More

How Brantley Gilbert saved Christmas — with a $10.5 million Toys for Tots donation.

'They tell me this is one of the largest donations Toys for Tots has ever received.'

$10.5 million can buy a lot of toys.

A lot of toys.


Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images.

And thanks to country star Brantley Gilbert, lots of toys is exactly what children around the U.S. will get.

Gilbert teamed up with Bendon Publishing to donate $10.5 million to the Toys for Tots organization.

Brantley Gilbert. Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for HGTV.

Why? Because Gilbert knowns what it can be like for kids from low-income and homeless families.

“Growing up in rural Georgia, I know that sometimes Christmas isn’t a time of joy for some kids, and our contribution might be all they receive this year, so I really wanted our donation to matter,” says Gilbert in a press release. “I’m honored the folks and Bendon understood why I wanted to work with them and Toys for Tots."

He's right, and his donation will matter, noting that it's "one of the largest donations Toys for Tots has ever received."

"Bendon’s books have some pretty cool heroes and lessons for all ages like Batman, Superman and Clifford the Big Red Dog to Disney, Peanuts and some of my favorites, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Whether a kid is into Barbie or Star Wars, I hope we’ve given a bit of fun and inspiration," Gilbert continues. "They tell me this is one of the largest donations Toys for Tots has ever received. [Bendon CEO Ben Ferguson] and his team realize the impact we could make is these kids’ lives. It’s a privilege to make this contribution together.”

More than 2 million kids in America will face a period of homelessness each year.

That statistic comes from Covenant House, an organization dedicated to helping homeless youth. The joys and innocence of childhood are so often taken from them due to their circumstances. Organizations like Toys for Tots do what they can to give that back, operating more than 700 campaigns across all 50 states.

Long-term solutions to homelessness are hard to come by, but we've seen that when communities and governments come together, they have the power to restore shelter and a sense of home to those most in need.

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia.

$10.5 million will make a big difference this holiday season and beyond.

It means Sarah can get the Clifford book she's been wanting and Bobby can get the coloring book he's had his eye on. It means smiles on kids faces and happiness in their hearts.

Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images.

Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

Keep Reading Show less

For months, government officials, school administrators, teachers and parents have debated the best and safest way to handle educating kids during the global coronavirus pandemic. While some other countries have been able to resume schooling relatively well with safety measures in place, outbreaks in the U.S. are too uncontrolled to safely get kids back in the classroom.

But that hasn't stopped some school districts from reopening schools in person anyway.

Photos have emerged from the first day of school at two districts in Georgia that have people scratching their heads and posing obvious questions like "Um, they know we're in a pandemic, right?"

One photo shows high school students crowded in a hallway in Paulding County, Georgia. Of the dozens of students pictured, the number wearing masks can be counted on one hand. It's like looking straight into a petri dish.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

When people think of the Deep South, especially in states like Mississippi, most people don't imagine a diverse and accepting way of life. People always look at me as if I've suddenly sprouted a unicorn horn when I reminisce on my time living in Biloxi and the eclectic people I've met there, many of whom I call friends. I often find myself explaining that there are two distinct Mississippis—the closer you get to the water, the more liberal it gets. If you were to look at an election map, you'd see that the coast is pretty deeply purple while the rest of the state is fire engine red.

It's also important to note that in a way, I remember my time in Biloxi from a place of privilege that some of my friends do not possess. It may be strange to think of privilege when it comes from a Black woman in an interracial marriage, but being cisgendered is a privilege that I am afforded through no doing of my own. I became acutely aware of this privilege when my friend who happens to be a transgender man announced that he was expecting a child with his partner. I immediately felt a duty to protect, which in a perfect world would not have been my first reaction.

It was in that moment that I realized that I was viewing the world through my lens as a cisgendered woman who is outwardly in a heteronormative relationship. I have discovered that through writing, you can change the narrative people perceive, so I thought it would be a good idea to sit down with my friend—not only to check in with his feelings, but to aid in dissolving the "otherness" that people place upon transgender people.

Keep Reading Show less