It was July 2004. George W. Bush was president, facts were still invited to political conventions, and very few of us had ever heard of Barack Obama. And then he gave this speech.
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 politically charged match ended with several beautiful displays of genuine human connection.
The lead-up to the 2022 World Cup match between the U.S. and Iran was filled with anticipation, as the teams battled for a spot in the final 16 and long-running tensions between the two nations on the political stage rose to the surface.
The Iranian team had some internal tensions of its own to deal with as players navigated the spotlight amid human rights protests in their home country and rigid expectations of their government. According to CNN, after refusing to sing the national anthem before its match against England on November 21, the Iranian team was reportedly called into a meeting with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and told that their families would face “violence and torture” if they did not sing the anthem or engaged in any other form of protest.
Hence, before the match against the U.S., the players were shown somberly singing the anthem. Then they got down to the business they were there for—trying to win (or at least tie) a soccer match to advance to the World Cup round of 16.
It was an exciting game, with the U.S. ultimately winning 1-0. But in the end, all of the intense competition and political tensions were superseded by some truly heartwarming acts of good sportsmanship and human kindness.
As the U.S. team celebrated victory and the Iranian team mourned defeat, it didn't take long for players from the two teams to embrace one another in comfort and solidarity. Videos and images of the opposing team members arm in arm, hugging and crying together, show how sports bring people together regardless of their background.
In one video, U.S. player Antonee Robinson is seen approaching a clearly distraught Ramin Rezaeian, pulling him into a hug and speaking into his ear as the Iranian player let his emotions out.
\u201c\u2764\ufe0f\u26bd\ufe0f\n\n@USMNT's @Antonee_Jedi shares an emotional moment with Iran's Ramin Rezaeian after yesterday's match\u201d— FOX Soccer (@FOX Soccer) 1669818766
"If we were playing any team—if it was England, Wales or anyone who we would’ve knocked out that day—and I’d seen another player crying, I’d like to think that I’d go over and console them," Robinson told CBS News. "It didn’t really mean anything to me that the guy was Iranian—he was just someone that I’d just shared the pitch with in a really tough game.
"As a fellow human professional, someone who’s given everything the same way he has, it was just a moment of trying to console him and tell him he should be proud of what he’s done," he added.
\u201cLove this. USA beat #Iran but Josh Sargent & DeAndre Yedlin console Saeid Ezatolahi. \nTim Weah, who also came over, sums it up: \u201cwe grew up differently. He is still my family, he is still my brother and I love him the same way as the guys I grew up with."\u00a0#IranvsUSA\u201d— Omid Djalili (@Omid Djalili) 1669797554
After the loss, Iranian player Saeid Ezatolahi sat hunched over on the pitch, head in his hands as the tears flowed. Seconds later, U.S. players Josh Sargent and DeAndre Yedlin came to console him. Soon, fellow U.S. team members Tim Weah and Brenden Aaronson joined them, pulling Ezatolahi off the ground and embracing him with words of encouragement.
"I could feel the emotion from him on the ground," Aaronson told Fox Sports. "It’s tough, it’s a tough moment for a lot of things. You put your heart and soul and I think he had a great game too, and a great tournament from Iran. It’s hard to see that from a player. All you want to do is go and console them and tell them that everything is going to be OK. It’s just a human thing."
Weah told Fox Sports, "I think it’s more than just football. I think the United States and Iran have had so many issues politically and I just wanted to show that we are all human beings and we all love each other.
"I just wanted to spread peace and love and show him we come from different backgrounds, we grew up differently," he added. "He is still my family, he is still my brother and I love him the same way as the guys I grew up with."
Absolutely beautiful. When you strip away all the geopolitical stuff and the prejudices and conflicts between governments, we are simply one human family on this big flying rock, with far more in common than not. How wonderful to be reminded of our fundamental human connection on one of the world's biggest competitive stages.
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.
Imagine if the whole world adopted this concept.
Japanese fans at the World Cup tournament have been receiving praise for their admirable habit of cleaning up the stadium after their team's matches. It's commonplace to see Japanese fans, blue garbage sacks in hand, hanging back after the game to pick up the trash everyone has left behind in the stadium.
It's not the first time Japanese cleanliness has made headlines. Some schools in Japan don't even hire janitorial staff, as the students clean their schools themselves. Other than in specific educational programs such as Montessori (where practical skills and habits like cleaning and organizing the environment are incorporated into the pedagogy), that idea is practically unheard of in the U.S. But watching the Japanese fans picking up after a game, the automatic assumption that someone else is going to clean up after us feels like a mistake.
So what is it that compels Japanese fans to clean the stadium at the World Cup, despite the fact that there are people hired to do it already?
It generally comes down to one word: "atarimae."
Atarimae isn't easy to directly translate into English, but it basically means "natural" or "obvious" or "the norm." Japanese fans may be getting a lot of attention for their cleaning habits, but they're not trying to make some grand statement or gesture—for them, it's simply a matter of course that one would clean up mess wherever they are.
Al Jazeera's Sandra Gathmann interviewed several Japanese fans after their team's 2-1 victory over Germany to ask them about their stadium clean-ups. It was explained that the idea of cleaning and tidying up is ingrained as a part of Japanese culture from a young age and that it's atarimae—obvious, natural, the norm—to leave a place cleaner than they found it.
Why do Japanese football fans clean up after a match? @Sandra Gathmann asks the fans #QatarWorldCup2022 #FIFA #WorldCup #Qatar #Football #Qatar2022 #WorldCup2022 #Japan #cleaning #fans
Imagine if everyone thought of cleaning up as atarimae. Wouldn't that be something?
Having lived in Japan myself, I can attest to how clean Japanese cities there are—despite being densely packed with people—due to this concept. The contrast between an average Japanese city and an average American city in terms of cleanliness is quite remarkable.
But being an American raising kids in the U.S., I can also attest to the fact that it's much easier to ingrain those automatic cleaning habits into kids when the entire society is living this concept. Parents in the U.S. are in an uphill battle trying to train kids to take responsibility for cleaning up in a someone-else-will-do-it society, and it would take a major cultural shift to make automatic cleaning a matter of course for Americans. I would certainly love to see it, though.
In Qatar, the Japanese are showing what's possible when a habit is culturally embraced and are setting a wonderful example the whole world can follow. Perhaps before the World Cup is finished we'll see people from all nations taking trash bags into the stadium and running with the idea that cleaning up after an event without being asked is simply … atarimae.