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Fat bears; fat bear week; bears
Photo by Mark Basarab on Unsplash

It's Fat Bear Week and we pick the winner.

Everyone knows that fat animals are infinitely more visually appealing, much to veterinarians' collective dismay. They may not be at their pinnacle of health, yet we love them anyway, especially when they're babies. Bears, however, are supposed to get chunky so they get a pass. Before the winter when they hibernate, they're all about feeding their faces and storing fat for the winter. Wildlife archivists Explore has put all these fat bears in one place so we can vote on who gets to be supreme Fat Bear. Fat Bear Week is an annual event that anyone with internet access can participate in.


The bears, unfortunately, don't win any prizes for being named the fattest bear in Alaska, but America wins a prize by seeing big fuzzy bear bellies. Sure, the bears make you wish you could pet them and give them all the head scratches, and yes they'd probably try to eat you if you actually tried. That doesn't stop this from being the cutest competition out there. The event is well run, with brackets to predict the winner. I don't know what brackets are but it makes it sound so much more exciting.

Photo by Rey Emsen on Unsplash

When exactly is Fat Bear Week, you may be asking? It's now, like right now, so go download your bracket thingy and enter your picks or whatever you do with brackets. Fat Bear Week runs from October 5 through October 11 and match-ups for voting start at 12 p.m. and end at 9 p.m. EST. This contest is ruthless because there are no second chances. If a bear's extra fluff isn't up to the internet's standards then it's eliminated. No take backs.

For every head-to-head match-up between chubby little cubbies, you get one vote to pick the bear that's showing the most fat gained. The bear with the most votes gets to move to the next round and the bear with the least amounts of votes gets to no longer be judged by random strangers on the internet. Wait, I think we all would like the prize of not being judged by strangers on the internet.

This all may seem like a weird thing to have turned into a competition but it really isn't. Fat Bear Week started in 2013 after someone took pictures of the same bear from the bear cam and commented on how fat the bear had gotten when preparing for hibernation. According to video journalist Mike Fritz, he noticed comments under the videos of the bears from the bear cam about how chubby all of the bears were getting, and an idea was born.

Can you blame the commenters? These fat bears are seriously cute and once I figure out what brackets are and how to use them, I'm going to vote in this unexpectedly wholesome contest. May the fattest bear win and come out of hibernation looking as if they haven't skipped a meal and are well rested. Now, go vote! It'll make you feel better.

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This is the most important van in NYC… and it’s full of socks.

How can socks make such a huge difference? You'd be surprised.

all photos provided by Coalition for The Homeless

Every night, the van delivers nourishment in all kinds of ways to those who need it most

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Homelessness in New York City has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Over 50,000 people sleep each night in a shelter, while thousands of others rely on city streets, the subway system and other public locations as spaces to rest.

That’s why this meal (and sock) delivery van is an effective resource for providing aid to those experiencing homelessness in New York City.

Every night of the year, from 7pm to 9:30, the Coalition for the Homeless drives a small fleet of vans to over 25 stops throughout upper and lower Manhattan and in the Bronx. At each stop, adults and families in need can receive a warm meal, a welcoming smile from volunteers, and a fresh, comfy new pair of Bombas socks. Socks may be even more important than you think.

Bombas was founded in 2013 after the discovery that socks were the #1 most requested clothing item at homeless shelters.

Access to fresh, clean socks is often limited for individuals experiencing homelessness—whether someone is living on the street and walking for much of the day, or is unstably housed without reliable access to laundry or storage. And for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness —expenses might need to be prioritized for more critical needs like food, medication, school supplies, or gas. Used socks can’t be donated to shelters for hygienic reasons, making this important item even more difficult to supply to those who need it the most.

Bombas offers its consumers durable, long-lasting and comfortable socks, and for every pair of Bombas socks purchased, an additional pair of specially-designed socks is donated to organizations supporting those in need, like Coalition for the Homeless. What started out as a simple collaboration with a few organizations and nonprofits to help individuals without housing security has quickly become a bona fide giving movement. Bombas now has approximately 3,500 Giving Partners nationwide.

Though every individual’s experience is unique, there can frequently be an inherent lack of trust of institutions that want to help—making a solution even more challenging to achieve. “I’ve had people reach out when I’m handing them a pair of socks and their hands are shaking and they’re looking around, and they’re wondering ‘why is this person being nice to me?’” Robbi Montoya—director at Dorothy Day House, another Giving Partner—told Bombas.

Donations like socks are a small way to create connection. And they can quickly become something much bigger. Right now over 1,000 people receive clothing and warm food every night, rain or shine, from a Coalition for the Homeless van. That bit of consistent kindness during a time of struggle can help offer the feeling of true support. This type of encouragement is often crucial for organizations to help those take the next difficult steps towards stability.

This philosophy helped Bombas and its abundance of Giving Partners extend their reach beyond New York City. Over 75 million clothing items have been donated to those who need it the most across all 50 states. Over the years Bombas has accumulated all kinds of valuable statistics, information, and highlights from Giving Partners similar to the Coalition for the Homeless vans and Dorothy Day House, which can be found in the Bombas Impact Report.

In the Impact Report, you’ll also find out how to get involved—whether it’s purchasing a pair of Bombas socks to get another item donated, joining a volunteer group, or shifting the conversation around homelessness to prioritize compassion and humanity.

To find out more, visit BeeBetter.com.

Author, educator and mother Esther Wojcicki.

Esther Wojcicki has earned the right to tell people how to raise their kids. She’s an educator, journalist and bestselling author of "How to Raise Successful People" who has raised three daughters—two are CEOs and the other a doctor.

Susan Wojcicki is the CEO of YouTube, Anne Wojcicki is the co-founder and CEO of 23andMe and Dr. Janet Wojcicki is an anthropologist and epidemiologist who works on HIV progression and obesity risk in children.

In "How to Raise Successful People" Esther Wojcicki says the secret to success is the result of “TRICK”: trust, respect, independence, collaboration and kindness. In a new article she wrote for NBC Chicago, she boiled that down to one rule, “Don't do anything for your kids that they can do for themselves.”

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