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Joy

Costco CEO stuns young boy by responding to his email asking for help with school fundraiser

Costco really is the best.

Costco teddy bear
All images courtesy Lesley Cerwin

A 12-year-old student wrote Costco's CEO asking for help.

Imagine your 12-year-old son is helping take part in his school’s Valentine’s Day fundraiser. You’d probably be proud and encouraged at the way he’s getting involved and doing something good, right?

Now imagine, as part of that effort, he decided to email the CEO of Costco, one of the most beloved big box retailers in the world. Well, that’s cute, right? But what if he told you the CEO not only wrote back but went out of his way to donate exactly what your son asked for?

It may sound too good to be true, but that’s exactly what happened when Grant Cerwin sent an email to Costco CEO Craig Jelinek. The sixth grader emailed Jelinek asking if he would donate one of Costco’s famous 93-inch teddy bears to his middle school’s fundraiser in Los Angeles:




“Hi Mr. Jelinek,

My name is Grant Cerwin and I am 12 years old. I go to [removed] Middle School and am the 6th grade class rep. We want to raffle one of your giant bears as a Valentine’s Day fundraiser for our school. We are part of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Is there any chance Costco might donate one? My dad has a truck and we could come get it at the store. I would make sure everyone knew you gave it to us in our school newsletter, on social media and with a big sign by the bear. I know it is a long shot but I thought it couldn’t hurt to ask. We are also seeing how we might get enough money to buy one. Thanks for considering. Your friend, Grant.”

Costco CEO

12-year-old student Grant Cerwin writes to Costco CEO Craig Jelinek

Well, it turns out the long shot was perfectly timed.

Jelinek not only saw the email but jumped into action, asking his colleague "Can we find him a teddy?" Then his lieutenant emailed their colleagues to quickly find a bear for Cerwin’s school, writing: “Do whatever it takes to find a Big Bear and set up pick up for Lesley. Keep me posted.”

Costco CEO

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek steps in to help

Grant then received the following message from Costco:

“Good morning Grant. I am the Toy Supervisor at our Costco’s LA Regional office. I have good news, Costco will be donating a 93” Plush Bear to your school to use in your Valentine’s Day fundraiser! We could have it delivered to the school directly so your parents don’t have to worry about transporting it.”

Costco

Costco reached out directly to Grant Cerwin to help

With time to spare, the Big Bear was delivered to Grant and his school was able to include it in their fundraiser. And while moments like this don’t happen every day, they are a great reminder that even the biggest companies are run by real people and those people often have big hearts. Big, as in 93” plush bear big.

And let’s be honest, we’re not entirely shocked that this happened at Costco, a company that has built a well-earned reputation for treating both its customers and its employees with dignity and respect.

“It speaks volumes about the leadership at Costco that Grant got the response he did,” Grant’s mother Lesley Cerwin told Upworthy. “He is a boundlessly optimistic child and as a parent you worry the world will chip away at that positivity. I’m grateful that the team at Costco reaffirmed my son’s belief that the world is full of good people.”

“I couldn’t believe that they responded so fast and that so many people helped,” Grant told Upworthy. “They didn’t want anything, just to help our school.”

Costco bear

The Costco bear was delivered to Grant Cerwin and his classmates

Something as seemingly simple as a donated teddy bear might not sound like much, but it’s examples like this that show the power of bridge-building between companies and communities.

An act of kindness in itself can go a long way. And when that is coupled with the impact it had not only on Grant and his mom, but on Grant’s classmates, you can start to see a real impact that all started with a single email.

Costco bear

Grant Cerwin and his classmates pose with the Costco bear.

“My teachers and friends at school are excited,” Grant said. “We all can’t believe how big it is. It takes a bunch of us to move it around. Our ASB class is working on a thank you card.”

Plus, let’s be honest, a personal touch from someone as high-profile as Craig Jelinek and his team isn’t a bad way to build customer loyalty either. As Lesley told us, “I’ve always liked Costco. Will I be even happier to shop there now? You bet. It is a great store and now I am acutely aware that it is run by amazing people.”


This article originally appeared on 2.16.23

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Joy

Gen X has hit 'that stage' of life and is not handling it very well

We are NOT prepared for Salt-n-Pepa to replace Michael McDonald in the waiting room at the doctor's office, thankyouverymuch.

