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Sprucing up your community doesn't have to be complicated. Try these simple tips.
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Clorox

We all want to live in clean, well-kept communities—but sometimes humans make that difficult.

Garbage happens when we're not careful. The wind knocks over someone's unsecured trash bin and the contents blow all over. Someone pulls keys out of their pocket and a gum wrapper falls out. Litterbugs toss fast food wrappers out of their car windows. Whether intentional or not, trash makes its way into gutters, bushes and waterways every day.

No one likes to walk down the street and see garbage littering the ground or graffiti covering buildings. But it's not just unsightly. According to Keeping America Beautiful, the largest litter study conducted in the U.S., litter abatement costs more than $11 billion dollars per year.


[rebelmouse-image 19398294 dam="1" original_size="700x525" caption="Photo by Dustan Woodhouse/Unsplash." expand=1]Photo by Dustan Woodhouse/Unsplash.

A dirty neighborhood also lowers perceived home values, affects quality of life and can even impact our health. However, something as simple as a community garden can totally revitalize a neighborhood. We all do better when our communities are taken care of.

While municipalities are usually responsible for trash pickup and maintenance, we can all make a difference when it comes to keeping our communities clean. All it takes is a little cooperation, creativity and commitment.

Organizing a community cleanup can be super simple, but also loads of fun.

As a parent with three kids of drastically different ages, it's often been a challenge to find volunteer work that we can do as a family. But the beautiful thing about a community cleanup is that people of all ages can participate and do a great job in the process.

A cleanup can be as simple as going for a family walk through your neighborhood, and bringing a glove and a trash bag along with you. But if you want to go bigger, you can plan ahead and invite others to join you in an area of your town that needs some extra attention.

[rebelmouse-image 19398295 dam="1" original_size="500x276" caption="Photo via Frank Boston/Flickr." expand=1]Photo via Frank Boston/Flickr.

With community email lists such as NextDoor, putting out a cleanup call to your neighbors is easy. You can also make it a friends and family affair by combining a service project with a social gathering, like going out to dinner as a group to celebrate a job well done.

1. Start with an organized plan of attack.

To organize a trash pick-up, choose an area to tackle. Look around for areas where the wind blows garbage into bushes or ditches or along fence lines. Then, make sure everyone knows the who, what, where, when and how, which should include:

  • The date and possible rain date
  • Meeting location
  • Number of volunteers needed
  • Outline of the work you plan to complete by the end of the day
  • List of supplies you need people to bring
  • List of required permits or licenses you need to secure ahead of time
  • Post-event steps.

Have everyone bring gloves (gardening or work gloves are more comfortable and less sweaty than plastic gloves) and two bags—one for trash, and one for recyclables. Once you've gathered at the agreed upon central location, make a plan of attack, sending teams of two or three to cover specific areas.

2. Add an extra dose of fun by making your cleanup into a scavenger hunt.

[rebelmouse-image 19398296 dam="1" original_size="700x467" caption="Photo by Vova Drozdey/Unsplash" expand=1]Photo by Vova Drozdey/Unsplash

Giveeach team a checklist and see who can find all of the items. There are common types of garbage you'll find in almost any city or town. Include those things in your list, but add some unique trash items as well. A sample scavenger hunt list might look like this:

  • 10 Soda cans
  • 10 Glass bottles
  • Straw
  • Fast food bag
  • 5 Cigarette butts
  • Plastic lid
  • Candy wrapper
  • Plastic utensil
  • Something metal
  • Something purple
  • Something square, etc.

3. Think beyond the trash can and look for other ways to beautify your community.

While picking up garbage is a simple, straightforward way to make a difference, there are other methods of sprucing up a community that you can factor into your cleanup day.

Take a look around your area. Are there abandoned buildings or lots that could be revitalized? Could they be used for something like a community playground or garden? Maybe you can approach your town officials about organizing a volunteer painting party for that run-down community center. What if you and your neighbors offered to pressure wash the graffiti off of walls? Is there a public space that could use some TLC?

[rebelmouse-image 19398297 dam="1" original_size="640x424" caption="Photo by Max Pixel." expand=1]Photo by Max Pixel.

The revitalization options in your neighborhood are only limited by your imagination.

4. Have a plan for Debris Removal

This is something you don't want to have to figure out after the fact: you will need a way to get rid of the waste you collect at your community cleanup. Whether your volunteers are picking up debris, painting over graffiti or planting new flowers, you will have trash at the end of the day. Call your city government at least a month in advance and ask about options for scheduling a trash and recycling pickup. If you're going for a waste cleanup record, consider renting a dumpster.

Some dumpsters offer their services free of charge to qualifying events around the country. If you would like your community cleanup to be considered for a dumpster donation, fill out this request form.

5. Keeping our communities clean is an ongoing effort.

Photo by USAG- Humphreys/Flickr.

Anyone who has engaged in a community cleanup project knows the joy of seeing an area looking pristine—as well as the disappointment in realizing that pristine doesn't last. But that's simply the nature of cleaning. Just as you have to clean your house regularly to keep it fresh and tidy, a neighborhood or town requires ongoing effort to keep it looking and feeling good.

