Boys Who Play Video Games Linked To Lower Risk of Depression

Video Games Lowers Depression Risk

One of the craziest culture changes for Dads of a certain age has been the attitude towards gaming. Once the scourge of pearl-clutchers everywhere, video games were blamed for everything from falling grades to violent crimes. Now, we have professional gamers, Dad gamers, proof that playing together with your kids is good, and more.

The latest is a research study that found boys who regularly play video games at age 11 were less likely to develop depression years later. The study, published by Psychological Medicine, found that boys who played video games most days had 24 percent fewer depression symptoms three years later than boys who rarely played video games. This finding was most significant among boys with low activity levels, so it’s not suggesting you can’t make your kids run around all day in the backyard if that’s what they like to do.

What it IS saying, though, is that if you have a kid that’s not super active, playing video games is not a bad recreation. They’ve been proven to help problem-solving skills and have added social and cooperative benefits. Video games aren’t bad anymore, is the point.

Caveat; anything can be bad in excess, obviously if your kids are playing 18 hours of Fortnite a day, that *may* be something to look into. But if your kid likes some gaming time, well join the dang club.

“While we cannot confirm whether playing video games actually improves mental health, it didn’t appear harmful in our study and may have some benefits,” the lead author of the study said. “Particularly during the pandemic, video games have been an important social platform for young people.”

Video games can benefit the mental health of children is the takeaway. But let’s not think they are just for kids, as the many, many people of The Dad Gaming Group can tell you, those mental health benefits are out there for anyone who can get in some quality time on Rocket League, Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, FIFA, Red Dead Redemption II, or whatever your distraction of choice may be.

Encourage your kids to be active, sure, have screen time rules, of course. But also remember, no matter what people in their 60s say, it’s not the devil.

Legendary Celebrity Zookeeper Jack Hanna Retires After Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

Jack Hanna Dementia

When it comes to celebrity zookeepers and animal advocates, Jack Hanna was a giant. And now, Jungle Jack Hanna’s time at the forefront has come to an end. One of the most well-known animal TV show hosts, the daughters of the 74-year-old Hanna announced he has been diagnosed with dementia and is retiring from public life.

The family said in a statement they believe Hanna has Alzheimer’s disease and that it’s progressing very quickly. It’s tragic news for the former director of the Columbus Zoo.

“Dad has spent his life connecting people and wildlife because he has always believed that having people see and experience animals is key to engaging them in more impactful conversations,” his three daughters said. “Even though Dad is no longer able to travel and work in the same way, we know his infectious enthusiasm has touched many hearts and will continue to be his legacy.”

Hanna had still been serving as a spokesperson and director emeritus for the zoo, in addition to his TV duties. Hanna was known for his trademark khakis and wore them on multiple late-night TV talk show appearances, dating back to the golden age of the format with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. He’s been hosting wildlife and animal TV shows for decades, starting with “Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures” before starting “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild” and “Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown.”

“While Dad’s health has deteriorated quickly, we can assure you that his great sense of humor continues to shine through,” the statement said. “And yes, he still wears his khakis at home.”

You can’t be on TV for nearly three decades without leaving a major impact, especially since he was one of the true GOATS for Animal TV shows, opening people to a whole new side of wildlife years before it became popular content.

His legacy is secure in his family, the Columbus Zoo, and in the thousands of people he’s touched with his shows over the years.

17-Yr-Old Student Invents Sutures That Change Color if Wound Becomes Infected

Teen invents sutures that change color when wound is infected
(YouTube/Local 4 News WHBF)

There are students who frantically Google the ingredients to make one of those bubbly volcanoes the morning of the science fair (dish soap, warm water, baking soda, vinegar. You’re welcome), and then there are students like 17-year-old Dasia Taylor from Iowa City, Iowa. In October of 2019, Taylor’s chemistry teacher told the class about state-wide science fairs. Intrigued, Taylor knew that she had an amazing opportunity. Not only would winning science fairs look good on college applications, but more importantly, she had the opportunity to help people.

While brainstorming ideas, Taylor learned of “smart sutures,” or sutures that used changes in electrical resistance to detect infection. These sutures filled a necessary void, alerting patients that something was wrong before the infections became too severe. However, these sutures relied on a patient’s access to technology, as a device was needed in order to receive the sutures’ alerts.

“I’ve done a lot of racial equity work in my community, I’ve been a guest speaker at several conferences,” Taylor told Smithsonian Magazine. “So when I was presented with this opportunity to do research, I couldn’t help but go at it with an equity lens.”

