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4 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Kentucky Woman Pays It Forward After Lottery Win

Kentucky Woman Pays It Forward After Lottery Win

A Kentucky woman decided to pay it forward after a lottery win by handing out gift cards to strangers. Earlier this month, Crystal Dunn of Louisville won $146,000 playing the Bank Buster Jackpot Instant Play game online after wagering just $20. A few seconds later, she got a message on her computer screen saying that she had won the progressive jackpot which starts at $100,000 and increases with each ticket purchase.

Dunn said she didn’t believe she had actually won until she received an email from the lottery officials confirming the win. “I saw that and didn’t believe it at first. It’s a pretty exciting feeling. I never thought I would win something like this, but this goes to show it can happen.” Dunn decided to pay it forward after receiving her winnings, which amounted to $103,909.73 after taxes.

After depositing the check in the bank, lottery officials said she immediately made a stop at a local Meijer grocery store where she purchased $2,000 in gift cards. She then walked around the store giving the gift cards to random strangers. Dunn said “A few were taken back, thinking I was wanting something in return. I got an unexpected gift and I believe in paying it forward and wanted to pass it along.”

Dunn told lottery officials she wanted to pay it forward and she also plans to use the remainder of winnings on things she was already working toward, such as buying a car and paying off bills. “I’ve worked hard for everything I’ve had. This is a pretty amazing gift,” she said.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Texas Bartender Given $4K Tip From Stranger

Texas Bartender Given $4K Tip From Stranger

A Texas bartender got a shock on a typical Tuesday night shift at Chances Dance Hall in Cleburne, Texas. Chelsea Lantrip, a single mom, received a $4000 tip. Lantrip said that two girls she had not seen at the bar before came in among the crowd of regulars. One of the women ordered a round of drinks for everyone at the dance hall. Bell said that their bill came to $179.50.

When it came time to pay the tab, the woman tipped Lantrip $1000. When Lantrip started to cry, the woman said ‘No, that’s not good enough,’ and raised it to $2,000,” Bell recalled. By the time that Bell ultimately picked up the receipt, the woman had increased the tip to $4,000. “I didn’t believe it until it went through the credit card machine, I still didn’t believe it until it hit the bank,” Bell said.

The owner of Chances Dance Hall said the tip was crucial because Lantrip is a single mom living paycheck to paycheck, tip to tip, without money to spare. “Her son will be heading off to Texas A&M University in the fall and while he has a scholarship and a grant to attend the college, it’s not quite enough to cover the full cost of tuition,” Senese said.

Lantrip said she’s going to take her family to dinner, pay some bills and help her son. Senese said all she knew about the two was that the woman who gave the tip received an inheritance recently and felt compelled to “tithe it to a stranger.” She expressed how grateful she was to the good Samaritan who shared her good fortune with her during what would have been a regular Tuesday shift. “I believe in guardian angels, I believe in people coming into your life at the right time that you need them. And she was definitely one of them” Lantrip said.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Facebook Post Leads to Helping Ukrainians Flee to France

Facebook Post Leads to Helping Ukrainians Flee to France

Macha Levitin, a Moscow native living in a small medieval village in France’s Burgundy region saw a photo of a man trying to board a train with his dog while fleeing the war in Ukraine. The picture was posted on an Irish setter lovers of the world Facebook group. Levitin was amazed that it seemed out of the question for these people to leave their pets behind while fleeing the war torn areas that were once their home.

She didn’t think she could help the man in the picture, but she wanted to help someone get themselves and their beloved pets out. And so began her mission. Levitin has managed to help several people and dogs from Ukraine find safety in France. Levitin combed the thousands of members of the Irish setter Facebook group, looking for Russian and Ukrainian names.

“I saw Yuri Mazarenko, so for me it was evident he was a Russian-speaking or Ukrainian-speaking person, so I just wrote to him. I said, ‘Hi, my name is Macha. I’m writing to you from France. If you need any help, tell me how I can help you” she said. Mazurenko and his wife, Tanya Grigorieva, were sheltering beside a load-bearing wall in their home in the northern Ukrainian town of Chernihiv when he received the message. His wife had recently suffered a stroke, which made it difficult for her to get down to the bomb shelter.

