It's totally OK to not want to come out of the closet. It's scary! But if you share this with your friends, you never know — you might just find that it helps someone else's coming out experience be a little less of a lonely road.
Every letter submitted donates a pound of food to pets in need.
Every holiday season,
millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.
But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.
Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?
Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?
“At Chewy, we know pets are a part of the family and we wanted to give them a way to truly participate in the holiday season this year,” said Orlena Yeung, VP of Brand Marketing at Chewy. “Through Chewy Claus, we are hoping to spread joy while recognizing the most important gift that keeps on giving—the love and companionship of our pets.”
To submit your letter to Chewy Claus, just go to be.chewy.com/chewy-claus.
Not only could your pet’s letter make their holidays even merrier, it will give back, too. For every letter submitted to Chewy Claus, Chewy will donate one pound of food to Greater Good Charities (up to 15,000 pounds). Further, for every product purchased during the Season of Giving, Chewy will match up to $1 million per week in a pet food and supply donation to Greater Good Charities, for a potential total of $10 million.
I’ve got a new dog this year, a one-year-old boxer mix named Archie and I know what he wants this holiday season.
The first letter sent to Chewy Claus came from True & Faithful Pet Rescue in Venice, FL. The rescue, which focuses on saving senior dogs, was one of the many victims of Hurricane Ian. Their wish was simple; they asked for food for themselves and those in their community.
Chewy Claus delivered by providing a 20-thousand-pound truckload of food to True & Faithful and other shelter and rescue partners in the community. Chewy also assembled a team of volunteers to hold a clean-up day and donated the necessary funds to rebuild their beloved dog beach.
“We are so grateful for Chewy’s support in rehabilitating our space and not only donating thousands of pounds of food to our community, but also providing the help and funds necessary to rebuild our beach,” Lisa Letson, Founder of True & Faithful Pet Rescue told Upworthy. “The beach is our senior dogs’ happy place, where they can live their best lives for the time they have left. It really is a dream come true for us.”
Chewy is the best place to shop for pets this holiday season because it's the gift that keeps on giving. It’s simple: when you shop, they donate. Chewy will also match customer purchases in the form of a product donation up to $1M per week for a potential total of $10M throughout the season of giving. That means pets living in shelters and rescues will receive toys, treats, food and other essential items this holiday season. Plus, if you write a letter to Chewy Claus, your pet may get their holiday wish and pets in need will get theirs, too—a win win win. Isn’t that what the season is all about?
'Life shouldn't be this hard.'
In America, many people have to work well past the age of retirement to make ends meet. While some of these people choose to work past retirement age because it keeps them active, some older people, like Nola Carpenter, 81, work out of necessity.
Carpenter has been working at Walmart for 20 years, way beyond most people's retirement age just so that she can afford to continue to pay her mortgage. When 19-year-old Devan Bonagura saw the woman looking tired in the break room of the store, he posted a video to his TikTok of Carpenter with a text overlay that said, "Life shouldn't b this hard..." complete with a sad face emoji.
In the video, Carpenter is sitting at a small table looking down and appearing to be exhausted. The caption of the video reads ":/ I feel bad." Turns out, a lot of other people did too, and encouraged the teen to start a GoFundMe, which has since completed.
The retirement age in the United States in order to collect Social Security benefits is 66, or 67 if you were born in or after 1960. But early retirement starts at 62 for reduced benefits. How many years you worked is a deciding factor in how much financial benefit you will receive from Social Security, with the average amount expected to be $1,827 a month in January 2023.
WE LOVE YOU NOLA I HOPE THIS HELPS❤️🙏 #blowthisup #fyp #gofundme #nola #walmart #viralvideo
While that amount of money is nothing to scoff at, it's also not enough to live off of alone, especially for those who fall below the average amount. You also have to factor in Medicare premiums and tax withholdings that must come out of that figure. So it's no wonder that people over the age of 67 have to continue to work if they don't have adequate savings put away to retire on. The cost of living increases impact all age groups, including the elderly.
