Devin Holdraker or something you find in dirty diaper. We aren't sure.

Devin Holdraker

11-Year-Old Opens Thrift Store in NYC to Help Low-Income Families

Obocho’s Closet

When young people set their minds to something positive, there’s little we can do but step back and watch in awe. So when 11-year-old Obocho Peters was presented with an obstacle, he found a way to overcome it while helping others in his own community in the process.

It all began when Obocho asked his mom for some new superhero toys. His mother Sasha having to explain that money was tight, not just for their family, but for many in the area. Undeterred, Obocho decided to sell off some of the old clothes he longer wore — a smart idea that has now blossomed into a full-on business.

Obocho’s Closet began as an online thrift shop, selling not only the pre-teen’s clothing but other items that had been donated as well. In just two years, the humble online operation has found a new brick and mortar home in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood. Obocho telling Good Morning America “I was inspired by all the superheroes helping to make the world a better place,” adding “I wanted to be a hero myself by helping my mom.”

Seeing the spark of entrepreneurship in her young son’s eyes, Sasha enrolled him in a small business course offered locally. With the skills learned and the generosity of friends and strangers who helped Obocho raise over $13,000 to get the business off the ground, the youngster is giving back in more ways than one. Beyond providing affordable clothing, the business has found unique ways to put profits back into the community.

“Since my business is for-profit, my company gives back to the community by investing a percentage of the profits in providing FREE financial literacy seminars geared towards teaching parents and kids how to save for college or pursue other goals like entrepreneurship.”

While Obocho certainly has the drive and know-how to continue growing the business, it’s thanks to the ongoing encouragement from his mom that he found this path in the first place. “You have to nurture kids when they come up with ideas, and you have to pay attention to everything they say because they’re telling you how to groom them to be a better version of themselves,” Sasha said.

It’s kids like Obocho and parents like Sasha that give our nation hope for the future. We salute all those who feel a need to give back and especially the ones focusing on real solutions in their own communities.

Kudos, Obocho, and good luck in the future! Perhaps Shark Tank needs a new guest judge?

Single Dad Adopts Teen Who Was Abandoned at Hospital

Single dad adopts 11-year-ol who was left at the hospital

Peter Mutabazi has quite an incredible story.

At the age of 10, Mutabazi ran away from an abusive home in his native Uganda. He was fortunate enough to find a father figure who helped to guide him through his formative years. Eventually, Mutabazi ended up in the US, becoming a citizen and dedicating his life to helping others.

That alone would be worthy of coverage, but it’s what Mutabazi did back in 2018 that continues to make headlines around the world.

Having worked in the foster care system for a number of years, Mutabazi was always ready to lend a hand when needed. But when he heard of an 11-year-old boy was abandoned by his adoptive parents, Mutabazi knew he’d need to do more than simply foster the young man.

The boy’s name was Tony, and after being adopted at the age of four, Tony was now alone in the world. “He asked if his parents were coming to get him and they said no,” Mutabazi recalls. “By that time, I was crying. I thought, ‘Who would do that?’ Once I knew the parents’ rights were signed off and he had nowhere to go, I [knew] I had to take him.”

So Mutabazi opened his home to Tony, fostering him as he had so many times before for others in difficult situations. But this time was different. Mutabazi knew Tony needed a place to call home. A forever home.

Mutabazi telling GMA “I had the room, the resources, so I had no reason to let him go. For what someone did for me I wanted to do something for someone else.”

Since then, the two have truly bonded, with both gaining the family they never had before. “From day one, he’s always called me ‘dad.’ He truly meant it and he looks up to me. He’s proud to show me at school and say, ‘Hey, he’s my dad.’ That’s something that I love about him.”

Mutabazi is quick to acknowledge that he gets as much if not more out of the relationship as his son, saying in an Instagram post “Truly a blessing to have you as my son, thank you for accepting me as your dad with all my faults, I strive daily to be a better dad. Thank you for hanging in there with me as I learn and grow.”

While the two chronicle their adventures on Instagram, chances are they won’t be alone for long. Mutabazi and his son say they plan on counting to foster other youth for many years to come.

Two souls now paying it forward as one in the best possible way.

Dancing TikTok Dad Finally Heading Home With Newborn Son Who Was in NICU

Dancing Tiktok Dad Leaves NICU

A few weeks back, we brought you the story of the dancing TikTik Dad, Chris Askew, and his family’s ongoing saga.