The couple eventually made it out of Chernihiv, which was surrounded by Russian troops. Grivorieva arrived in France first, in mid-April, and Mazurenko made it over on May 1. Today the couple and their Irish setter Rolly and cat Jan are living with Levitin in this French village. He calls her their guardian angel. Mazurenko is an artist so Levitin helped him set up an exhibit of his paintings in the village’s tourism office. He says his life has taken such an unexpected turn.

Soon Levitin and Mazurenko are joined by Vlada, and her big red setter Iris. She also made it to Semur-en-Auxois by way of Levitin and the Irish setter connection. Vlada said “I’m amazed at everything Macha organized for us. The trip by bus from Warsaw to Paris, then picking us up when we arrived. I came with a suitcase, a dog and a cat. I could never have done this on my own.”

Vlada, who arrived in March, has a new job at a local leather goods manufacturer making high-end handbags. She says that is also thanks to Levitin and her “network.” The irony of being rescued by a Russian is not lost on Vlada or Mazarenko. The animal connection helped them to trust. Both are thankful for Levitin and their dogs bring them calm but what is going on with the war is always just below the surface for them.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Las Vegas Women Find Out They’re Sisters After 48 Years Apart

Las Vegas Women Find Out They’re Sisters After 48 Years Apart

Real estate sisters Michele Dugan and Trish Morgan of ‘Sisters Selling Vegas’ for the Realty ONE Group have an amazing story to tell. They have the same father but each sister was unaware of the other’s existence, having been born to different mothers and separated through unfortunate circumstances 51 years ago.

Michele Dugan had gone to foster care and was later adopted, while her sister, Trish Morgan, remained with their father and Trish’s birth mother. Three years ago Michele decided it was time she found out where she came from and signed up for Ancestry.com. To her surprise, an Ancestry DNA match connected her to a half brother in New Jersey. “He goes, you’re in Vegas? There’s three more of us out there and I’m like what?,” Dugan said. Dugan found Tricia’s Facebook page and messaged her. She learned their father passed away in 2004 and in total, there are seven half siblings that live throughout the states.

The two women met for coffee and instantly bonded, discovering they are both the same age and have lived in the same city for over 30 years. Their kids graduated on the same day from the identical high school in Las Vegas, with each sister attending the graduation and shooting videos of the ceremony from different angles. They spent hours during the first meeting chatting about their lives, trying to catch up for lost decades. The two have an uncanny resemblance and DNA testing confirmed what they already felt.

Both agree it’s absolutely spooky how much they have in common. They were amazed not only by the fact that their sons were the same age and walking the same school hallways, but that they both had a background in real estate. Trish had enrolled in real estate school but had not yet received her certification. Michelle was something of a Las Vegas real estate legend, having worked in the industry for nearly 25 years. This shared career passion made teaming up an obvious next step.

Michele encouraged Trish to get her certification and together they soon launched ‘Sisters Selling Vegas’ for the Realty ONE Group. Michele, who was at somewhat of a low point in her life when they reunited says she believes “it was the universe talking that they met when they did. Michele said “I was so busy. I remember saying to someone, ‘I need another me. I need someone who really likes to work and cater to clients and is not just in it for the paycheck, but in it for all the right reasons.’ And there she is! We just came into each other’s life at the absolute perfect time.” Sisters Selling Vegas reportedly closed 44 transactions with $12 million in gross sales last year.

Each one of their families embraced the others with open arms, creating a larger family than any of them realized. Both women grew up with brothers which makes their new relationship that much more special because they always wondered what it was like to have a sister. “Our motto is we missed the first 48 years so we’re going to make the best of whatever we have left,” Dugan said.

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on Planned Bronx Housing Complex Will Have Biodigester Turning Food Waste Into Fertilizer

Planned Bronx Housing Complex Will Have Biodigester Turning Food Waste Into Fertilizer

A new community housing development in the Bronx will feature an on-site biodigester that can turn 1,100 pounds of food scraps into 220 pounds of high-quality fertilizer every single day. A biodigester is basically a big stomach filled with bacteria that breaks down food scraps and wasted food into their component parts. Producing fertilizer right there in the city reduces the need for it to be trucked in from afar.

