was also an Army Veteran, to bladder cancer in 2017. They had purchased the property in October 1994 and had always envisioned somehow using their Ocean County Ponderosa to help fellow veterans. Weber felt compelled to realize that dream following Poissant’s death to honor their 30 year union. “We thought about a cemetery for the vets but this is going to keep them alive,” he said.

Working with two already-established homeless outreach programs—Just Believe and New Life Addiction Services—Jeff’s Camp will feature an 8,000-square-foot facility incorporating a thrift store and a sober living residence providing treatment, rehabilitation, and vocational training—all in a serene, wooded setting. As New Life does at its existing facility, it would provide initial week-long detoxification care, followed by an intensive outpatient recovery program of three hours a day once the veterans move into the residence elsewhere on the property, said the company’s co-founder and administrator Joel Albano.

Just Believe director Paul Hulse said “While New Life is working with them on the medical side, we can work on the rehabilitative/vocation side, getting them back into society, touching people, getting back into that public eye, and getting people what they need. That’s what the store is going to do. The thrift store, like one already operated by Just Believe in Toms River, would employ the veterans living on the property, stocking and selling the donated clothing and other merchandise, as a means of reintegrating them into society through regular work and interaction with the public” Hulse said. The estimated cost of the project is $2.5 million, which Hulse hopes to raise through private contributions and grants.

Weber attributes Poissant’s death to delays in receiving medical care from the Veterans Administration. He said he and Poissant both experienced firsthand some of the challenges military veterans can face. “Our government is not taking good enough care of our vets,” said Weber. “I have to do what I can in Jeff’s memory to help make things right. Weber turned down a $3 million offer for the commercially and residentially zoned property by a developer in order to make Jeff’s Camp a reality.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on New Jersey Brothers Raise $70K for Restaurant Workers

New Jersey Brothers Raise $70K for Restaurant Workers

Two New Jersey brothers, Aiden and Louis Ardine set out to walk 3,200 miles across America to raise money for restaurant workers stuck at home during COVID. The two, who are former bartenders, hoped to raise $30,000 for some charities that were helping restaurant workers waiting for restrictions to end, but ended up making $70,000—which they distributed to the COCO Fund and the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation.

Both experienced the stresses of working in a bar during the pandemic firsthand. While they had the privilege of being able to provide for themselves after being laid off, many of their friends and family did not find themselves in the same situation. They decided to give back to the industry that they loved being a part of by shining a light on an issue important to them by sharing stories of individuals they meet along the road to raise awareness and funds for restaurant workers across the country.

They have now completed their five-month walkabout which started on the Asbury Park boardwalk in New Jersey on May 1st. “It’s been an extremely difficult year and a half, and you don’t know the obstacles people have faced and the challenges they’re still dealing with,” Aiden says. “We realized that we could walk across America and sort of pursue this challenge for ourselves, learning about America and helping people in the service industry. It was super important for us.”

At every step of the journey, they were meeting the people they’re helping and hearing their stories of strength and resilience. Verizon heard about the endeavor and launched a donation drive in support of the Ardines, who passed through 11 states over the course of 162 days, 12,000 feet in various elevation changes, and about 80 degrees in temperature variation before the job was done.

“This would not have been possible without the help of a huge community of people, whether people were donating or helping us navigate our way across the United States.” Aiden Ardine said. “This was definitely an adventure founded in a very hopeful notion about America, and it confirmed our suspicion that people are inherently good and want to help their neighbors.”

Their trip, which was documented on social media, was filled with stunning scenery, long roads, and helpful strangers. From the man who passed them in the searing heat of summer in Iowa, before doubling back and giving them a cold Gatorade to a Nevada campground manager who let them stay for free. When they reached San Francisco, their supporters were waiting for them on the beach. Afterwards they flew home along with their mom who had been in San Francisco to meet them at the end of their trek.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Navy Veteran Becomes Unlikely Tiktok Star When His Scooter Breaks Down

Navy Veteran Becomes Unlikely Tiktok Star When His Scooter Breaks Down

A 79-year-old Navy veteran, Kenny Jary, known for riding a patriotic scooter around Mahtomedi, MN has become very popular on TikTok. His neighbor Amanda Kline helped him set up a tiktok account, @patrioticKenny and he posted a few videos. Just a week later, his mobility scooter broke down leaving him heart broken. Kline posted a video of him talking about how sad he was that his scooter broke down but the two were about to find out just how wonderful his new community is.