Gen X is eating dinner earlier and earlier. It's happening.




The thing about Gen X being in our 40s and 50s now is that we were never supposed to get "old." Like, we're the cool, aloof grunge generation of young tech geniuses. Most of the giants that everyone uses every day—Google, Amazon, YouTube—came from Gen X. Our generation is both "Friends" and "The Office." We are, like, relevant, dammit.

And also, our backs hurt, we need reading glasses, our kids are in college and how in the name of Jennifer Aniston's skincare regimen did we get here?

It's weird to reach the stage when there's no doubt that you aren't young anymore. Not that Gen X is old—50 is the new 30, you know—but we're definitely not young. And it seems like every day there's something new that comes along to shove that fact right in our faces. When did hair start growing out of that spot? Why do I suddenly hate driving at night? Why is this restaurant so loud? Does that skin on my arm look…crepey?


As they so often do, Penn and Kim Holderness from The Holderness Family have captured the Gen X existential crisis in a video that has us both nodding a long and laughing out loud. Salt-n-Pepa in the waiting room at the doctor's office? Uh, no. That's a line we are not ready to cross yet. Nirvana being played on the Classic Rock station? Nope, not prepared for that, either.

Watch:

Hoo boy, the denial is real, isn't it? We grew up on "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, for goodness sake, and it's starting to feel like we made a wrong choice a chapter or two back and suddenly landed our entire generation in a time warp. This isn't real, is it? Thirty years ago was the 1970s. That's just a Gen X fact. So what if we've lived long enough for our high school fashions to go out of style and then back into style and then back out of style again?

Seriously, though, we can either lament our age and stage in life or we can laugh about it, and people are grateful to the Holdernesses for assisting with the latter. Gen X fans are also thrilled to see their own experiences being validated, because at this point, we've all had that moment in the grocery store or the waiting room when one of our jams came on and we immediately went into a panic.

"They were playing The Cure in the grocery store and I almost started crying," wrote one commenter. "I mean, how 'alternative' can you be if you're being played in Krogers? You guys are great! Thanks for making us laugh."

"I couldn’t believe it when I heard Bohemian Rhapsody being played in Walmart," shared another. "That was edgy in my day."

"I know!!! Bon Jovi at the grocery store!!! That was my clue in!!" added another.

"Long live Gen Xers! We have to be strong!! We can get through this together!! #NKOTBmeetsAARP" wrote on commenter.You can find more from the Holderness Family on their Facebook page, their podcast and their website, theholdernessfamily.com.


This article originally appeared on 1.28.24

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

An Italian preschooler's Italian rant has people in stitches.

All people have a need to communicate, but the way we do that varies greatly from place to place. Every culture has its own communication peculiarities that make our human family delightfully diverse.

Not only do humans speak thousands of languages around the world, but we also engage in culturally specific speaking styles, speech patterns and body language, some of which are immediately identifiable.

Case in point: the Italian "finger purse."


Italian people are known for using their hands a lot when speaking. Italian hand gestures can vary a bit between northern and southern Italy, but one of the most universally recognizable is the pinched fingers or "finger purse." That's the gesture in which the tips of the fingers and the thumb are pressed together (forming a purse shape) and pointed upward, often in a repeated back-and-forth or up-and-down motion, sometimes with one hand and sometimes with both. Along with the rhythm of punctuated emphasis on certain words, especially when speaking passionately, the finger purse is often used to convey a question with a sense of annoyance, exasperation or confusion.

It's a gesticulation most of us associate with a classic Italian grandma or grandpa, but when you see it coming from a tiny little Italian person, it's utterly hilarious. A viral video, originally shared by @guiseppe_matilde on TikTok, shows a preschooler engaging in a passionate rant that is unmistakably Italian, both in the actual language she's speaking and in her hand gestures.

According to Italian speakers in the comments, the little girl is conveying a story about how someone commented negatively about her wearing a miniskirt. u/shykawaii_shark on Reddit shared:

"Rough translation for English speakers. Not a literal translation, I made it easier to comprehend

Mother: What kind of sense does that make!

Daughter: They told me 'What sense does going out with a miniskirt make?' Like, think for yourself! I can wear my miniskirt, and you mind your own business!

Mother: Exactly!

Daughter: Think about your own miniskirt, not mine!"