The Peninsula, organized by Gilbane Development Company, was selected to transform the former Spofford Juvenile Detention Center in the Bronx’s Hunts Point community into a 5-acre campus featuring 100% affordable housing, good jobs, and recreational space. The complex
will feature 740 units of affordable housing, 50,000 square-foot light industrial space and equal sized green space, and 15,000 feet of commercial space, all of which will send their food scraps into the digester.

Built by Harp Renewables, the biodigester will be the first ever in a New York residential building. Each year, nearly 4 million tons of New York’s organic waste end up in landfills. Digesters have the potential to turn one of building owners’ biggest problems into a payday and have the potential to become a standard part of all apartment units as the amount of food waste in America reaches 30% of the total mass of all trash collection.

Another problem these aerobic or bio-digesters could potentially help is pollution and greenhouse gas emissions since fertilizer is a big emitter of all three of the most-targeted GHGs. Food scraps emit more greenhouse gasses in the U.S. than airplanes but biodigesters are clean eaters. They don’t emit carbon dioxide or methane, and their output replaces synthetic fertilizers. Bio-digesters by design keep the CO2 and methane in the fertilizer produced, rather than it entering the atmosphere.

Fertilizer, like quarry dust and ammonia is often imported from countries who specialize in its production, such as Norway, but also Russia and Ukraine, whose conflict has recently highlighted the fragility of the supply chain with sharp price increases. This importation means thousands of tons of CO2 gets emitted during transportation.

The U.S. has over 2,200 biodigesters in all 50 states; 250 digesters on farms, 1,269 water resource recovery facilities are using biodigesters and 66 stand-alone systems. More than half of those used on farms and in industrial facilities are an energy resource for producing electricity or usable heat for operations at the facility. Biodigesters are slowly making their way into residential and industrial spaces around the country because they combat several issues. Digesters can last for decades if used correctly, paying off their initial investment and generating long-lasting returns.

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4 months ago · by · Comments Off on Gordon Ramsey Sends Chef to Help Short-Handed School Cafeteria Manager

Gordon Ramsey Sends Chef to Help Short-Handed School Cafeteria Manager

A short-handed school cafeteria manager called into a BBC Radio 2 talk show asking for help in her kitchen and got the shock of her life. Tina Clarke had been listening to celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay talk about his latest TV show, Future Food Stars. She called into the show and told the host Vernon Kay she was “cooking on her own” at Edward Peake Middle School. One of her cooks was out sick and the alternate staff member was unavailable after testing positive for COVID.

She jokingly asked for Ramsay to come help her in the kitchen later that day to help her prepare school meals for 300 students. During the call to the radio show, Tina said: ‘I’m cooking here on my own. I’m working here in a school kitchen and my chef has gone off sick. I’ve got another one off with Covid and just wondered if Gordon would help me today, give me a hand after his interview?” Ramsay had to decline but said he’d make a call and get it all sorted out if she needed help.

Clarke said “When I phoned in, I really did not expect for him to send a chef. When I finally got a message saying, ‘Your chef will be with you in an hour,’ I thought, ‘Oh, my God. I’m going to have to fess up to the head teacher, I hope she doesn’t give me detention.” The Kitchen Nightmares star kept his word and sent one of his chefs, Rob Roy Cameron, to lend a hand. The school staff welcomed Rob Roy into the kitchen, which “sent a huge buzz around the school”. Roy got right to work and even put on a cooking demonstration for the pupils. He then helped Clarke serve the students their meal.

Later that day, the school tweeted: “We had a very exciting visitor today at Edward Peake. Rob Roy Cameron was sent to us by @GordonRamsay all thanks to our wonderful chef for asking Gordon Ramsey to come help her in the kitchen on @BBCRadio2 #TeamPeake #GordanRamsey #RobRoyCameron #HugeThankyou #BBCRadio2. Here’s an appreciation post for @GordonRamsay @BBCRadio2 and Chef Rob Roy Cameron for helping us out in the kitchen today! #TeamPeake #AppreciationPost #ThankYou”

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8 months ago · by · Comments Off on Hot Spot Libraries Aim to Improve Literacy in South Africa

Hot Spot Libraries Aim to Improve Literacy in South Africa

Terence Crowster, a development worker in South Africa, has been helping disadvantaged youth in the crime-ridden Cape Town neighborhood of Scottsville for years. He helped develop anti-bullying and leadership programs at various high schools in the community. In 2017, he solicited donations and second-hand books and created new libraries he built out of repurposed shipping containers. These were dubbed the Hot-Spot Libraries because the location of the first one is at the border of an area fought over by two rival gangs.