Taylor aimed to cut costs and reliance on technology to produce her own infection-detecting sutures. She tested many different fruit and vegetable juices, many of which change color based on pH. After extensive research, she realized that beet juice changed from bright pink to a darker shade of purple when exposed to a similar pH of an infected wound.

Ever the diligent scientist, Taylor then knew she had to find the proper material for the sutures. The material would have to hold the dye from the beets, but not be so porous that it let infections fester more readily. She spent hours on her research each day after school, testing and retesting to make sure her results weren’t flukes. Ultimately, beet dye and a suture made of cotton-polyester blend gave the teen the results she was looking for.

Taylor won multiple awards for her game-changing invention at regional science fairs. This January, she became one of the top 40 finalists in the extremely prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search, which is run by the Society for Science.

“To get to the Top 40, this is like post-doctoral work that these kids are doing,” Maya Ajmera, the president and CEO of the Society for Science explained. “I am looking forward to seeing how Dasia uses this project moving forward. And on a long-term scale, I’m really interested in watching what problems she is going to continue to solve, to make the world a better place.”

Chadwick Boseman’s Widow Accepts NAACP Award, Pleads for More Cancer Screening

Boseman NAACP Image Award
(YouTube/BET Networks)

Chadwick Boseman’s performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” was terrific, and it earned his legacy another award recently, as he won outstanding actor in a motion picture at the NAACP Image Awards recently. His widow, Simone Ledward Boseman, accepted the award on his behalf, tearily, and delivered a compelling PSA for colon cancer screening.

We lost the brilliant actor last fall at the tragically young age of 43 after the Black Panther star battled colon cancer privately for several years. His wife said he was an “uncommon artist and an even more uncommon person.”

“But the manner in which we lost him is not uncommon at all, not in our community,” she said while accepting the award. And it’s a message that should hit home with all dads, as early detection is the absolute key to preventing colon cancer tragedies.

She also made the point that black people are 20 percent more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer and 40 percent more likely to die from it. jh

“The age for routine screening has recently been lowered to 45, so if you are 45 years of age or older, please get screened. Don’t put it off any longer, please get screened,” she said, wiping away tears.

“This disease is beatable if you catch it in its early stages, so you don’t have any time to waste even if you have no family history and even if you think nothing is wrong.”

It was a poignant moment from the late actor’s wife, and it’s a message that was hopefully heard wide and far. It’s not the most comfortable thing to screen for, but you aren’t just doing it for yourself, you’re doing it for your families and for those who count on you every day.

“Please, you are so needed and you are so loved,” she said. “Please take your health into your own hands.”

102-Yr-Old Jumps Into Great-Grandson’s Zoom P.E. Class

102 yr old joins Zoom PE

It was a weird school year. While many schools were able to reopen with new restrictions (masks, spacing, etc.) there’s still a lot of students who have been stuck with virtual school this whole time, and that’s not great. Fortunately, the tide seems to be turning, and remote schooling could soon be a thing of the past. But, we can still celebrate some of the wackier moments and unique gestures that have happened during this truly bizarre year.

Recently, it’s a video of a 102-year-old woman visiting her great-grandson for the first time in a year. She decides to join in on the 6-year-old’s Zoom physical education class. Julia Fulkerson did stretches and aerobics with her great-grandson Brody, who really wanted to introduce her to the class. She took things to the next level by participating – as only a badass 102-year-old could, and the result went predictably viral.

The boy’s mom shared it on Instagram. “This was quite honestly one of the most special moments ever,” she wrote.


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A post shared by Angie Contreras (@angiec_143)

The class loved the great-grandma’s spirited display and lord knows kids stuck in Zoom school still need every drop of joy and fun they can have. Brody’s mom said the video going viral was crazy in all the best ways, and that they had just started seeing her for the first time in a year since they’d been vaccinated.

“I couldn’t be more grateful that the world saw and rejoiced in how amazing this lady is,” she wrote. “She is truly a legend and brings so much joy to so many hearts.”


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A post shared by Angie Contreras (@angiec_143)

If you were born in 1919, you lived through a lot. A few world wars, lifetimes of cultural shifts, and then towards the end you’re wowing a group of kids with your P.E. skills during Zoom school. A legend indeed.