Thankfully for this elderly Walmart worker, the GoFundMe quickly exploded and raised $110,000 in just 24 hours. But when Bonagura went to give the money to Carpenter, she was grateful for the help but explained she would still need to work until the other $60,000 of her mortgage was paid off. This prompted users to give more to secure Carpenter's retirement.
In the end, the GoFundMe raised $186,000, which was enough to pay off the mortgage on the woman's house. Retirement is now on the horizon for the grandmother, who says she's set to retire on the first of the year. She wants to make sure she helps her co-workers get through the holiday season before hanging up her vest for good.
Update video with Nola ❤️ #nola #dbon #gofundme #viral #blowthisup #love #kindness #givingback
As for Bonagura, he's currently suspended with pay due to him filming at the store and posting it to TikTok. While he wasn't an employee of Walmart, he worked for a cellphone carrier that operated sales inside the store. Nevertheless, Bonagura feels he did the right thing and is focused solely on making sure Carpenter gets to retire.
It's amazing what people can accomplish when they work together. Happy retirement, Nola! Here's to hoping you enjoy every minute of it.
The flag used to have 15 stars, the Pledge of Allegiance started out as a marketing gimmick, and 10 more Flag Day facts.
As famous as it is, there's still a lot you might not know about our shining symbol of freedom. For instance, did you know that on some flags, the stars used to point in different directions? Or that there used to be more than 13 stripes? How about a gut-check on all those star-spangled swimsuits you see popping up in stores around the Fourth of July?
We'll explore these topics and more in this fun list of 12 facts about the U.S. flag that you might not know about.
Legend has it that in 1776, a seamstress named Betsy Ross was approached in her shop by George Washington himself and was asked to help develop a flag for this soon-to-be-nation. Supposedly, she rejected the designs Washington presented to her and made a number of suggestions that would end up in the final version of the first American flag.
It's a great story that humanizes Washington as a man humble enough to take feedback and gives Ross a boost as being uncharacteristically assertive for a woman in 18th-century America.
But the bad news is that this probably never happened. It was nearly 100 years before anybody spoke of Betsy Ross or her role in designing the flag. Most of what we know of this story came from her grandson, William Canby.
Unfortunately, though historians have long tried to verify any of the facts involved in Canby's story, there's nothing to suggest that Washington set out to commission a flag in 1776. In fact, it wasn't until 1777 that Congress even passed a resolution ordering a flag to be made. Sure, it's possible that Camby's account of his grandmother's story happened, but it's more likely that this is simply an unverifiable piece of American lore.
While most countries's flags are rectangular, there are a few exceptions. In 1912, President Taft issued an executive order creating a uniform look for the flag — as prior to that, there were some interesting designs, with multiple flags sometimes in use simultaneously.
The executive order mandated that stars on the flag point upward, all in the same direction, and be placed in six horizontal rows of eight.
Up until 1795, the flag had one stripe and one star for each of the 13 states. After Vermont and Kentucky were added to the union in 1791 and 1792, respectively, the flag was due for its first major redesign in the country's history. Not only were two stars added to the blue field to represent the new states (a tradition that continues to this day), but designers also added two stripes.
The 15-star, 15-stripe flag existed from 1795 until 1818, when five more states were added. Designers realized that adding more stripes would quickly become unwieldy, so they dropped the stripe count back to 13.
After Kentucky and Vermont joined the union 2 stripes and stars were added to the flag.
The outcast of all American flags lives on through the power of song. Key wrote "Defence of Fort M'Henry," a poem about his experience watching from the Baltimore harbor as an American fort took fire from British troops during the War of 1812. In 1916, more than 100 years after its first publication, Key's poem became our national anthem.
The U.S. Flag Code was signed into law by President Roosevelt on June 22, 1942. While it's filed under Title 18 of the U.S. Code ("Crimes and Criminal Procedure"), the Flag Code exists as more of an etiquette guide than anything else.
