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No peanuts? No problem. How hungry kids with allergies have nothing to fear from this pantry.

People of all income levels deserve access to food that makes them well. That's where the ReNewed Health food pantry comes in.

No peanuts? No problem. How hungry kids with allergies have nothing to fear from this pantry.
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Cheerios

The kitchen at the Neri household looks a little like an ad for The Container Store.

The family of seven has an impressive system of color-coded plates, shelves, and utensils.

But all that color coordination isn't just because the Neri family loves organization. It's because their lives depend on it.


15-year-old Nolan is allergic to nuts, corn, soy, wheat, and gluten; 10-year-old Adison is allergic to dairy; and 2-year-old Link is allergic to rice, apples, and some types of milk. With a range of potentially life-threatening allergies, mother Lisa Neri — who has her own egg, wheat, soy, corn, and dairy allergies — has to be sure that there's no cross-contamination.



Look at all that organized glory! Photo by Angie Six/Flickr.

Keeping things organized isn't the only challenge. It's been a struggle for the Neris to keep those color-coded shelves stocked with food.

As a working single mother, Lisa Neri relies on government programs like SNAP (also known as food stamps), WIC, and food pantries to help keep her family fed. But even with these supplements, she still struggles to feed a large family with a variety of dietary needs.

That's why she was so relieved when she finally found a new food pantry called ReNewed Health.

Not only does ReNewed Health provide food to families in need, but they also have tons of allergy-friendly food.

Which is a big help for this single mother.

GIF from "Happy Endings."

Access to allergy-friendly food was a game-changer for the Neris. And there was serious improvement in their lives.

Nolan's health improved, and he went from earning low Cs and getting in trouble with teachers, to earning As and Bs. He's even on track to graduate from high school early. With the improved diet, he no longer had stomach cramps that kept him up at night. He started getting better sleep and being able to focus.

Sorry. I just felt like I had to give him ALL THE AWARDS ... virtually. Cue: "We Are the Champions." Photo by pohjakroon/pixabay.

The Neris' story isn't unique. 4.1 million kids have food allergies, and that number is only growing.

More than 1 in 5 of those kids also struggles with food insecurity, which means they don't have regular access to the amount of food they need to live healthy, productive lives. A big part of that comes down to money, since allergy-friendly foods tend to be more expensive. At Walgreens, you can get a 12.4 oz can of regular powdered baby formula for about $16. But if you need hypoallergenic formula? You might have to cough up as much as $45 for 14 oz. Ridiculous, right?

That's why pantries like ReNewed Health are so important.

ReNewed Health, which opened in Overland Park, Kansas, in April, is the first of its kind in the country. But the cofounders are working hard to make sure it's not the last. Through its nonprofit organization Food Equality Initiative, they're working with other nonprofits, doctors, food pantries, and schools to educate families and lawmakers about food allergies, food insecurity, and how to effectively combat them.

ReNewed Health pantry co-founder Emily Brown knows the struggle of trying to feed children with allergies on a low income. Her young daughter is allergic to wheat, milk, eggs, soy, and tree nuts. That's why she's a part of the pantry's initiative. As she told Al Jazeera America,

"I'm determined to keep fighting for equality for everybody to have the right to safe, healthy food. The right to live a healthy life. The right to feel good and have all of the nutrition that they need to thrive in school, to do well in work."

The right to a healthy life? Now that's something I think we can all get behind.

Big thanks to ReNewed Health. Because everyone should have access to allergy-sensitive foods they need — regardless of income.

Here's to more meals that are healthy for everyone!

Bon appetit!

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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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.

This article originally appeared on 06.28.21


After Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man, was pursued and shot by three white residents while jogging through a Georgia suburb, Ellen and Patrick Miller* of San Diego hung a Black Lives Matter flag in front of their house. It was a small gesture, but something tangible they could do.

Like many people, they wanted to both support the BLM movement and bring awareness about racism to members of their community. Despite residing in a part of the county notoriously rumored to be marred by white supremacists and their beliefs, their neighbors didn't say much about it—at first.

Recently, though, during a short window when both Ellen and Patrick were out of the house, someone sliced the flag in two and left the remains in their yard.

via Paula Fitzgibbons

They were upset, but not surprised.

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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."