Chris and his wife Danielle have called the NICU at Winnie Palmer Hospital home for the past several weeks due to complications surrounding the birth of their son Dylan. Born two months premature, Dylan has been fighting for his life since day one, but thanks the hard work of medical professionals and the support of strangers, the family is now heading home.

To remain positive and pass the days, Chris vowed to post a dancing video each day his wife and son were still confined to the hospital. His first was posted from the nearby Ronald McDonald house where families often stay during extended hospital visits. What began with one single video back in mid-January has now grown to a full library of “daddy dance” clips.

@skewuDylan took a full feed last night and gained 32g with no alarms!##dancing4dylan ##babyaskewnicu ##thejtway ##adambamdance ##nicu ##nicubaby ##foryou ##dance♬ original sound – hamdisalahh

Chris telling local news affiliate WISN in Florida “I did it, just a silly thing, just to see,” referring to his first post, adding “And I woke up the next morning and I had 500,000 views on it.”

Inspired by the outpouring of support, Chirs, a Seminole County firefighter, continued as promised for the next several weeks, posting clips with nurses, his fellow firefighters and even the Orlando Magic Dancers.

While the dances started as a way for Chris and his family to stay positive, he also shared his hopes of helping others to open up about their own personal struggles. “Unless you’ve been through it, you can’t put into words how hard it is,” he shared. Now with over 75,000 followers, it’s safe to say his message of positivity has spread far and wide.

47 days and dances later, the family is going home. Chris telling Good Morning America it’s a great feeling. “I feel excited, I feel nervous…it’s like a roller coaster of emotions,” Chris said. “We can finally start being a family again.”

@skewuThank you Winnie Palmer Hospital! 48 dances and 50 days later you made our family whole again! ##dancing4dylan ##babyaskewnicu ##thejtway ##adambamdance♬ original sound – hamdisalahh

It’s amazing news for everyone who has been following their story, and of course for the family who now gets to find their new normal back at home. Dylan will be joining siblings Hunter,5, Nathan, 3, and CJ, just a year old.

Chris said his son has “been fighting since the day he was born,” adding “I know he’s going to be a strong little person once he gets older.”

Perhaps Chris will have a new dance partner in a few years? We can only hope.

Congratulations to the Askew family and kudos to the doctors and nurses who made it all possible.

15 Crazy Facts You Don’t Know About the Original Ghostbusters

Crazy Facts About Ghostbusters
(Columbia Pictures)

Ok, We get it. You’ve read a bunch of these posts, like our crazy facts about Die Hard, and think you’ve heard it all. You know the Ghostbusters HQ is a firehouse in New York City. You’ve read about the fact that the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man almost didn’t make the cut and was comprised of suits, puppeteers and a ton of shaving cream.

So we set out to find the real gems. The cream of the crop. The stuff you’ll only find in maybe 1/3 of those posts at best. So let’s take a ride back in time and look at 15 crazy facts you never knew about the iconic film, Ghostbusters.

1. The original script would have cost an estimated $300 Million to produce… in the 80s


The first pass of the script was much different than the movie we all know today. Writer and funnyman Dan Aykroyd’s initial concept was a darker, more futuristic ghost flick that saw the film’s characters travel through time and space to battle dozens of other-worldly spirits. Director Ivan Reitman, who was also charged with getting a studio on-board, estimated the grittier sci-fi version would have cost 10x as much as the classic that we all know today — and that was in the eighties.

2. A five-word pitch sealed the deal

“Ghost janitors in New York.”

Frank Price, then studio head at Columbia Pictures, green-lit the film on that basic premise. The fact that Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis were all already on-board probably didn’t hurt either. “The wisdom in town was that I had made a terrible mistake,” Price told Vanity Fair in an interview years later.

3. They only had one year to make it all happen

The studio gave Reitman, Ramis, and Aykroyd just 12 months to write, film, and release the picture so it would coincide with the summer movie season. Although an initial draft was already completed, the final production script would take the trio several weeks to nail down before they moved right into pre-production. It was a tight schedule, which obviously had a few implications along the way (See #8 and #9).

4. The cast almost included Eddie Murphy and John Candy


When first writing the script, Aykroyd envisioned Eddie Murphy, John Belushi and himself as the three main characters, but after Belushi passed away, Bill Murray was eventually (see #5) tapped for the now-iconic role of snarky Peter Venkman.