So if you leave your flag up past sundown, that's technically illegal — but no one's going to arrest you for it.
There's a whole section of the U.S. Flag Code on how to show respect for the flag. Since this is a topic that gets discussed quite a bit lately, it's worth a quick review of some of the highlights:
The Code says that "the flag should be displayed on all days," but puts special emphasis on the following holidays: New Year's Day, Inauguration Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Washington's Birthday, Easter, Mother's Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day (the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon), Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Constitution Day, Columbus Day, Navy Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
The Code adds that states should display the U.S. flag on the anniversary of their admission to the union, on state holidays, and on any day observed by presidential proclamation.
The flag won't be getting any major redesigns in the near future, save for the addition of a star here and there. The Code reads:
"On the admission of a new State into the Union one star shall be added to the union of the flag; and such addition shall take effect on the fourth day of July then next succeeding such admission."
It's thought that schoolteacher Bernard J. Cigrand was the first person to celebrate Flag Day, commemorating the 108th anniversary of the 1777 Flag Resolution (which outlined the flag's basic design) on June 14, 1885. The tradition caught on among schools and, eventually, states.
In 1958, Bob Heft was a junior in high school. In a 2009 interview with StoryCorps, Heft recounted what happened when he turned in a history project featuring a 50-star flag. Heft's teacher gave him a B-, noting that he had the wrong number of stars on the flag (at the time, there were only 48 states).
When Heft expressed disappointment, his teacher said, "If you don't like the grade, get it accepted in Washington, then come back and see me."
After Alaska and Hawaii became states, the U.S. adopted Heft's flag. He got a call from President Eisenhower and, more importantly, an updated grade on his project.
The pledge's history is fascinating and filled with controversy. Many know that it wasn't until 1954 that the words "under God" were added to the pledge in response to the Red Scare, but what's less discussed is the origin and purpose of the pledge itself.
Socialist minister Francis Bellamy penned the original pledge for an 1892 issue of The Youth's Companion as a way to mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus' journey. The magazine offered U.S. flags to subscribers, and Bellamy and the magazine lobbied public schools to adopt his pledge as a show of patriotism. It was successful, too, selling tens of thousands of new subscriptions and flags. In hindsight, it's a bit ironic that this lasting ode to America began as a socialist's capitalist experiment.
In 1782, Secretary of Congress Charles Thomson explained the significance of the colors red, white, and blue during the design of the official seal of the U.S.:
“The colours of the pales are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness and valour, and Blue, the colour of the Chief signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice."
Ever since, we've just gone with that.
No quarters required!
Remember when calling your parents, a tow truck or a friend when you were out and about meant digging in your pocket for a quarter to make a pay phone call? Well, a Philadelphia-based collective, PhilTel, is jumping into the past with a modern twist, by installing free-to-use pay phones throughout the city.
Of course, the pay phones that many of us grew up were removed from public places years ago. There no longer seemed to be a need for them when most people had a phone in their pocket or in their hand. But it's easy to forget that not everyone has or wants that luxury. For some people, staying that connected all the time can be too much and for others, it's simply financially impossible to own a cell phone.
Cell phones are expensive, and when you add the cost of a phone plan or paying for minutes, they quickly become out of reach for many people on fixed incomes or those experiencing homelessness. PhilTel's aim is to help close this gap by making phones accessible to all. There's only one catch: You have to leave the quarters at home!
That's right, the phones will be free to use and that includes making nationwide calls. For the people of Philadelphia, that means a lot less asking strangers to use their phone if your battery dies or you accidentally lock your phone in your car. According to opensource.com, Mike Dank, the co-founder of PhilTel, said, "Philadelphia in particular has a lot of payphone use, even as payphone companies have been steadily removing phones from service year after year."
Dank continued, "Residents who rely on these phones are being increasingly marginalized and if this trend continues, many will be left without a communication platform they need to carry out their lives."
This isn't the first time pay phones were added to a city in the age of cellphones. PhilTel was inspired by a company called Futel in Portland, Oregon, that has a similar program.
