The food industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. This initiative is helping workers get back on their feet.
Get Shift Done
True

Shkoryah Carthen has spent half of her life working in the service industry. While the 32-year old restaurant worker quickly sensed that Covid-19 would bring real change to her daily life, Carthen hardly knew just how strongly it would impact her livelihood.

"The biggest challenge for me during this time, honestly is just to stay afloat," Carthen said.

Upon learning the Dallas restaurant she worked for would close indefinitely, Carthen feared its doors may never reopen.

Soon after, Carthen learned that The Wilkinson Center was desperately looking for workers to create and distribute meals for those in need in their community. The next day, Carthen was at the food pantry restocking shelves and creating relief boxes filled with essentials like canned foods, baby formula and cleaning products. In addition to feeding families throughout the area, this work ensured Carthen the opportunity to provide food for her own.


"The food banks also offer to help the workers out with food if we need it, and a lot of us do," Carthen said.

Her new job was created by Get Shift Done, an initiative launched by Dallas business and community leaders Anurag Jain and Patrick Brandt with the support of their respective companies, community leaders, restaurant owners and nonprofit organizations. Get Shift Done provides food and service industry workers in need of supplemental income with jobs at food banks and other nonprofits.

Courtesy of Get Shift Done

Even before many restaurants were mandated to shut down, Jain and Brandt considered the imminent impact of diminished work opportunities for hospitality workers. This uncertainty in the industry prompted them to fill the gap and connect those in the service industry to non-profits that need help — especially as a growing demand for services moved against a shrinking pool of available volunteers.

While the pandemic hit the livelihoods of hospitality workers especially hard, they quickly became essential workers — assisting the food banks, pantries and schools in need."60% of Americans have less than two weeks' worth of savings," Brandt said. "So if you think about somebody that's lost their job in this environment, there's a likelihood that losing their job could put themselves into food insecurity. Pre-Covid, one in six Americans were already facing food insecurity. We're working to mitigate that rise."

While Brandt initially expected the company to provide temporary relief for 10 to 12 weeks, Get Shift Done has grown from a North Texas startup to national relief organization — assisting 11 cities with more than 11,000 workers registered.

"We've provided over 18 million meals," Brandt said. "I've never been a part of something that's scaled quite like this."

This rapid growth has brought far-reaching assistance with funding from partners like Capital One. The financial institution has committed 50 million dollars to support communities during the pandemic and as part of its investment, Capital One has equipped Get Shift Done with the funding and social capital needed to turn a startup into an organization feeding communities throughout America. Support for the work started in North Texas, but Capital One's partnership quickly expanded this initiative nationally into 10 additional markets including Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Austin and beyond.

Courtesy of Get Shift Done

"Capital One has been an incredible partner in providing not only financial support but insight and connections to markets across the country, allowing us to grow nationally and offer a critical service for communities who desperately need it," said Brandt.

Jain added, "It is a beautiful model of partners coming together to create something bigger and more impactful than we would have dreamed possible."

This assistance will help Get Shift Done continue to impact communities on a large scale even as life during the pandemic becomes the new normal.

"At Capital One, we are focused on swiftly addressing the evolving needs of our communities and supporting those impacted by COVID-19," Andy Navarrete, head of external affairs at Capital One, said. "As a national partner of Get Shift Done, we see power in their workforce development model, and believe harnessing such ingenuity will be what gets us through our collective recovery."

For Shkoryah Carthen, all that matters is that she's helping her community adjust as she helps herself. "I've been told by several different food banks that we have been a blessing," Carthen said.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."