People are finding ways to creatively join the fight against COVID-19
Photo courtesy of Ginny Engholm
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Most of us don't have much in common—or, we didn't, before the year 2020. Now, the entire human race is experiencing what it means to live through a global pandemic, in real-time.

Thankfully, people are finding innovative ways to channel their talents and energy for good. Many brands, organizations, and influencers are leading the way, and creatively capturing the world's attention by spreading hope, solidarity, and awareness during a challenging—and sometimes boring—time.

Meet Annie Engholm, a creative 9-year-old with a gift for jewelry-making. When the stay-at-home order went into effect and she was suddenly stuck at home with her family, Annie found herself with a lot of big feelings coupled with a surplus of spare time.


Photo courtesy of Ginny Engholm

She began crafting wearable art from the large bins of googly eyes, ribbon, construction paper and sparkly things she keeps stored on the enclosed back porch of her home. The creations were so downright awesome that her parents, Ginny and Scott, suggested she created an online store, Annie's Ever After Etsy Shop, to sell her wares.

Her mom says that Annie designs and makes everything herself, attaching pieces with a glue gun or by hand-sewing. Her dad taught her how to digitally upload the items to her Etsy shop, so she's able to take a photo of each item and place it in her store, all by herself. She also packages orders and hand makes a card for each one. "The only things we do for her is order the supplies, print the shipping labels, and take orders to the post office," said Ginny.

Annie quickly earned $264 in sales, which she decided to donate to a local hospital to, in her words, "help fight the virus." To date, she has donated a total of $500, but her goal is to hit $1,000.

"It makes me feel happy to put my emotions into something," Annie said. "I love to do crafts." She is hoping that by doing her part to fight the virus, social distancing will end quickly so she can see her friends again, because she really, really misses her friends.

Writer and mother of two Alice Gomstyn, a native of northern New Jersey, decided to use her talent and varied network to host a fundraiser perfectly suited for a pandemic: a virtual poetry slam.

Gomstyn, along with her co-host Kyra Gilbreath, organized the April 15 fundraiser as an hour-long video conference call. To get the Zoom link, participants were asked to donate at minimum $20, but many gave much more. Once the slam began, participants suggested subjects for rhyming poems that Gomstyn would quickly write and perform live, minutes later. The guests enjoyed a happy hour ambiance as they were entertained by an eclectic hodgepodge of poetry and musical parodies.

"It goes without saying that it's been a very stressful, scary time, especially if you live in the New York metro area and other hard-hit regions," said Gomstyn. "My favorite part of using my weird little speed-rhyming talent was making the people on my screen smile and laugh, the pandemic notwithstanding."The virtual poetry slam raised just under $1,700, which she gifted to a grassroots group founded in March—a New Jersey-based nonprofit devoted to buying meals from area restaurants and delivering them to healthcare workers at local hospitals on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because most people are staying home (and running out of options on Netflix), large companies are taking the opportunity to entertain the masses while indirectly raising money to help the fight against COVID-19. Take, for example, 15-year-old Charli D'Amelio, the most followed person on TikTok (54.9 million followers!). She partnered with P&G to create the #DistanceDance challenge to raise awareness of social distancing and money for charity organizations Feeding America and Matthew: 25 Ministries.

To kick it off, Charli posted a video demonstrating a few simple dance moves with a caption encouraging fans to "stay home and do the #distancedance. Because of her massive following, the video had 95,000 views in the first ten minutes. Ten hours later, it was up to 6 million views and it's skyrocketed from there.

@charlidamelio Stay home & do the ##distancedance. Tag me & the hashtag in your video. P&G will donate to Feeding America & Matthew 25 for first 3M videos ##PGPartner
♬ Big Up's (feat. Yung Nnelg) - Jordyn, Nic Da Kid

A Miami-based singer and entertainer, Persephone Dove, told Upworthy she was inspired to join the challenge after seeing the citizens in Italy performing on their balconies. "Now, I can safely brighten peoples' day, while still working towards my dreams of stardom and making the world a better place at the same time."

Bottom line: staying home saves lives. It's awe-inspiring to see what can happen when people come together. The very best of humanity shines during the darkest times, and this is true now. So, to everyone who is taking a tough situation and using it for good, we are here for it.

Turn your everyday actions into acts of good every day at P&G Good Everyday.

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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.

Amazon

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.


Amazon

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.

Amazon

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.

Amazon

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.