Got a feisty little feminist here.

The full video on TikTok is even better (but it doesn't have the Italian subtitles):

@giuseppe_matilde

Secondo voi ha ragione matilde ? #foryoupage @Giò Canaletti seguitela tutti su istragram matilde_vaccar

As adorable as this video is, it's also an example of how culture gets passed on from generation to generation. An Australian study found that young humans across different cultures imitate adults in ways that animals don't. Animals will imitate adult behavior to the extent that it's efficient and necessary to perform a task, whereas humans will mimic even silly or frivolous behaviors that have no purpose whatsoever.

“Animals focus on getting the job done,” Mark Nielsen, a psychologist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, told Science. “Humans seem to almost forget about the outcome and copy everything we see.”

That mimicry of unnecessary actions may contribute to the complexity of human cultures. After all, it's not really necessary to do the finger purse to make a point, but Italians do it anyway. Little Italians pick it up from adult Italians, and so the classic Italian communication style is passed on.

And thank goodness it is, because babies gesturing in Italian is absolutely adorable.


This article originally appeared on 11.09.22

Family

Woman goes to huge lengths to adopt husband's ex-wife's baby to save him from foster care

She had lived in foster care and didn't want it for the newborn with no name.

Christie Werts and her son, Levi




Christie and Wesley Werts have taken the idea of a blended family to the next level. When the couple fell in love five years ago and married, they brought together her children, Megan and Vance, and his children, Austin and Dakota.

As of January, the Ohio family has five children after adopting young Levi, 2. Levi is the son of Wesley’s ex-wife, who passed away four days after the child was born. The ex-wife had the boy prematurely, at 33 weeks, and died soon after from drug addiction and complications of COVID-19.

When Levi was born, he was a ward of the state with no first name or birth certificate.


“When I heard about Levi, without hesitation, I said we should take him,” Christie said, according to The Daily Mail, and her reason went far beyond the fact that the child was the half-brother to two of her recently adopted children. “I myself was a foster kid and, although for the most part, I had a great experience, I did not want him going to foster care,” Christie said.

@cjthemom5

Replying to @Journey♥️ Yes, they will always know of her and ill be there for every emotion good or bad. But im also mom, ive been to every game, every doctors appt, sat with them if they needed an ear loved unconditional . I am mom also. #adoption #srorytime #siblings #foryou #loveislove

Before the family knew of Levi’s birth, Christie had a recurring dream about a blue-eyed, blonde-haired boy.

"Before Levi, we had wanted to try to have a child of our own," she told Newsweek. "I'm in my forties, so we knew that we would probably need fertility treatment, so I thought let's just think about it and what will be will be."

The problem was that Levi was in Texas, so the family sold their house and moved to the Lone Star State to go through the arduous adoption process. The situation was further complicated because Levi’s biological father had parental rights even though he had substance abuse problems. The family couldn’t move out of Texas until his rights were legally terminated.

But after a 16-month process, in January 2023, Levi became a legal family member. Christie understands that adopting her husband’s ex-wife’s baby may seem unusual to some people. "It's a lot to process for a lot of people, but honestly, it seems a lot crazier than it was. At the time, it just made sense," she said.

@cjthemom5

Our adoption is official !!! after 17 months!!! #adoption #son #loveyou #ourstory#foryou #fyp

Even though Christie knew in her heart that she must adopt Levi, she wasn’t without reservations. “'If I said I did not [have concerns beforehand], that would not be honest,” she told The Daily Mail. “This was different—I was going to walk into a child I never met and was worried the circumstances would hinder this instant love. But [...] he stole my heart. I also felt this intense need to protect him.”

These days, Levi fits right in with the family, and the rest of the kids are happy to be back to living an everyday life without any caseworkers or inspections.

“He's great, he is the king of the house! We are all very close. He won't understand the journey right now, but someday, I will let him know we fought for him!” Christie said.


This article originally appeared on 8.31.23

Family

After causing an unexpected stir, Drew Barrymore explains why she 'doesn't need sex'

'At nearly 48 I have very different feelings about intimacy than I did growing up.'

Drew Barrymore attends the 26th Annual Webby Awards on May 16, 2022 in New York City.