“He was so sad and upset, I just decided to post a little video,” Kline said. “Honestly, I was thinking, if we got lucky, maybe he’d get like a hundred dollars off a scooter or something.”
In the video Jary explains “You know I met some beautiful people on this scooter by traveling around, the coffee shop and Veteran’s Park and I met Amanda, Jenny, and Jerry and that’s when I start to cry… because that’s how I met them,” Kenny says in the video. The video garnered millions of views on TikTok so Amanda launched a GoFundMe page to buy Kenny a new scooter.

Within hours, his newfound social media community raised $5,000, enough to pay for two new scooters. When Amanda told Kenny the good news, he broke down in tears. She posted another video of Kenny’s reaction. “I didn’t think it would get $1,000,” Jary said. “Look what happened? I am so honored. My angels took care of me. I could not believe it,” Jary said. “I laid on the floor and just bawled because I’m an emotional person, so I’m so happy.” And the love just keeps coming. Kenny now has more than 650,000 followers on TikTok, and his GoFundMe fundraiser has surpassed $111,000.

In addition to a new scooter, the donations will help Kenny get some new teeth, move into a safer home, and pay off debt. But Kenny also wanted to pay it forward to other vets in need. Using the extra money raised by his fundraiser, he’s purchasing scooters for other veterans in need. But when he invited people to nominate a veteran to receive a scooter, he received more than 500 submissions.

So, with Amanda’s help, Kenny launched a GoFundMe page to raise more money to meet the demand. The fundraiser states “Every donation made here will go directly to purchasing free scooters for veterans. You’ve seen how happy Kenny’s new scooter made him. We want to be able to put that type of smile on the faces of even more of those who have served our country with such dedication and honor.”

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Homecoming Queen Gives Crown To Friend Who Just Lost Mom To Cancer

Homecoming Queen Gives Crown To Friend Who Just Lost Mom To Cancer

An emotional moment has gone viral of a homecoming queen giving her crown away to a classmate who lost her mother to cancer. Nyla Covington, a senior at Forrest County Agricultural High School, was voted homecoming queen by fellow students in late September. But after receiving the honor, Nyla decided to give the crown to another student, Brittany Walters, after her mother reportedly passed away from cancer that day.

Nyla is given the crown and then she gave the crown to Brittany Walters, another nominee on the homecoming court, who just hours prior had lost her mother to cancer. Photos show Brittany Walters dissolving into tears as Covington turned to her to place the crown on her friend. “The entire crowd was shocked and crying. I just felt like it was something that was put on my heart. It was really just for her, to bring up her day a little bit, and she’d rather have her mom than a crown… but the point was, I was telling her that she was her mom’s queen and I was just letting her know that she was loved by many and especially me” Covington said.

Brittany’s mother was not only a parent at the school but was also a part of the school staff, working in the office as secretary. It was an emotional day for the entire community. The community rallied to get Brittany there even though her mother died hours before because it was her mother, A.J. ‘s last wish to cheer for her daughter on the field. Brittany said her mother A.J. Walters didn’t want her to miss the special day of homecoming, despite the circumstances.

Her father, Sean Walters, also accompanied her to homecoming. He said he made a promise to his wife he would be by Brittany’s side. “A.J. made me promise her that I was going to come out here with Brittany because she didn’t want to ruin her day, her homecoming day. She said that’s something she’ll remember for the rest of her life,” Sean said.

After the story gained attention on social media, both Nyla and Brittany said they have received countless support. The school principal said he hopes Nyla’s beautiful notion on homecoming night inspires others. “We hope that Nyla’s selfless act will be a light for the rest of society,” Wheat said. “So, we’re very proud of her and her giving nature.”

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