Doctor Prescribes Grandma a Hug From Her Granddaughter After Vaccination

Doctor prescribes grandmother hug from granddaughter

One of the most challenging things about this past year is how much we’ve had to disconnect from the people we love. Sure, we can call and plan Zoom get-togethers with family and friends, but there’s something unparalleled about being together in person. We’ve found unique ways to stay connected virtually, but a digital embrace is something we haven’t quite figured out yet.

Senior citizens have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, whether they were isolated in an elderly care facility or locked down at home due to the increased risk COVID posed. Recently, we’ve been hit with a wave of cautious optimism due to the availability of a COVID vaccine. If the past year taught us anything, it’s that we can never be fully prepared for anything – but for the first time in a while, it feels safe to allow ourselves to hope.

One year ago, a lifetime in kid years, was the last time Evelyn Shaw was able to hug her granddaughter, Ateret Frank. Even after receiving her vaccinations, Shaw was hesitant to see her family face-to-face. The past year has instilled many of us with a sense of understandable paranoia, and even after being told it’s safe to resume some activities with the proper protocols, letting our guard down feels unimaginable.

“My granddaughter had completed her COVID protocol but I was not going to let her in… even though I had completed my vaccines. I was stuck in COVID land,” Shaw told CNN.

Shaw’s doctor, however, was all-too-familiar with the COVID mindset. To reassure the cautious patient that she was safe, her kind-hearted doctor wrote Shaw an unusual prescription. The prescription couldn’t be filled at the pharmacy, but instead, these doctor’s orders had to be completed at home.

In a post that quickly went viral on Twitter, Shaw’s daughter shared the touching prescription with the world. “My mom’s doctor wrote her a prescription to hug her granddaughter,” the caption read.

When Shaw’s daughter and granddaughter arrived for a visit, the doctor’s note remained at the forefront of her mind. “Having this prescription from my doctor gave me the courage to let her in,” Shaw explained.

In a touching second tweet, Jessica Shaw shared the emotional moment her family was reunited. In the short clip, Shaw sheds heavy tears as she embraces her granddaughter. Tears filled with the pain of being separated from those you love most, tears of immense relief, tears of hope.

Company Adapts Discontinued Waffle Recipe for Boy With Autism Who Eats Nothing Else

Company Adapts Waffle Recipe for Boy with Austism
(GoFundMe/Waffle Hunt for Jerico//Twitter/NaturesPath)

Every dad knows the pain of cooking dinner for a picky eater. But, there are picky eaters and there are clinically diagnosed picky eaters, the latter of which sent one parent to the extreme to keep him healthy. And it was a waffle company that helped the boy in a major way.

10-year-old Jerico Roman was diagnosed with autism early in life and struggles with extreme oral aversion and eating challenges. He works with multiple feeding therapists, but all his progress is typically lost when he gets sick (even with a cold). It gets so bad he’ll go days without eating or drinking (sometimes up to 12 days without eating) and he has to relearn how to do it all over again.

But, there was one food he would eat, Nature’s Path Maple Cinnamon waffles. And almost as soon as they found something palatable for him, the company discontinued them. Frantically, his mom set up a GoFundMe to try and acquire as many of the waffles left in circulation as she could.

“Asking for help is completely out of my comfort zone but I have no other choice. I am hoping we can get help to find more waffles for him,” his mom wrote. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to anyone who helps.”

Nature’s Path saw it and jumped into action. They started by trying to buy Jerico time, and their team took on a Waffle Hunt of their own until they were able to track down a warehouse in Illinois that still had several cases. They brought these to his doorstep.

This also bought the company time to help him find a long-term solution, as they worked arduously to adapt the recipe so his mom could replicate them at home, thus never having to worry about finding them on long-forgotten shelves again.

With the last remaining cases anywhere secure with Jerico, the company had to find a way to adapt a recipe that uses many commercial ingredients to one his mom could make at home.

The CEO said his R and D team nailed it. They delivered the recipe and the ingredients to his mom.

“They came up with the perfect recipe that taste’s just like the waffles you could buy in the store,” the CEO said. “It means the world to us to be able to help. Many at the company were really affected by their story, and we are so happy we were able to help in some small way.”

For his part, Jerico’s mom said the boy is not aware of the great Waffle Hunt, and the final solution. She’s just happy he’s eating on a regular basis and continues to make great progress. And as her supply dwindles, she can rest easy knowing she’s got the recipe to keep the waffle train going.