Everyone can participate by being helpful stewards of our public spaces. And when we rally others to join in these efforts, we can all share the satisfaction that comes with caring for our communities and seeing them at their best.

Clorox is committed to providing a gentle yet powerful clean, which is why they've partnered with Upworthy to promote those same traits in people, actions and ideas. Cleaning up and strength are important aspects of many of our social good stories. Check out the rest in the campaign to read more.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

Pop Culture

TikTok star's surprising method for finding good Chinese food is blowing people's minds

Yelp can be a helpful tool for scoping out food joints, but maybe not in the way you think.

Photo by Debbie Tea on Unsplash

Different cultures view service differently.

Content creator Freddy Wong has a brilliantly easy way to find authentic Chinese food.

As he reveals in a mega viral video that’s racked up 9.4 million views on TikTok and 7.7 million views on Twitter, the trick (assuming you live in a major metropolitan area) is to “go on Yelp and look for restaurants with 3.5 stars, and exactly 3.5 stars." Not 3. Not 4. 3.5.

He then backs up his argument with some pretty undeniable photo evidence.

First, he pulls up an image of a Yelp page from P.F. Chang’s. With only 2.5 stars, one can tell the food is “obviously bad.” Alternatively, Din Tai Fung—a globally recognized Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant—has four stars.

Sounds good right? Wrong. In this case, “too many stars” means that “too many white people like it,” indicating that the restaurant is being judged on service rather than food quality. According to Wong, if “the service is too good, the food is not as good as it could be.”

He then pulls up the Yelp page for a couple of local Chinese restaurants, both of which have 3.5 stars. The waiters at these establishments might “not pay attention to you,” he admits, adding that they might even be “rude.” But, Wong attests, “it’s going to taste better.”

@rocketjump

Why I only go to Chinese restaurants with 3.5 star ratings

♬ original sound - RocketJump

"The dumplings here are better [than Din Tai Fung's]. I've been here," he says of the 3.5 star Shanghai Dumpling House. Considering his Twitter profile boasts a “James Beard Award winning KBBQ Gourmand'' title, it seems like he knows what he’s talking about.

So, why is this 3.5 rule the “sweet spot”? As Wong explains, it all comes down to different “cultural expectations.”

“In Asia, they’re not as proactive. They’re not going to come up to you, they’re not going to just proactively give you refills, you need to flag down the waiter,” he says, noting the different interpretations of service.

"People on Yelp are insufferable,” he continues, arguing that “they're dinging all these restaurants because the service is bad,” but the food is so good that it balances out the bad service. Hence, a 3.5-star rating. His reasoning is arguably sound—people do often give absurdly scathing reviews that in no way accurately reflect a restaurant’s food quality.

“A good Yelp review doesn’t mean it’s a good restaurant — it simply means the restaurant is good at doing things that won’t hurt their online rating,” Wong said in an interview with Today, adding that “highly rated Yelp restaurants are often those with counter service and limited menus, minimizing potential negative interaction with staff.”

He also added the caveat, “I don’t have anything against those places, but I think people who only eat at the ‘highest rated’ restaurants on online review sites are only eating at the most boring restaurants.”

A ton of people in the comments seem to back Wong’s theory.

best chinese food

100% accurate, some say

TikTok

Plus, the theory seems to not be limited to just Chinese restaurants, further implying that maybe there’s more of a cultural misunderstanding, rather than any real lack of quality.

thai food near me

No drink refills but the food is fire.

TikTok

yelp reviews, yelp

2.8 is the new 5

TikTok

One of the gifts that our modern world provides is the opportunity to truly experience and appreciate other cultures. Since food is easily one of the most accessible (and enjoyable) ways to do that, perhaps we should prioritize seeking authenticity, rather than rely on a flawed and superficial rating system.

As Wong told Today, “I hope it encourages people to go out and eat more food from not only Chinese restaurants, but restaurants representing the whole world of cultural cuisines.”

Education

How a 3,800-year-old stone tablet helped create modern legal systems

'Innocent until proven guilty' isn't that new of a concept.

Kind of looks like the Matrix code...

The modern justice system is certainly not without its flaws, however most can agree that the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” is one that (when not abused) stands as the foundation of what fair due process looks like. This principle, it turns out, isn’t so modern at all. It can actually be traced all the way back to nearly 3,800 years ago.

historyLady Justice, the image of impartial fairness. Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

English barrister Sir William Garrow is known for coining the "innocent until proven guilty" phrase between the 18th and 19th century, after insisting that evidence be provided by accusers and thoroughly tested in court. But this notion, as radical as it seemed at the time, can, in fact, be credited to an ancient Babylonian king who ruled Mesopotamia.

During his reign from 1792 to 1750 B.C., Hammurabi left behind a legacy of accomplishments as a ruler and a diplomat. His most influential contribution was a series of 282 laws and regulations that were painstakingly compiled after he sent legal experts throughout his kingdom to gather existing laws, then adapted or eliminated them in order to create a universal system.

Those laws were inscribed on a large, seven-foot stone monument, and they were known as the Code of Hammurabi.

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popular

Woman left at the altar by her fiance decided to 'turn the day around’ and have a wedding anyway

'I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness.'

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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