The phones are not new, they're actually refurbished pay phones and will use a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service to connect callers. If you're in Philly, you'll be able to use one of these free pay phones as soon as December 17, when the first one gets installed at Iffy Books.
While this is a wonderful solution for those that need access to pay phones for day-to-day life, one has to wonder if the name will get updated. I mean, they're not really pay phones anymore. They're free phones or just public phones. I don't know about you but this little detail is going to live in my head rent-free for a while.
It's incredibly easy to incorporate these lessons into our lives.
"Kids can be so wise, y'know," the Cape Town doctor and ultra-marathon enthusiast posted to his Twitter account. He asked the young patients, short on time, about the things that really mattered to them.
What followed was a string of life advice that'll make you want to be a better person, no matter how old you are.
\u201cFor an assignment, I asked some of my terminal paediatric palliative care patients what they had enjoyed in life, and what gave it meaning. Kids can be so wise, y'know. Here are some of the responses (Thread).\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
"NONE said they wished they'd watched more TV. NONE said they should've spent more time on Facebook. NONE said they enjoyed fighting with others. NONE enjoyed [the] hospital," tweeted McAlpine.
\u201cFirst: \nNONE said they wished they'd watched more TV \nNONE said they should've spent more time on Face Book\nNONE said they enjoyed fighting with others\nNONE enjoyed hospital \n/1\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
"I love Rufus," one child told McAlpine about their dog. "His funny bark makes me laugh." Others worried about whether their parents would be OK.
\u201cMANY mentioned their parents, often expressing worry or concern:\n'Hope mum will be ok. She seems sad.'\n'Dad mustn't worry. He'll see me again soon.'\n'God will take care of my mum and dad when I'm gone'\n/3\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
\u201cALL of them loved ice-cream.\n/4\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
"ALL of them loved books or being told stories, especially by their parents," wrote McAlpine, who then shared a couple short anecdotes about Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, and literary adventures in space.
They also understood that people who treat you differently for superficial reasons, like your hair or a surgery scar, aren't worth worrying about.
\u201cMANY wished they had spent less time worrying about what others thought of them, and valued people who just treated them 'normally'.\n'My real friends didn't care when my hair fell out.'\n'Jane came to visit after the surgery and didn't even notice the scar!' /6\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
These kids loved swimming and playing on the beach, and they valued others who extended kindness to them along the way. "I like it when that kind nurse is here," one patient told McAlpine. "She's gentle. And it hurts less."
\u201cAlmost ALL of them valued kindness above most other virtues:\n'My granny is so kind to me. She always makes me smile.'\n'Jonny gave me half his sandwich when I didn't eat mine. That was nice.'\n'I like it when that kind nurse is here. She's gentle. And it hurts less' /8\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
\u201cAlmost ALL of them loved people who made them laugh:\n'That magician is so silly! His pants fell down and I couldn't stop laughing!'\n'My daddy pulls funny faces which I just love!'\n'The boy in the next bed farted! Hahaha!'\n\nLaughter relieves pain. /9\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
"They ALL valued time with their family," said McAlpine. "Nothing was more important."
\u201cFinally, they ALL valued time with their family. Nothing was more important. \n'Mum and dad are the best!'\n'My sister always hugs me tight'\n'No one loves me like mummy loves me!' /11\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
There are seven simple takeaways (well, eight if you count "eat ice cream"):
"Be kind. Read more books. Spend time with your family. Crack jokes. Go to the beach. Hug your dog. Tell that special person you love them."
Easy enough, right?
\u201cTake home message:\nBe kind. Read more books. Spend time with your family. Crack jokes. Go to the beach. Hug your dog. Tell that special person you love them.\n\nThese are the things these kids wished they could've done more. The rest is details.\n\nOh... and eat ice-cream. /End\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
Take home message: Be kind. Read more books. Spend time with your family. Crack jokes. Go to the beach. Hug your do… https://t.co/w5Xs5jQODc— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476678