Trebek’s Daughter Pays Tribute to Dad’s Cancer Awareness Work

Trebek Tribute By Nicky

A few days ago Alex Trebek’s daughter reflected on her dad’s legacy on the two-year anniversary of his cancer announcement. The TV icon passed away from cancer late last year but left behind a lifetime of generosity, wit, and decades of quality entertainment.

Nicky Trebek took to Instagram sharing a photo with her late dad:

It was 2 years ago today while we were working on the Jeopardy set that my dad bravely stepped out in front of the cameras to announce he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

He brought much-needed awareness to this terrible disease and provided hope to so many struggling. I’m beyond proud of him for his courage and integrity throughout his illness. So I’m continuing what he started and will fight for everyone affected by pancreatic cancer.

That’s why I support the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in their mission to improve patient outcomes. You can too by visiting and donating.”


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A post shared by Nicky Trebek (@nickytrebek)

She also shared the website where others can join the fight. Inspired by her dad’s legacy, fans poured donations to the charity.

Alex Trebek made himself a fixture in people’s homes, in their hearts, and that lasting legacy will benefit the battle with pancreatic cancer for years to come.

7-Year-Old Girl Starts Lemonade Stand to Pay for Her Brain Surgeries

Lemonade for Liza
(Mightcause/Lemonade for Liza)

A 7-year-old in Alabama went viral last week for her lemonade stand. A rite-of-passage for most kids, her stand is a *little* more vital, she’s selling lemonade to help pay for her brain surgeries.

Liza Scott suffered a seizure earlier this year, and doctors discovered she had not one, but three different brain conditions that would require surgery. Her mom, owner of a bakery in Alabama, said her “spunky, loving, fearless, bright, happy girl” loves selling lemonade (and other treats), so she set up a stand outside the bakery for Liza. The proceeds from the sales would be going to help pay for her brain surgeries (she’ll need three).

“If there is anyone who can take lemons and make it to the most amazing lemonade ever, it is Liza,” her mom wrote. “From the start, Liza has taken the lemons thrown her way and shown us all that adding a little Zest to life is what making lemonade is all about.”

For her part, Liza’s lemonade stand will have to take a hiatus while she (and her mom) travel to Boston for the first of her brain surgeries.

“I hope I make it,” Liza told a local news station.

This is the part of the story, like all healthcare fundraising stories, to add the caveat that it’s crazy she has to do this. That any child would have to worry AT ALL about the financial cost of life-saving brain surgery is a burden no family, let alone a child, should have to worry about. Wholesale structural changes are needed to the way families get healthcare are needed to prevent tragedies like this. But, that doesn’t do much to help Liza and her mom NOW, in their current situation.

Her lemonade stand was a hit, but even with the additional insurance her mom bought, the family was looking at tens of thousands of dollars for out-of-pocket expenses, as they have to relocate to Boston for several weeks for each surgery.

So, her mom set up a fundraising page, and when the story of Liza’s lemonade started to gain traction, people responded. In a big way. Nearly $6,000 was raised for the family in the first few days. And since it started in late February, they’ve blown past the original goal, as more than $381,000 has been raised for the family.
“You have no idea how loved we feel,” her mom, Elizabeth, said. “It’s been overwhelming, but amazing….I never expected any of this…America is really…really great….”

Elizabeth’s dad, Liza’s grandpa, said the donations were going to make a huge difference to the family as they begin their journey to recovery.

And after all goes well, expect to see Liza back in the bakery doing what she loves, making people happy with her lemonade.

Woman Gets Second Job as Nursing Home Custodian So She Can Be With Her Dad

Nursing Home Custodian

As spring settles in, the horror show from the last year is starting to give way to a more optimistic chance at a return to normalcy. For some, the vaccine brings a chance to reunite with family members they haven’t seen in a year, due to restrictions. And others during that time went to new heights just to stay close with loved ones. One woman in Minnesota wasn’t able to see her dad in a nursing home, so she decided to take a second job as the nursing home’s custodian. It wasn’t the extra income she was after, it was being able to see her dad.

When Lisa Racine’s 87-year-old father saw her walk into the nursing home, he was shocked. “I was kind of dumbfounded, how did you get in here?” he told a local news station. He called seeing her walk through the doors one of the happiest days of his life.

Lisa is a project manager by day, but by filling in as a custodian at the nursing home, she filled a big void as they said it’s been very difficult to find people that are willing to work there during a pandemic. Nursing homes were among the communities hardest hit by the virus and its effects.

