Barebones makes the tents of the future, and they're giving them to people in need.
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Barebones Living

When Robert Workman had the chance to sell his family business for a substantial profit 10 years ago, he decided to use the proceeds for good.

It was an exciting and humbling moment, filled with possibility. He'd become interested in sustainability and philanthropy and knew that he wanted to start giving back. The only questions that remained were how and where. So he hit the road looking for inspiration.

Traveling to the Congo was an eye-opening moment for Robert. Speaking to aid agencies working on the ground and communicating with the people whose lives they were trying to help, he identified an important need that wasn't being met: portable, sustainable, affordable energy generation. Robert convened a team of engineers and got to work. Goal Zero was the result.


Goal Zero offers everything from solar panels (pictured here) to power storage packs. Image via Hadhuey/Wikimedia Commons.

Goal Zero offers an easy-to-use, plug-and-play generator powered by solar panels. Its Yeti power packs are small but mighty, with three sizes able to power anything from phone chargers to refrigerators. The generators were instantly embraced by aid agencies and outdoor adventurers alike.

As far as companies go, Goal Zero is the de facto older brother of Barebones Living. Robert sold Goal Zero in 2014 and created Barebones Living.

Where Goal Zero offers a sustainable and renewable way of generating power, Barebones Living offers sustainable shelters, cooking implements, gardening tools, and lanterns.

A Barebones Living tent. Image via Barebones Living, used with permission.

The tents themselves — dubbed the Outfitter and the Lodge — are high-quality and built to last. They come equipped with fully waterproof floors, six-foot-tall walls, cookstove vents in the roof, and exteriors that will last five years even with daily use. But while these tents wouldn't be out of place at a high-end retreat or the fancy camping area of Coachella, it's in the developing world or during disaster relief where they really go to work.

"Our business has been created by our humanitarian work," said Erik Workman, Barebones Living director of sales and outdoor adventure. "All of our businesses were causes that needed these services."

When a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015, it left cities and villages in ruins and entire families on the streets.

One of Barebones Living's tents being used as a field hospital in Kathmandu.

While UN humanitarian aid can provide tarps for shelters, they're only a temporary solution. "People can’t thrive under tarps," Erik said. "They need a good, clean place where they know they'll be safe. Once you have that, you can start thinking about other things."

Within a week of the earthquake, Barebones Living shipped 25 of its tents to Kathmandu to be used as birthing centers. A few months later, they shipped 75 more. Since then, more than 1500 healthy babies have been born to healthy moms in these mobile birthing shelters. Even after the local hospital is rebuilt and reopened, these tents will still be useful — forming the frames for homes for displaced families.

More recently, the Barebones team has been on the ground in the Philippines, Haiti, Jamaica, and Fiji, helping with recovery efforts after devastating hurricanes.

Once shelter is taken care of, a community can rebuild. Image via Barebones Living, used with permission.

They also donated tents to the protestors at Standing Rock in North Dakota and are working with an agency to supply tents and equipment to a growing Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon.

"We're working to set up a mobile medical clinic that we can basically palletize and put on a plane," Erik said. "It has the shelter, cots, coolers, lanterns — everything they'd need to get a clinic up and running in a remote area."

As Barebones continues to grow its business, it plans to give back even more.

Barebones Living tents are strong enough to be used as permanent homes in all kinds of weather for up to five years. Image via Barebones Living, used with permission.

"Right now we have a matching grant fund to support humanitarian agencies that want to purchase shelters," Erik said. "Every year for the next five years, we're matching grants up to $500,000, and we hope to expand that program as much as we can in the future."

Giving back has been baked in to the mandate of Barebones Living from the beginning. For the people who benefit from their generosity, the effect can be life-changing. Here's to more companies following their lead!

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This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

Watch the full story:

Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down...in the most delightful way.

There are certain songs from kids' movies that most of us can sing along to, but we often don't know how they originated. Now we have a timely insight into one such song—"A Spoonful of Sugar" from "Mary Poppins."

It's common for parents to try all kinds of tricks to get kids to take medications they don't want to take, but the inspiration for "A Spoonful of Sugar" was much more specific. Jeffrey Sherman, the son and nephew of the Sherman Brothers—the musical duo responsible not just for "Mary Poppins," but a host of Disney films including "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," "The Jungle Book," "The Aristocats," as well as the song "It's a Small World After All"—told the story of how "A Spoonful of Sugar" came about on Facebook.

He wrote:

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Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

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"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

via Twins Trust / Twitter

Twins born with separate fathers are rare in the human population. Although there isn't much known about heteropaternal superfecundation — as it's known in the scientific community — a study published in The Guardian, says about one in every 400 sets of fraternal twins has different fathers.

Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards, a gay married couple, from London, England both wanted to be the biological father of their first child.

"We couldn't decide on who would be the biological father," Simon told The Daily Mail. "Graeme said it should be me, but I said that he had just as much right as I did."

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Blackface has a long and shameful history in this country. We think—we hope—after numerous call-outs and emotional explanations, Americans get the message: blackface is not okay. But that isn't the case, as many were re-made painfully aware, when Dr. Regina N. Bradley, a professor and critically acclaimed writer, shared the shocking auditory version of her new essay, "Da Art of Speculatin'", on Twitter.

Due to outrageous oversight, Fireside—a progressively minded short-story magazine who claim, in their About page, to resist "the global rise of fascism and far-right populism"—hired a young, white male voice actor to read and record Bradley's essay—an essay that identifies its writer, in its very first line, as a "southern Black woman who stands in the long shadow of the Civil Rights Movement."

According to the Washington Post, Rineer spoke in an accent that listeners interpreted as something that would appear in minstrel show, an American form of entertainment developed in the early 19th century, in which white people lampooned Black people, often portraying them as dim-witted and buffoonish, with stock characters including the dandy, the slave, and the 'mammy.' It's incredibly, incredibly offensive. So it's no wonder that, upon hearing the clip, a horrified Bradley fired off an outraged tweet, asking Fireside and Rineer if they honestly thought this is what she sounded like.



How could something so offensive have been approved, one wonders, especially in a year defined by reckoning with racial injustice? For the answer, look to Pablo Defendini, the publisher and editor for Fireside, who claimed, "nothing insidious in his decision… he just didn't listen to the recording before posting it."

"The blame for this rests squarely with me, as the person who hires out and manages the audio production process at Fireside," Defendini said in a statement. "In the interest of remaining a lean operation, I've been hiring one narrator to record the audio for a whole issue's worth of Fireside Quarterly, and I don't normally break out specific stories or essays for narrating by particular individuals."

"My personal neglect allowed racist violence to be perpetrated on a Black author, which makes me not just complicit in anti-Black racism, but racist as well."

As for Rineer, he regrets not breaking a contract rule and contacting Bradley directly about her work. His gut instinct told him not to proceed—that he was the wrong person for the job. Still, upon expressing his doubts to Fireside, he was ignored, and so proceeded with the recording—he'd already signed the contract.

"I made the mistake of reading Dr. Bradley's work and assuming an accent that was not representative of her voice," he said. "I had tried to find a different narrator who would be a suitable representative in my network and via public forums, to no avail, in the week-long time frame I had."

As for Bradley, Defendini's apology isn't cutting it. "Not listening" isn't an excuse—it's deepening the wound. Black Women have been "not listened" to since the dawn of this nation's founding.

"I am angry," she wrote. "Seething from centuries of silenced Black women angry."