It’s aim is to be a helpful resource to youth in the area and it has transformed the neighborhood.
Despite the dangerous postal code, the library has flourished, becoming as much a safe space as an academic one. The neighborhood residents, once torn apart by drug abuse and gang violence, have found an escape from the harsh realities of daily life and now explore different worlds in the pages of thousands of donated second-hand books.

In its first year, its membership grew to 750 young people. Its shelves are now stocked with more than 2,000 books, and educational programming is offered six days a week. Last July, Crowster opened an additional branch in the adjoining Scottsdene neighborhood, with future branches and libraries-on-wheels planned for elsewhere in Cape Town. While the libraries’ presence hasn’t stopped all the violence, it has given many youth, who typically join gangs as young as 12 years old, a source of knowledge about the world outside their neighborhoods.

“The power of reading is that it increases your understanding of who you are and where you come from” says Sabelo Ngxola, a former gangster and Crowster’s partner on the new library project. “It opens up your imagination.” During his gang days, Ngxola was shot on four separate occasions and stabbed twice before turning his life around, largely, he says, thanks to books. Once the library opens, he’ll be responsible for managing the place when Crowster isn’t around.

Crowster said he hopes the libraries will help improve the worrying trend of children with very low reading comprehension. While visiting schools he witnessed a high rate of kids that could recognize words but not effectively understand the meaning. “I have a lot of leadership, soft skills and anti-bullying programs at the schools. So the initiative basically started … when I saw most 7th, 8th, and 9th grade kids are actually illiterate” he said. A requirement of the library is reviewing each book afterwards to show if the kids are actually understanding the books they’ve read. Crowster hopes to continue building the libraries in hard hit low income neighborhoods to give impoverished youth a

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8 months ago · by · Comments Off on Michigan Pastor Wins USA TODAY’s Best of Humankind Award

Michigan Pastor Wins USA TODAY’s Best of Humankind Award

USA TODAY’s Best of Humankind Awards honor everyday people who have showcased the highest level of kindness, compassion, and perseverance in 2021. Each Humankind award celebrates an everyday person who is making a difference in their community. Winner of this award, Pastor Heather Boone, has shown a dedication to helping those who need it most in the Monroe community and her efforts are well-documented.

Boone moved to Monroe from Detroit and immediately went to work. She and her husband decided they wanted to stay in Monroe and start their own church, Oaks of Righteousness.
She made the Miracle on E. Second Street a reality by convincing the Detroit Archdiocese to sell her the historic St. Joseph Catholic Church at far below the asking price. It started as a homeless shelter and learning center known as Oaks Village.

She then further developed Oaks Village and formed a nonprofit grocery store, a clothes closet, soup kitchen, free childcare center and a free medical clinic. Her ministry serves as a village in the community. “I’m an unpaid pastor. We’re not a wealthy church and so we just wanted to change our community,” says Boone.

When the winner was announced, Boone was quick to point out none of it would be possible without the efforts of their volunteers. Boone, who lived in the homeless shelter for 2 years until they could afford to expand, said “There is no one road to homelessness. These are people just like you. We are all just a few paychecks away from being in this same predicament.”

When asked about winning the award Boone said “I mean it’s still surreal. When you think about it, across the whole United States, it’s all over the country. And so to be the person of the year… out of the whole country. It feels amazing.” But she says things are really just getting started. Next, Pastor Boone wants to build a tiny house village for those who are ready for permanent housing. This award puts her on the map, which is what she’s been praying for. “I had a lady call me from Chicago who saw it and she was asking me questions because she wants to do something similar in her community and that’s what we’re here for,” said Boone.

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11 months ago · by · Comments Off on Houston’s Mattress Mack Opens Showrooms and Raises Donations for Hurricane Ida Relief

Houston’s Mattress Mack Opens Showrooms and Raises Donations for Hurricane Ida Relief

Houston’s legendary philanthropist, Jim McIngvale, who also goes by Mattress Mack, stepped up yet again to help during a natural disaster. McIngvale quickly transformed his three Gallery Furniture showrooms in Houston into shelters for people displaced by the hurricane. Mattress Mack said he wanted to assist those who came to Houston after Ida damaged their homes and about 50 families and individuals sought shelter at Gallery Furniture.