“I could take a yoga class or go to happy hour, but I’d rather come and mop the floor and clean dishes so I can see my dad… He’s cleaned up plenty of messes after me in the past.”

That right there is a sign you were a great dad. When you get towards the end of the line, and you have a kid who thinks like that and is willing to mop floors in a medical community during a global pandemic, just so you aren’t alone…yep, you were a great Dad. And to a great dad goes the greatest reward…spending what time he has left with his children.

How Playing Video Games Helped Me Through My Fight With Cancer

How Playing Video Games Helped me Through Cancer

There are just certain things in our lives that can lift up our spirits.  A favorite TV series or a certain kind of food.  It’s different for everyone, but video games are what helped me cope during a rough patch in my life.

Almost eight years ago, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer.  While in the shower, one of my testicles felt like a rock.  It was solid and painful to even graze it on anything.  Putting any kind of pants on would become a chore and unfortunately, you have to wear pants out in public.  After expressing concerns with my doctor, I was booked in for an ultrasound.

Immediately the day after the scan, I got a call from my doctor and she asked me to come in to discuss the results.  She told me to bring my wife and kids as well.  The positive, inviting sound of her voice almost made it seem like we were going to like what she had to say.  She broke the news and my wife and I held back tears.  Our kids didn’t really know what was going on since they were young at the time (one and four).  For me, I thought that was it.  The beginning of the end.  Game over, man.

Ultimately it was decided that surgery would be the best option.  They would remove my right testicle (they make an incision in-between your pelvic area and your stomach) and after that perform some tests to see if the cancer had spread any further.  It is the most common form of cancer in men age 15 to 35 and statistically, 95% of men survive testicular cancer, you just have to catch it early enough.

My wife likes to take only the most flattering photos of me.

The day of the surgery arrived and I was on edge.  I constantly kept making sure with the doctor and nurses that they knew that it was my right testicle they were removing. I had this fear they would accidentally remove the wrong testicle and then they would end up having to remove both.  Even when they were giving me the anesthesia, I made sure with them that it was my right testicle they were removing.  After the surgery, I woke up groggy and disoriented, but not so disoriented that I didn’t immediately check underneath the covers.  They had removed the “right” testicle.  I breathed a sigh of relief and might have laughed because I was still ridiculously high on pain meds.

Once I was back at home, any movement was pretty painful and my mental state wasn’t the greatest.  That’s the thing, the surgery wasn’t the hard part, it’s what comes after.  Growing up, your testicles are a coveted treasure.  I can guarantee you’ve heard “Grow a pair” or “Get some balls”.  It’s rammed into your head that your testicles define who you are as a man (they don’t).  Well, now I was short one.  In desperate need to get away from my current situation, I figured this was as perfect a time as any to chill on the couch and catch up on my backlog of games.  Parental duties had pushed Borderlands 2 to the wayside so I decided to start a new character and immediately, I found myself lost in its wild, hilarious, messed-up world.  That’s one of the great things about video games, they’re able to distract you and help with the healing process.  I’m not quite sure I’d recommend something as intense as Dark Souls, but if that helps you relax, go for it.

I hadn’t played any of the expansions yet for Borderlands 2 and there’s one called ‘Assault on Dragon Keep’.  It involves you traveling through various fantastical areas within a board game called ‘Bunkers and Badasses’.  Much like an actual Dungeons and Dragons game, the world shifts and transforms right in front of your eyes.  It’s really awesome and as with most of Borderlands, it has its fair share of funny moments.  While you’re playing through it though, there are little hints as to why one of Borderland’s most outrageous characters Tiny Tina loves playing ‘Bunkers and Badasses’ so much.  She uses the game to cope with the death of her friend.

It was at that moment I realized I had something in common with the adorable little psychopath and this game spoke volumes to me.  Borderlands 2 allowed me to escape to a world where I got to be a badass Vault Hunter.  Like most video games, it offered a form of escapism that I so desperately needed at that time in my life.  I just wanted to get lost in something and forget about the situation I was in.

Almost eight years later, surgery would end up being all I needed.  I’m still in remission, but I get checked yearly just to be safe.  It honestly took a while before I didn’t feel any different and felt confident again with myself, but video games helped with getting through that whole process.  Things turned out alright in the end for me, but I can’t imagine the stress and fear of the families dealing with a situation like mine that doesn’t go according to plan.  I have friends and family who have dealt with and are currently dealing with cancer in their lives.  You don’t realize how many people it actually affects until you’ve been there yourself.