As for John Candy, he was originally approached to play the role of Louis Tully, but a few obstacles prevented that from happening.

Candy envisioned a much different persona and also wanted the character to take a more starring role in the film. Wanting to keep their original vision for Tully, the filmmakers instead selected Rick Moranis. Not only was Moranis ready and willing to play the character they needed, but he also was able to wear his own threads. I mean, come on. He IS Louis Tully.

5. “But… I’m Batman”


Michael Keaton was initially cast as scientist Peter Venkman. The role written for the late John Belushi was seen as a good fit for the newly popular Keaton. He auditioned and was cleared for the part until Murray expressed interest in the project and eventually replaced Keaton in the role. In the end, it’s all about who you know, and Murray knew Reitman from their previous work together in Stripes.

6. “Slimer” is an unofficial nod to John Belushi

While unable to star in the film, Belushi was there in spirit. Wanting to honor his late friend, Aykroyd brought to life the first apparition the gang would face: Slimer. The gluttonous ghost who provides plenty of comic relief is indeed an unofficial homage to the late, great Belushi. 

7. Sigourney Weaver’s audition was just her acting like a dog

Yep. Zero dialogue.

According to an interview years later in Rolling Stone, Reitman says Weaver instead acted out a scene where she turned into one of Gozer’s hounds, wildly snarling and heaving about the room. Reitman, both impressed and likely at least a little terrified, gave her the gig.

8. Sacrifices had to be made


With a tight timeline to get the movie finished, special effects supervisors had to make some quick decisions to get the right shot. For example, the scene of Slimer spinning around the ballroom of the Sedgewick Hotel was actually just a peanut spray-painted green. Say what you will, but Bill Murray has openly criticized the sequel for focusing too much on the effects and not enough on the original comedic magic of the first film.

9. The was only one Ecto-1


Again due to the rush placed on cast and crew, only one of the iconic retrofitted Cadillac Ambulances was designed for production. Typically movies with iconic vehicles have several backups, but budget and time restraints made that unfeasible this time around. Ironically, the vehicle went kaput during the final scene, but thankfully the print was in the can and production was wrapped… at least for the car.

10. Unsung …or Mis-sung Hero


One man was tasked with creating several of the now-iconic gear featured in the film. Everything from the proton packs to that red and white Ecto-1 was crafted by Stephen Dane, a man hired by Reitman to help tell the story via the movie’s signature props. He was given just two weeks to complete it all, only to have his name misspelled as Steven in the movie’s credits.

11. You could actually call the Ghostbusters… at least for a while

“Who ya Gonna call?” Producers set up a toll-free 800 number prior to the movie’s release as a publicity stunt. The phone rang to a prerecorded message from Murray and Aykroyd. The number got so many calls though that it was eventually shut down. Now I’m really not sure who to call.

12. Who is Zuul?

That deep and disturbing voice is none other than Director Ivan Reitman, who during post-production was having difficulty finding the right voice talent. Running out of time, Reitman did the only thing he could think of: He deeepend his voice the best he could and gave it a go, and dare we say… nailed it.

13. Bill Murray didn’t get a check for Ghostbusters


A $300 million dollar box office smash and the comedy all-star didn’t receive one cent. Ok… so maybe not in cash anyway. 

Murray’s deal with Columbia to do the movie was on an agreement that he’d be able to make his own passion project once Ghostbusters was wrapped and the studio would foot the bill. The Razor’s Edge, a film where Murray took on his first dramatic role, was released in 1984 ad was a flop at the box office, taking a loss of nearly $6 million. 

14. Jingle Jangle

The breakout hit theme song to the movie that had everyone saying “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts” caused quite a stir between its performer, Ray Parker Jr., and musicians Huey Lewis. Lewis sued Parker claiming the track was too similar to his own song I want a new Drug. The suit dragged on for over a decade before finally being settled, and although monetary figures were never released, Parker ended up countersuing years later claiming Lewis mentioned the suit in public and was bound not to do so by its terms.


15. Other Famous Faces

Beyond the obvious celebs we’ve already mentioned, there were a few cameos you may have either missed or forgotten. The first is Larry King. The longtime talk show host made his very first cinematic cameo in Ghostbusters. But wait… there’s more. Ron Jeremy, yes… that Ron Jeremy, also appears as an extra among a crowd of onlookers. He later went on to star in a porn parody entitled This Ain’t Ghosbusters XXX.


