A young couple started a unique small business: one that gives back.
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Tillamook

When Caroline and Trey started their small business, they knew they wanted to run things a bit ... differently.

Here they are with their tea:


Hey there, Caroline and Trey! Image by Jen Christo.

The challenge they faced was this: How could they combine their delicious iced tea recipes with their love for community?

So they created solidariTEA, an iced tea company that donates 10 cents to community groups for every bottle of tea sold.

Caroline and Trey started brewing up (heh heh) the idea for solidariTEA in the spring of 2011 as a way to strengthen their community.

"We see communities as the societal equivalent of an ecosystem," they explained to me. "The stronger and healthier the community, the better it will be able to serve and support its members."

Even their cat loves the tea. Image courtesy of solidariTEA.

To get the project going, Caroline and Trey had to raise money of their own. They turned to microlending campaigns and even got a boost of support from Tillamook Co-Op members, which works hard to support community real-food projects.

Next up was deciding who they were going to support. The duo didn't just want to create a new community organization. They wanted to support the groups already doing great work on the ground. So they started partnering with existing community groups to provide an alternative to traditional nonprofit grant funding.

In May 2015, solidariTEA made its first donation of $3,500 to partner nonprofits. And that's just the beginning.

After the first couple years of making and selling tea, Caroline and Trey were able to make a donation in May 2015 that represented their sales through the end of 2014.

The solidariTEAm giving their first checks to community partners. Image courtesy of solidariTEA.

Who were the lucky recipients? Rock Paper Scissors Collective, a volunteer-run community arts organization, and People's Grocery, a group that aims to provide education and healthy local food choices to the community — both based in Oakland, California.

"We understand [that $3,500] is small potatoes now," Caroline and Trey told me, "[but] as we scale up our business we expect ... our teas to represent a real source of stable income to our partners to continue the amazing, grassroots work they do."

Still, their first donation is a huge success for everyone involved! That's $3,500 these community groups can spend "on absolutely anything that fits within their scope and mission." That's because, unlike traditional nonprofit grants, solidariTEA's donations are based on trust, respect, and solidarity and come with zero spending restrictions or strings attached.

Pretty cool, right?

Despite all the hard work it's taken to start their own business, Caroline and Trey say it's all been worth it.

"We've met a lot of really inspiring, wonderful people: people with big hearts who are doing bada** things, from which a lot of new friendships have grown."

Courtesy of Creative Commons
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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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Public Domain

A very simple thing happened earlier this week. Dr. Seuss Enterprises—the company that runs the Dr. Seuss estate and holds the legal rights to his works—announced it will no longer publish six Dr. Seuss children's books because they contain depictions of people that are "hurtful and wrong" (their words). The titles that will no longer be published are And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat's Quizzer.

This simple action prompted a great deal of debate, along with a great deal of disinformation, as people reacted to the story. (Or in many cases, just the headline. It's a thing.)

My article about the announcement (which contains examples of the problematic content that prompted the announcement) led to nearly 3,000 comments on Upworthy's Facebook page. Since many similar comments were made repeatedly, I wanted to address the most common sentiments and questions:

How do we learn from history if we keep erasing it?

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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When an earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused a nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011 most people who lived in the area fled. Some left without their pets, who then had to fend for themselves in a radioactive nuclear zone.

Sakae Kato stayed behind to rescue the cats abandoned by his neighbors and has spent the last decade taking care of them. He has converted his home, which is in a contaminated quarantine area, to a shelter for 41 cats, whom he refers to as "kids." He has buried 23 other cats in his garden over the past 10 years.

The government has asked the 57-year-old to evacuate the area many times, but he says he figured he was going to die anyway. "And if I had to die, I decided that I would like to die with these guys," he said.

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