How a restaurant app can help the homeless and break a world record at the same time.
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Dignity Health old

Did you know there's a Guinness world record for the most people making sandwiches simultaneously?

I mean, of course there is; the Guinness Book of World Records was literally invented to entertain people with inane information while they're hanging out with friends.

Still, most of us probably don't think about simultaneous sandwich-making, especially not on a massive, record-breaking scale.


But then, most of us didn't create a brilliant dining app that saves people money when they eat out and also helps to feed the hungry at the same time.

That's the basic idea behind TangoTab, a Dallas-based startup that connects people and food when they need it.

Founded in 2011 by Andre Angel, a successful serial entrepreneur, TangoTab is a free app that lets restaurants offer discounts, coupons, and other incentives to diners, usually during off-peak hours.

It's a great model. Diners get some kind of perk like a free appetizer then spend more money on other delicious cuisine. Meanwhile the restaurant brings in business during its downtime, making money it otherwise wouldn't.

But it's not this clever discounting system that makes TangoTab special.

This is what it looks like when #YourMealMatters!

A photo posted by TangoTab (@tangotab) on

Every time you use the app, TangoTab also feeds a person in need through partnerships with local food banks and national hunger-related charities.

Every day, there are nearly 50 million Americans who don't know where their next meal is coming from. Meanwhile, more than half the country goes out to eat at least once a week, and countless restaurants are struggling to balance their wait-lists with all those hours the dining room is dead. So TangoTab connected the dots and thought: What if we connect all these groups for the benefit of everyone?

Since its inception, TangoTab has provided free meals for nearly 1.5 million people in need, and the operation has expanded from the Dallas/Fort Worth area to include Austin, Houston, New York City, Oklahoma City, San Diego, and the Bay Area, with more restaurants being added every day.

Food. Charity. Discounts. Food. What's not to love?

And as of Feb. 27, 2016, TangoTab also holds the Guinness world record for the most people making a sandwich simultaneously.

(You didn't think I'd forgotten about that part, did you?)


TangoTab rallied more than 2,500 people on a Saturday morning at the Dallas Convention Center, all of whom worked together to build 32,000 sandwiches to benefit area food banks.

This wasn't the first time that TangoTab broke the record, either. They had 1,363 people simultaneously making sandwiches back in February 2014, but their crown was usurped by Subway in August 2015 with 1,481 simultaneous sandwich makers celebrating the company's 50th anniversary.

The fact that a small company like TangoTab could mobilize an additional thousand people with their team of fewer than 20 full-time employees is already pretty remarkable. The fact that they did it all for charity was even better.

The success of companies like TangoTab reminds us what we already know: People like to help each other.

"Feeling good about your purchases and your role in the world" is not just some passing craze. To most of us, making a difference actually matters — and it makes a difference for how we spend our money.

According to Cone Communications, for example, 73% of millennials are willing to try a new product just because it supports a good cause, and 26% are willing to pay more for a product if they know their purchase will have a positive impact in some way. You can look at any of the in-depth research from The Millennial Impact project, and it'll tell you the same thing.

It's the same model followed by companies like TOMs, for example, which gives a pair of shoes to a person in need every time someone purchases a pair of shoes from them. There's also Newman's Own, which donates 100% of its after-tax profits on its delicious drinks and salad dressings to charitable groups for children.

Companies using their business model for the benefit of everyone? Now that's an idea worth celebrating.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

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Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


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Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


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Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

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Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


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Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

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L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

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Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

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All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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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.