Gallery Furniture, Kroger and the City of Houston asked Houstonians to step up this week with donations to help its neighboring state. Mattress Mack also headed the gathering of supplies to send to New Orleans, loading up dozens of his trucks with donations of non-perishable food, bottled water, diapers, baby wipes, pet food, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, hairbrushes, shampoo, feminine care products, socks, books, games, puzzles, generators and activities for families with children.

A convoy of box trucks and 18-wheelers, escorted by Houston police then hit the road to help families displaced by the storm. McIngvale said the loaded trucks are a testament to the generosity of Houstonians, many of whom have been impacted by past hurricanes. A total of forty trucks brought supplies to hard hit areas in Louisiana. He also set up a GoFundMe, Mattress Mack’s Hurricane Ida Relief Fund that has raised over $79,000 of it’s $100,000 goal.

Mattress Mack said the relief effort is the first of others to come. “We’re gonna do this today and next week and probably going to keep doing it until the effort’s done because certainly during our hardships during Hurricane Harvey people rallied to help Houston.,” he said. “So now it’s our turn to rally and help the people of Louisiana. They’ve had their lives turned upside down, and we’re going to do all we can to help them.”

For Houston residents, Mattress Mack’s kindness is well known. He opened his showrooms to displaced families after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, Hurricane Harvey in 2017,
during Tropical Storm Imelda in 2019 and again last year after a deadly winter storm left more than three million people in Texas without power. Displaced families have been welcomed to use the beds, sofas and recliners in his showrooms. Additionally, the business owner invites them to take in a movie or basketball game on his big screen televisions and even sit down for a hot meal.

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2 years ago · by · Comments Off on Recovered Addict Donates Kidney To Officer Who Arrested Her 8 Years Ago

Recovered Addict Donates Kidney To Officer Who Arrested Her 8 Years Ago

Los Angeles woman, Jocelynn James-a recovered drug addict, donated one of her kidneys to save the life of Officer Terrell Potter, who had arrested her nearly a decade ago. James said Potter saved her life by arresting her and leading her to turn her life around. Potter learned that his kidney was only functioning at 5% last November. Doctors told Potter that he would face a 7 to 8 year waiting period for a kidney.

Potter said they began praying and looking all over the Southeast, little did he know the perfect match was just two miles away. “If you asked me 100 names of who may give me a kidney, her name would have not been on the list,” Potter said. “It’s just unbelievable that she was willing to do that.”

After scrolling on her phone on Facebook, James learned that Potter needed a kidney. After a series of hospital tests, James learned that they were a perfect match. On July 21, Potter received a successful kidney transplant. “All the numbers were great. It started working from the time it was put in,” Potter said. Potter now considers James like another daughter. “It’s made a great relationship and a bond between us that can go forever. There’s no doubt about that,” Potter said. “Her giving me a kidney, it extended my life.

No one knew that when their paths crossed several times between 2007 and 2012, that they would end up saving each other’s lives. Jocelynn fell into opioid addiction after being prescribed pain medication. James was arrested 16 times for theft and drug charges, landing a spot on the Franklin County’s Most Wanted List. It was a time she describes as being in a very dark place and not knowing if she would survive. “I was just living a really bad life, doing a lot of really bad things that I had no business doing and I was just a really lost person,” James said.

Terrell Potter, a former officer with Phil Campbell Police Department, said James was going through a difficult place in her life. “She was out running crazy, stealing and doing drugs and things she shouldn’t be doing,” Potter said. “I locked her up a couple of times.”

James said she reached a point where she lost all she had and finally decided she wanted help. She turned herself in to local law enforcement and was incarcerated and in rehab for a year. It was then that she was finally able to get her life straightened out, and on Nov. 5, she will celebrate eight years being sober. “I was sick of living that life, and I wanted to do something different,” James said.

James currently runs a non-profit organization called The Place of Grace, where she helps get women treatment. “I want people to realize that there is help out there for them,” James said. “It doesn’t matter what happens in your life. You can always turn it around.” She also has an active jail ministry at the Franklin County Jail in Franklin County, Alabama that she started 5 years ago.

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