Still hungry for more pop-culture listicles like this? Check out our previous list of crazy Facts You Don’t Know About The Simpsons.

Grieving Dad Receives Unexpected Hug From Toddler While on the Job

Video of toddler hugging grieving dad
(Facebook/Lindsey Sheely GoFundMe/)

We’ve shared many good news stories of how small acts can have a major impact, but a recent post on Facebook proves once and for all the power your kindness can have on the lives of others.

Earlier this month, Lindsey Sheely shared an adorable video that has since been covered by news outlets around the world. It’s her 2-year-old son Cohen running to greet the pizza delivery man with a giant hug caught by the family’s video doorbell. While that alone would be worthy of a share, it’s what happened once she shared the clip on Instagram that has made the story spread around the web.

The delivery driver in the video, Ryan Catterson, happened to see the post, sharing with the Lindsey and the world just how much that hug truly meant to him. Catterson’s 16-year-old daughter recently passed away after battling mental health issues, and the grieving father has been struggling with the loss each and every day. He shared in a comment “After losing my daughter this past week, it touched me because it was like she was there. It really just meant a lot to me.”

Lindsey later sharing in a post “That hug from Cohen was a little blessing from God. I believe in divine appointments and know that Ryan was the one to deliver our pizza for a reason.”

Catterson’s ex-wife, Danielle McCord, telling local affiliate ABC6 “It’s so easy to miss people and their internal pain,” adding “Even with our daughter, we didn’t know her pain. I can’t help but be grateful that someone saw his pain and could be there for him.”

A GoFundMe page was later established for Catterson which has already soared past its initial $5,000 goal, raising an incredible $28,000 and counting to help the family with final expenses.

While we’re not recommending everyone start hugging strangers they pass on the street, perhaps look around you those who may be struggling and find a way to let them know they’re not alone.

Let’s all care like Cohen.

High School Football Team Honors Their Number One Fan

Caleb Cleary recognized by football team
(Twitter/Carmel HS)

A big part of organized sports is recognizing the contributions of each and every one of your teammates. It’s not always the top-scoring player or the best defensive tackle that brings a team success long-term. It’s the combination of everyone working towards a common goal, including those on the sidelines.

That’s certainly the case at Carmel High School in Patterson, NY where players on the school’s varsity football team recently recognized one of their most valuable members. Caleb Cleary has played a major role in the team’s success but hasn’t played one single minute. That’s because Caleb is busy cheering on the team from the stands or the edge of the field as their #1 fan.

Athletic director Susan Dullea says there’s no debating Caleb’s unwavering fandom. “He attended games, was on the sideline, had his own jersey, and was at every game, home and away,” she shared with The Journal News, adding “The kids love him, and he loves the kids for sure. He was just as important part of our team as anyone on it.”

Team captain Will Boalt sharing a sentiment that echos across his teammates, saying “He was just always around, and he was so supportive. It makes you realize what you have in life and that you have people rooting for you.”

Wanting to recognize Caleb fully and officially, team members took it upon themselves to gather funds to purchase Caleb his very own letterman jacket. When the gear finally arrived, the players were excited to present Caleb with a small token of their appreciation.

The team gathered friends and classmates to share in a special moment, giving Caleb not only the coat but words of sincere appreciation for his time spent cheering them on. “I was talking to him and told him how grateful we were for him,” Will said. “I think it meant more to us having him on the team than I think he realized.”

The district captured a video they later shared to social media, showing the touching moment when Caleb arrived.

“When he walked in, he looked so surprised,” Will recalled. “He has a smile that when you see him smile, you want to smile. He looked so happy with what we were doing for him. I don’t think he expected that.”

While players and coaches are often recognized for their individual achievements, it’s nice to have a true unsung hero have their praises shouted for all to hear.

Cheers to the Carmel Varsity Football team for setting an example for high school athletes everywhere while reminding us all the importance of recognizing those who help us to achieve.

88-Yr-Old Crossing Guard Dies Saving Two Children From Speeding Car

Mr. Bob the Crossing Guard
(Christ the King Catholic School)

For the past 5 years, Bob Nill has ensured safe passage for students outside Christ the King Parish Catholic School in Kansas City, Kansas as a crossing guard.

