Beto O'Rourke is organizing thousands of welfare check-ins for elderly Texans

Writer James Lane Allen once wrote, "Adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it." If that's the case, we're seeing the true character of political leaders in the state of Texas right now.

While Senator Ted Cruz gallivanted off to Cancun as people in his state froze in their homes, boiled water for drinking, and stood in line for hours to get food, former Texas representative Beto O'Rourke gathered volunteers and organized a grassroots effort to help elderly Texans stuck in their homes to connect them with resources.

O'Rourke wrote on Twitter that a virtual "welfare check" phone banking event held on Wednesday, February 17 had reached 151,000 seniors.


"One of our vols talked to a man stranded at home w/out power in Killeen, hadn't eaten in 2 days, got him a ride to a warming center and a hot meal," O'Rourke wrote.

O'Rourke has been sharing county-specific shelter, food bank, and aid information on social media, pointing people to the places where they can seek help in their area. He's also holding another phone bank welfare check event on Thursday from 1:00pm to 9:00pm, which anyone in the country can sign up to be trained and help with.


The situation in Texas is dire. Millions have been without power for days, millions more are under water boil orders, stores are running out of food, and people are chipping icicles off the insides of their homes. While there's nothing anyone can do about the weather, there is plenty that can be done on the ground to get people connected with the help that is available.

Politicians can bicker all they want about who's to blame for this crisis, but it's pretty obvious that the problem is the state's approach to independent energy competition with little government oversight or regulation. Texas is known for distancing itself from the federal government and limiting its own state government, which means people have to rely on each other in a crisis. Isn't that what small-government ideology is all about? The power of local communities and organizations to provide what people need? Wouldn't it logically make sense, then, that politicians who scoff at government aid and regulation would be the first on the ground providing that community-oriented assistance, since that's the societal structure they want to see?

How ironic is it then that the politician doing that assistance is Beto O'Rourke, while Texas's actual elected official, Ted Cruz, hops on a plane to Cancun?

O'Rourke pointed out the irony of the Texas government being run by people who don't believe in government and explained how fighting regulation led directly to the crisis Texas is currently experiencing. "We are nearing a failed state in Texas," he told Chris Hayes on MSNBC.

It's worth pointing out that O'Rourke isn't even in an official leadership position right now. A lifelong resident of El Paso, O'Rourke served four terms in the House of Representatives and gave Ted Cruz a run for his money in the Texas Senate race in 2018. He also made an ultimately unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 2020. But at the moment, he's just a private citizen, and he's doing far more leading by example and taking far more action than Texas's actual elected representatives.

A crisis shows us who is fit to lead and who is not. Good for Beto O'Rourke for stepping up and exemplifying what leadership should look like and for helping out his fellow Texans when they need it the most.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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