Video games have the power to take your mind off things, allowing you to heal, and Borderlands 2 holds a special place in my heart for that reason.

Sometimes, just like Tiny Tina, you have to escape the real world for a little while.

Testicular cancer is no joke.  Most young men are reluctant to talk about it or examine themselves because they’re embarrassed, and those with testicular cancer may not discover it until it’s too late.  Don’t let the stigma hold you back from getting checked out.  If you think you might have testicular cancer, here’s how to self-examine yourself.

Teacher Donates Kidney So Pre-K Student Can Live a Normal Life

Teacher donates kidney to student
(YouTube/FOX 2 St. Louis)

Teaching isn’t the kind of job you do for the money. Teaching day after day requires your full attention, and the amount of preparation the job requires means that working 12-hour days isn’t unusual. Your patience is tested constantly, and you’re perpetually wearing multiple hats to both manage your classroom and teach the material. Teaching is hard. Realistically, people go into teaching for one reason – because they love what they do.

COVID has demonstrated the flexibility and range that’s required of a good teacher, whether they’re adjusting to new in-person rules or completely redoing their curriculum for remote learning. One Missouri teacher named Robin Mach recently took her dedication to her students to an entirely new level by saving one student’s life.

5-Year-old Kayleigh Kulage was born prematurely, entering the world at just 26 weeks and weighing in at under a pound. According to her mom Desiree, Kayleigh spent a whopping 158 days in the NICU, fighting for her life and growing stronger every day. Since she was born underdeveloped, however, Kayleigh has been on dialysis every night since birth.

“If she didn’t have like these tubes on her or anything you wouldn’t really know anything’s wrong with her,” Desiree told Fox 2 Now. “She never cries. She never complains about pain. She’s a happy kid. I couldn’t have been any luckier to have her.”

Robin Mach, a teacher at Kayleigh’s school, has known the brave pre-k student for almost two years. Mach provided home services to Kayleigh and saw firsthand the struggles that Kayleigh endured without so much as a complaint. After bonding with the 5-year-old, Mach made a life-changing decision. She didn’t want the little girl to live her life reliant on tubes and wires, so to render them obsolete, she opted to donate her own kidney to the young student.

“She needed it. I wanted her to have a normal life and go to school. And this is how we can help her get there,” Mach said.

After a painful surgery and days of waiting anxiously to see if the transplant was successful, Kayleigh has a new lease on life. She will now be able to bathe without a catheter, she can fall asleep watching Frozen on the couch without having to be woken for her nightly round of dialysis. Thanks to Miss Robin, as Kayleigh calls her, she will be able to live her life to the fullest.

“She’s incredible,” Desiree said of Miss Robin. “She was offering to do our laundry. And take me back and forth. And I’m like, ‘you just had major surgery. You need to go home and rest.’ I don’t know how to thank her. So, all I keep on saying is thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Couple Turns Van Into Mobile Dining Room to Visit Favorite Restaurants

Mobile Van Dining

The restaurant industry has been forced to adapt like few others in the COVID era. With changing restrictions and government lockdowns, supporting your favorite restaurant is harder than ever. Food workers are feeling the crunch, and leads in the food industry are trying to help. But what also helps is creative people finding ways to (safely) enjoy eating outside their homes.

With winter here, and outside dining practically impossible, can this even be accomplished? According to one couple in Illinois, the answer is a mobile dining room, so they can bring the restaurant experience to the parking lots of their favorite eateries. With indoor dining shut down in their state, Doug and Kim White turned an old van into a private dining room, with a table, chairs, and even some fancy lights. This way, they can hit up their favorite spots and still enjoy a fresh, hot meal (safely) inside (of a van, but still).


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A post shared by Doug & Kim White (@van_dining)


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A post shared by Doug & Kim White (@van_dining)

They post updates on their dining experience online (and quickly went viral), and Doug wrote that they do it because “having been in the industry, I know how hard it is for a restaurant to stay in business even without a pandemic threat…We turned the Mikey Mobile into a portable dining room. We’ll do what we can to support our eateries.”

He did say in another post that it’s not quite the same not being able to sit at the bar and enjoy an ice-cold Old Style, but that they’ll ‘take what we can get’ in the Covid world.

Friends and family members have started reaching out to borrow the mobile dining room, and it should get plenty of use during the cold Illinois winter.