However, this past Tuesday, Bob was struck and killed while on duty, and in the process, likely saved the lives of two young boys.

Principal Cathy Fithian tells CNN that Nill must have seen the speeding car as he had waved two students, 8 and 11, out of the way in the nick of time. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time for Nill himself to get out of the way. He was struck by the sedan and rushed to the hospital, but later succumbed to his injuries, passing away at 88-years-old.

Now being hailed as a hero and being remembered for all he gave to the community he called home. Fithian remarking on the student’s love for Nill. “On Valentine’s Day, they had given him gifts and cards,” she said. “They lit up when they talked to him,” adding “We’re blessed to have him in our lives.”

Affectionately known as “Mr. Bob,” the district and the community are still trying to cope with the loss of one of their own. “Please continue to keep Mr. Nill and his family in your prayers as well as the students, parents, and teachers who witnessed today’s accident,” the school said in a statement.

Even the mayor of Kansas City, David Alvey, has come out to share his gratitude, telling residents “Mr. Nill’s act of selfless devotion to the children under his care inspires all of us,” adding “We are grateful for the goodness that he has given to our community for so many years.”

Authorities say the accident is still under investigation.

Artist Turns Infant Medical Helmets Into Works of Art

(Facebook/Lazardo Art)

A Washington State woman has been using her artistic talents to brighten the lives of thousands of babies and their families.

Back in 1996, a friend approached Paula Lazardo with a unique request. Their child would need to wear a medial helmet due to plagiocephaly — a common disorder causing a baby’s head to have a flattened appearance. The helmet would need to be worn for several months, so Lazardo knew it needed to be something special.

Once completed, a doctor saw her first creation and knew Lazardo’s talents could help so many more. The condition impacts around 10% of newborns in America, so while this was her first encounter with the medical helmets, it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

Since 1996, Lazardo has hand-painted over 3,000 of the typically mundane medical devices, all thanks to that initial interest by the treating physician. “He saw value in having the helmet painted for his clients,” Lazardo told HeartThreads. “It was just one of those snowball things… and now it’s virtually 99 percent of what I do is paint for babies! Which is the best job ever.”

Beyond brightening the lives of the children and likely everyone they encounter, her creations are unique to the owner. From motorcycle helmets to Captain America gear, the artist has created some truly incredible works, often in just 48 hours due to the nature of the equipment and its immediate need. But for Lazardo, it’s all worth it. “That’s what I love about the art that I’ve been able to do in my life: It’s always been for other people. It’s been able to make other people happy. That’s why I’ve got the best job!”

She has even created smaller helmets so that a child’s doll can have a matching cap.

Custom painted baby helmets

With so many satisfied little customers, it’s easy to see why so many parents have turned to her over the years.

To learn more about her incredible work, visit Lazardo’s Facebook page.

Texas Restaurant Opens Early so 3-Yr-Old Cancer Patient can Have Brunch

Special brunch for cancer patient Adelaide Nguyen
(Facebook/Vanlam Nguyen)

Those with a serious disease will likely tell you it’s not always the condition that causes the most pain but instead missing out on the simple things in life. Not being able to attend events or travel, their lives instead revolve around regular hospital visits and doctors appointments. So when an opportunity to restore that sense of normalcy recently presented itself, one family was quick to seize the opportunity.

Three-year-old Adelaide Nguyen has a rare form of cancer, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, that impacts her immune system. Diagnosed just a few months ago on her birthday, the toddler has been kept from the public for her own health. Her mother Vanlam telling 11ALIVE the diagnosis was a shock to the entire family. “I haven’t seen this in a very long time. To any parent who hears a doctor say that, your heart just stops.” For the last seven months, all she’s known is hospital rooms and the Nguyen household.

It makes something as simple as grabbing a bite to eat at a local restaurant nearly impossible. On a recent trip home, the family passed by J. Wilson’s in Beaumont, Texas — one of Adelaide’s favorites. “She recognized the sign and from the backseat she said, ‘Daddy, can we go eat there?’”. Unfortunately, her mother knew that wouldn’t be an option. “The isolation is very hard, not just for the kid themselves but a lot of your family functions you do come to a halt,” Nguyen said.

A family friend heard the story and immediately reached out to the restaurant. The staff was more than happy to oblige. So on January 26th, General manager Paula Breaux opened up J. Wilson’s an hour early.

