A photographer's creative approach draws attention to childhood hunger in the U.S.

13 million children in the U.S. will go hungry at some point this year.

It's easy to dismiss child hunger as something that only happens in other countries, but food insecurity — the state of having your eating patterns disrupted due to a lack of food — is a big deal, and it's something that happens in our own backyards.

For many children living in food insecure homes, their only meal each day might come from school or after-school programs, which means the summer months, when they aren't in school, are some of the toughest.


A new photo series shines a light on the issue, showing "kids on an epic journey to find food."

Photographer Benjamin Von Wong wasn't all that familiar with childhood hunger in the U.S., but after a chat with some folks at Second Harvest Food Bank, he set out to create a photo campaign designed to highlight this serious issue in a way that wouldn't cause people to tune out.

"When Hunger Hits" features children going to Herculean lengths in order to find food, with individual photos showing everything from a "Mission: Impossible"-style bacon heist to an "Indiana Jones"-like discovery in the wild.

All photos by Benjamin Von Wong, used with permission.

Finding food shouldn't require heroics — especially for kids.

Childhood is enough of an adventure without having to worry about whether or not you'll be able to eat today. With food banks as some of the last lines of defense for many Americans facing hunger, those of us in a position to give back or volunteer our time should definitely consider doing so.

Think about getting in touch with your local food bank, making a donation, or sharing one of Von Wong's campaign-related memes on your social media channels.

And for a behind the scenes look at the "When Hunger Strikes" photo series, check out the video below.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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