How a janitor and a cook stepped in to care for residents who were left abandoned.
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#WhoWeAre

There are certain moments in life that determine who you want to be. This was definitely one of those moments for Maurice Rowland and Miguel Alvarez.

Rowland was working as a cook and Alvarez as a janitor at an assisted living facility when suddenly they found out that the facility was going to close.

There were about 16 residents left at the home with nowhere to go and nobody to take care of them. Some of them had dementia.


The two men, who have been friends since middle school, decided they couldn't abandon the residents who were left behind.

So they stepped up and started to care for the people. Because it was the humane thing to do. Because it was the right thing to do. And because they cared.

"Even though they wasn't our family. The were kind of like our family for this short period of time," Rowland said.

To learn more about why the pair made the choice they did, watch this video:

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.