The staff even decorating the interior in Pink, Adelaide’s favorite color. The family, thankful for the special attention. The staff at J. Wilson’s thankful to have such a loyal following. “We’re here to take care of our customers,” Breaux said, adding “Just the fact that we got to be a part of this means a lot to us. Always makes me happy to see the little ones enjoy our restaurant.”

Although Adelaide will remain isolated, the Nguyen family says that the memory of this experience will help her be strong through her ongoing treatment.

Dancing Dad Vows to Post Dancing Videos Daily Until Son is out of NICU

Chris Askew Dancing dad on TikTok

Parents know that learning to take things in stride is often the only way to deal with life’s never-ending barrage of complications. But when a father of four recently learned his newborn son would be stuck in the NICU, he decided to do the only thing he could: dance it out.

Chris Askew and his wife Danielle welcomed their son Dylan 10 weeks sooner than they were expecting. Due to a complication, doctors acted quickly to bring baby Dylan into the world, but it meant the next several weeks would be spent in the hospital as he slowly gained enough weight to go home. Entering the world weighing just four pounds, the family knew they were in for a long stay at Winnie Palmer Hospital in Orlando, Florida. So Chris decided to find a unique way to cheer on both son Dylan and wife Danielle by posting daily videos to TikTok.

@skewuDoing laundry at the Ronald McDonald House. Staying here while son in NICU #adam_bam you inspire! #dance #danceto100k♬ original sound – hamdisalahh

The first was posted while the family stayed at the nearby Ronald McDonald House. Askew, doing laundry and just trying to keep a smile on. “I posted it and went to bed,” Askew recalled in an interview with TODAY. “I woke up and I had like 400,000 or 500,000 views. And then the messages started coming in — there’s been an outpouring of support for my family, and it’s also helping other people somehow. People are thanking me and sharing their NICU success stories … it’s helped some families who lost babies in the NICU get through a tough situation and smile. I figured as long as that’s happening, I’d keep dancing.”

@skewuIn honor of Dylan latching & +24g the people who work with my wife wanted to dance & send love #nicu #nicustrong #adambamdance #family #foryou #fyp♬ original sound – hamdisalahh

Almost immediately, the videos took off, spreading to evening newscasts and social sites in just days. Now a month later, Chris’ videos are racking up hundreds of thousands of views across his profile, spreading his positivity and message of support worldwide.

The dancing dad recently sharing “Dylan’s had a couple of bad days, but for the most part it’s been really positive. They haven’t set an exact date when he’ll be able to come home, but they’re projecting maybe another two to three weeks.”

Until that day, Chris vows to keep on dancing, giving his son not only encouragement, but enough embarrassing videos of his dad to last a lifetime.

@skewuNBC Nightly News 😳 & Dylan drank 30ml from mom! #dancing4dylan #babyaskewnicu #thejtway #adambamdance #nicu #nicu #nicu #nicubaby #foryou #dance♬ original sound – hamdisalahh

Here’s to the Askew family and everyone trying to stay positive, even during the most difficult of situations.

NFL Donates Over 30,000 Lbs of Super Bowl Leftovers to Florida Shelters

NFL and Local Organizations donate food to shelters
(Twitter/NFL Green)

The issues of food waste and food insecurity are major problems facing millions of people in the United States. Thankfully, individuals and organizations are working in communities around the country to address this often unnoticed epidemic.

Following the massive celebration at this year’s Super Bowl, over 30,000 pounds of food was left uneaten at the Hard Rock Stadium in Florida. In past years, that food likely would have ended up rotting away someplace, but thanks to a partnership between the NFL and several organizations battling food insecurity, that food never ended up in a landfill. Instead, thousands of Floridians in need were the beneficiaries via missions and food banks located around the state in a massive, coordinated effort.

Carol Shattuck, CEO of Food Rescue US, knows exactly how much a donation like this can mean to communities in the area. “We know food insecurity impacts one in seven people in the state of Florida. Through our work with Centerplate and NFL Green, we can make sure excess food from Hard Rock Stadium and the Miami Beach Convention Center helps to feed individuals and families throughout Miami, while also not contributing to the growing food waste crisis in the U.S.”

All told, it’s estimated that the wings, ribs, and other food donated will help to feed an estimated 20,000 individuals over half a dozen different organizations including Lotus House, a shelter that feeds 500 women and children each and every day.