In late September, talk show host Drew Barrymore made an off-hand comment about sex that caused an unexpected stir. During a “Drew’s News” segment with Ross Mathews, the two discussed Andrew Garfield’s admission he abstained from sex for six months while filming Martin Scorsese’s 2016 film “Silence.”

“I get abstaining from sex, I mean I did that my entire 20s, right?” Mathews joked, to which Barrymore responded, “What’s wrong with me that six months doesn’t seem like a very long time? I was like, ‘Yeah so?'”

“We buried the lede there, that’s the headline. Drew can go six months, no big deal,” Mathews added. “Years,” Barrymore confirmed.


A woman in Barrymore’s yoga class mentioned her comments in passing, not knowing she was speaking to the actress. “You look just like Drew Barrymore except for you look like you have mental wellness and besides … she hates sex!” Barrymore recounted on her blog.

After the rude comment, Barrymore decided to clear things up on her blog. Her explanation was a mature way of looking at love and intimacy and the challenges faced by single mothers.

She gave some background behind her blog post in an Instagram video.

“At nearly 48 I have very different feelings about intimacy than I did growing up,” Barrymore wrote. “However, after two kids and a separation from their father that has made me cautious, I have had the pleasure of shifting my focus when it comes to love for myself and my two daughters. I know that does not include a man nor has it for a while. I’ve come to realize through working in therapy (with Barry), he said something and I had to write it down. He said, ‘Sex is not love! It is the expression of love.’”

Barrymore wants to set an example of a healthy view of intimacy for her two daughters, Olive, 10, and Frankie, 8, who she had with ex-husband Will Kopelman.

“I’m also raising two daughters, so how we raise girls to be appropriate and empowered and to love themselves and to realize that we live in an age where the images and messages that they will see will also contradict what I have come to believe intimacy is!” she wrote.

The “Wedding Singer” star divorced Kopelman a little more than seven years ago and it’s taken her time to feel comfortable again in a relationship. While she doesn’t judge those who jump right into new relationships after getting divorced, what feels right to her is what matters.

“Some people can get out of a marriage or relationship and in the near future find themselves in another relationship. There is nothing wrong with that! Not one bit,” she wrote. “I do not judge! I celebrate their journey! Because for some people that really works. It didn’t work for me.”

Barrymore’s decision to open up about her love life and share her deepest thoughts about intimacy are brave, especially in a world where celebrities are expected to flaunt their sexuality. Barrymore is strong to admit that she has scars from the loss of her marriage and that running back into a relationship isn’t right for her at this time.

There are a lot of people who are grieving the loss of a relationship and don’t feel they’re allowed to take time for themselves. Let’s hope that Barrymore’s admission gives them strength to be alone when it’s what’s best for their well-being.


This article originally appeared on 10.18.22

Photo by Karlo Tottoc on Unsplash

Blood draws can be nerve-racking for everyone, dogs and humans alike.

The fear of needles—technically known as trypanophobia—is an extremely common fear that can range from "Eh, I'm not so comfy with the idea a needle going into my body" to full-on fainting at the sight of a syringe. For some, the idea of having blood drawn adds another layer to the fear of needles ("Wait, you mean you're taking some of the life-sustaining blood OUT of my body?") and can the fear can be so strong that it leads to people avoiding lab work altogether.

Perhaps that's one reason a video of vets and/or vet techs dancing for a dog who was nervous while getting a blood draw is resonating with so many people.

The video, shared by Hawaii Kai Vet Clinic on Instagram, is delightful on its face—the music, the dancing, the commitment, the random woman in the background, the good doggo, all of it. But it's the desire to have that kind of distraction as a human in a phlebotomist's chair that really got people.


I mean, who wouldn't enjoy a blood draw with this kind of entertainment?

"Distraction team ready!" they wrote. "Treats, head pats and even dancing can help keep the nervous fur babies from focusing on the treatments being done, we love doing our best to keep things fear free as much as we can."

"Do you have to own a pet to see this performance live and where can I purchase tickets?" wrote one commenter.

"I’m hoping these kind people are available for my next Dr appointment," wrote another.

"Can you guys come with me to MY doctor's appointment next week?" added another.

Here's to the vets and vet techs who go the extra mile to make their patients as comfortable as possible. Check out Hawaii Kai Vet Clinic on Instagram for more veterinary joy.


This article originally appeared on 10.14.23