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A young boy shines shoes to get by, but that's not what keeps him up at night.

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All 7 Billion

We don't get to choose the life we're born into, but if we're lucky, we can decide what we try to do from there. And for some, that just might mean starting fires in the middle of the night.

Community

How to end hunger, according to the people who face it daily

Here’s what people facing food insecurity want you to know about solving the hunger problem in America

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Even though America is the world’s wealthiest nation, about 1 in 6 of our neighbors turned to food banks and community programs in order to feed themselves and their families last year. Think about it: More than 9 million children faced hunger in 2021 (1 in 8 children).

In order to solve a problem, we must first understand it. Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, released its second annual Elevating Voices: Insights Report and turned to the experts—people experiencing hunger—to find out how this issue can be solved once and for all.

Here are the four most important things people facing hunger want you to know.

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Pets

Family brings home the wrong dog from daycare until their cats saved the day

A quick trip to the vet confirmed the cats' and family's suspicions.

Family accidentally brings wrong dog home but their cats knew

It's not a secret that nearly all golden retrievers are identical. Honestly, magic has to be involved for owners to know which one belongs to them when more than one golden retriever is around. Seriously, how do they all seem have the same face? It's like someone fell asleep on the copy machine when they were being created.

Outside of collars, harnesses and bandanas, immediately identifying the dog that belongs to you has to be a secret skill because at first glance, their personalities are also super similar. That's why it's not surprising when one family dropped off their sweet golden pooch at daycare and to be groomed, they didn't notice the daycare sent out the wrong dog.

See, not even their human parents can tell them apart because when the swapped dog got home, nothing seemed odd to the owners at first. She was freshly groomed so any small differences were quickly brushed off. But this accidental doppelgänger wasn't fooling her feline siblings.

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A guy passes out on his bed eating pizza.

A 29-year-old woman had a baby girl, and after a brief maternity leave, she had to return to work. She couldn't afford childcare, so her husband, 35, reluctantly agreed to watch the baby while she was at work.

“It’s important to know that he’s been unemployed since 2021,” the woman wrote on Reddit’s AITA subforum. “He receives benefits. It’s also important to know that he’s extremely lazy. He doesn’t cook, clean, or help out in any way. I was nervous about leaving her home with her father, but I had no choice.”

The mother had reason to be worried about leaving her baby home alone with her husband, but in the beginning, things seemed fine. “When I came back from work, she was clean and sleeping. The next few times I came home, he was either playing with her, feeding her, or out for a walk with her. I was happy,” she wrote.

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A boy doing the dishes.

A 41-year-old mom with 3 boys, 12-year-old twins, and a 10-year-old, pays them $10 daily to do their chores. However, their pay is deducted $10 if they miss a day. The boys have to do their tasks 5 days a week, although it doesn’t matter which days they choose to work.

“This system has worked swimmingly for us since it started, the boys have always complied with completing their chores,” the mom wrote on Reddit.

Her 12-year-old son was getting ready to play Fortnite with a friend and told him he’d be ready in 15 minutes once he finished his chores. When the boys started playing the game, he told the friend he was in charge of dusting and sweeping the stairs, to which the friend responded, “It’s a good thing my parents don’t make me do girl chores.”

After learning what the friend said, the mom told her son that chores are genderless.

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Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Women do better when they have female friends.

Madeleine Albright once said, "There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." It turns out that might actually be a hell on Earth, because women just do better when they have other women to rely on, and there's research that backs it up.

A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that women who have a strong circle of friends are more likely to get executive positions with higher pay. "Women who were in the top quartile of centrality and had a female-dominated inner circle of 1-3 women landed leadership positions that were 2.5 times higher in authority and pay than those of their female peers lacking this combination," Brian Uzzi writes in the Harvard Business Review.

Part of the reason why women with strong women backing them up are more successful is because they can turn to their tribe for advice. Women have to face different challenges than men, such as unconscious bias, and being able to turn to other women who have had similar experiences can help you navigate a difficult situation. It's like having a road map for your goals.

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Derrick Downey Jr. has been dubbed the 'squirrel whisperer.'

Most of us who live in the U.S. are used to looking out a window or walking out our front door and seeing squirrels. The cute, fluffy-tailed rodents often appear perfectly pettable, but they generally scamper away when humans get too close.

That is not the case for TikTok creator Derrick Downey Jr., however, as he has not only befriended his neighborhood squirrels but goes all out to help them live their best squirrel lives.

Downey shared a video in May of 2022 in which he chats with a couple of squirrels on his porch while feeding them and offering them water. That video received over 26 million views and kicked off a whole series of videos showcasing the adorable antics of Richard, Maxine, Hector, Consuela, Norma (may she rest in peace), and Hood Rat Raymond. He's built Richard a house, rescued Maxine's babies, mourned Norma's transition (to wherever squirrels go when they die) and more.

People can't get enough, and who can blame them? Squirrels are the best (when they're not tearing up your patio furniture and stealing cotton for their nest, as Downey has experienced.)

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Education

Voice recordings of people who were enslaved offer incredible first-person accounts of U.S. history

"The results of these digitally enhanced recordings are arresting, almost unbelievable. The idea of hearing the voices of actual slaves from the plantations of the Old South is as powerful—as startling, really—as if you could hear Abraham Lincoln or Robert E. Lee speak." - Ted Koppel

Library of Congress

When we think about the era of American slavery, many of us tend to think of it as the far distant past. While slavery doesn't exist as a formal institution today, there are people living who knew formerly enslaved black Americans first-hand. In the wide arc of history, the legal enslavement of people on U.S. soil is a recent occurrence—so recent, in fact, that we have voice recordings of interviews with people who lived it.

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