Emily Bowen, the Miami regional director for Food Rescue also highlights the impact individuals can have on fixing the problem, telling ESPN “It’s a full volunteer job for everyone. We just want to help people in need. It’s amazing to see how much food there is that otherwise would have been thrown in the trash that can now feed so many people.”

While the NFL has had food donation programs in place for years, Bowen says this is their first major operation at scale with the organization. Although it was a major success, the problems of food insecurity and food waste continue day in and day out. Thankfully, partners on-the-ground like Miami Rescue Mission, the Broward Outreach Center, and Camillus House continue to work to ensure those most in need are cared for on a regular basis.

While the story focuses on issues and solutions in Florida, the problems facing residents there exist in communities across the country. To make a donation or to find a local food bank in your area, visit Feeding America’s Food Bank Finder.

Actor Gary Sinise Recognized With Patriot Award for Supporting Veterans

Gary Sinise honored with Patriot Award

We’ve written in the past about the incredible devotion actor Gary Sinise has when it comes to supporting our country’s veterans. From visits to the VA to taking thousands of military families on a dream vacation, he’s the definition of a class act.

Now Sinise is once again being recognized for his years of work with veterans, their families, and organizations supporting them. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society recently awarded Sinise in honor of his significant contributions over the past decade-plus.

Even before he established the Gary Sinise Foundation back in 2010, the actor, best known for his role as Lieutenant Dan in Forest Gump, has time and again given his time and money to help those who bravely served our country as well as their families.

The Patriot Award, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s highest honor, recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the American military services, something now universally synonymous with Sinise and his work. The ceremony, held on Monday at the Reagan Library in Semi Valley, California, sought to recognize the work of Sinise and many others who continually give of themselves.

Many veterans, celebrities and fellow supporters shared positive reactions to the news, with some saying it was long overdue.

However, Sinise has long maintained that focus should always be on the veterans and families, encouraging individuals to “Look within your own neighborhood, your town, your state.” In an interview with TIME back in 2019, the actor laid out the importance of localized efforts, saying you don’t need to be a celebrity to make a difference.

“I know that not everybody can get on an airplane and go over to a hospital in Germany or travel to war zones or do all the things that I’m doing,” he said. “[But] if everybody in every neighborhood, in every community, in every city, in every town and in every state took a little bit of responsibility to reach out to the military families and say, ‘What do you need? What can I do to help you?’, the problems that veterans have [would be] minimized.”

After decades spent fighting for military families, it’s a quote on his foundation website that sums up his feelings best:

“While we can never do enough for our defenders and their loved ones, we can always do a little more.”

After Teacher’s Shoes are Stollen, Students Rally Together to Surprise Him

Trey Payne's reaction to student's gift

In recent years, stories of teachers reaching into their own pockets in order to provide supplies, clothing, and gifts to students have shined a light on just how much educators care about those entrusted to them. It’s a spirit that not only warms the hearts of those who read the posts, but most importantly, the students who see it in action each and every day in classrooms around the country.

So when a Nebraska teacher was recently the victim of theft, his students all rallied together to make sure their teacher knew that his years of dedication hadn’t gone unnoticed.

Trey Payne is an educator at Logan Fontenelle Middle School and a familiar face around both the school and the community. When he’s not molding young minds in the classroom, Payne also serves as a referee for the school’s basketball games. Back in January, an expensive pair of Nike Zoom KD12 shoes went missing from Payne’s classroom. With no sign of the sneakers or indication of who may have taken them, his students took it upon themselves to all chip in and surprise their favorite teacher.

A video posted online shows Payne’s incredible reaction:

Overwhelmed by the student’s gesture, Payne breaks down as most anyone else in his position would have. The children seeing in real-time how a small act of kindness can have a major impact.

Payne sharing his gratitude along with what it meant to have his students step up in such an unexpected way on the district’s Facebook page. “It’s more than a pair of shoes, it’s about doing things to build everyone up around you. I try to show my kids this and I think the lesson has sunk in for many, in turn, reaffirming my purpose and my ideals.”

With many concerned for future generations, a quick look at stories like this go to show that they learn from those around them. People like teachers, administrators, bus drivers and community members at large who all help to shape our children day in and day out.

Kindness, compassion, and empathy are all contagious, so while we all may be trying to avoid the flu, there are certainly a few things we hope our kids pick up while they’re out in the world.