The awesome way one woman is tackling the food waste and hunger crises in America.
True
State Farm

More than 42 million people go to bed hungry in America. To Jasmine Crowe, that's just baffling.

"Some of my friends, people that are close to me, didn’t have food," Crowe says.

As someone who cooks food for a living, she knew she had to do something to help shrink that number.


Crowe explaining the reason behind her mission to help solve food waste and hunger. All photos via State Farm.

She started by hosting pop-up dinners for people who are food insecure. But these weren't just ordinary dinners.

Along with her volunteers, she served three-course to five-course meals, similar to what you'd find at a nice restaurant. They even created menus for people to order from to round out the dining experience.

The goal was to remove each person's food worries for a night and help them just focus on the positives.

However, as the endeavor grew, it started to become expensive to sustain.

"Me and my best friend who’s also a chef, we would make these menus based off of what was on sale at the grocery stores," Crowe says.

Crowe with a fellow chef and volunteer.

That's when she had her epiphany — why not try to solve the hunger crisis with the food waste crisis?

"We waste 72 billion pounds of perfectly good food every year in this country," Crowe says. She couldn't think of a better scenario than one in which one problem could actually solve the other.

Crowe created a sustainable waste management app called Goodr, which "redirects surplus food from restaurants, event centers, airports, and businesses to the millions of people who are food insecure."

Waste not want not, right?

If food suppliers have leftover food that they're just going to throw away, all they have to do is put out an alert through Goodr, and someone will pick it up and take it to organizations that feed the hungry.

For Ryan Whitten, executive chef at Turner Broadcasting, the importance of Goodr's mission hit him around the holidays.

It was perfect timing because, according to Crowe, that's when hunger tends to spike.  

Crowe with Whitten.

It ended up being a wonderful experience for everyone involved.

Not only do businesses earn valuable tax deductions for their donations, they can actually see the good it's doing people in real time.

"She would literally take our food and about 20 to 30 minutes later, I would get a picture back with this is where it’s going to, these are the people it’s helping," Whitten recalls.

Thanks to partnerships with large suppliers, Goodr's been able to serve 80,000 meals, including over 2,000 special holiday meals, to people around the country since 2013.

But Crowe's work isn't just helping food insecure people. It's inspiring people of all ages to do more for the less fortunate.

For example, every holiday they do an initiative called Kids Give Back, which offers the younger generation an opportunity to volunteer as servers for pop-up dinners.

A volunteer in the Kids Give Back program.

What's more, the kids who go through it seem to genuinely appreciate the experience.

"I think when we put them in a position where they’re actually serving, it changes their lives more than they know," Crowe says.

Goodr is also inspiring volunteers to get out and start charitable organizations of their own.

"I can’t tell you how many people have started volunteering with us, and then said, 'Hey Jasmine, I love doing this so much, now I’m starting a nonprofit organization,'" Crowe says.

It's going to take more than one organization to solve issues like hunger and food waste, but thanks to Crowe's inspiring work, a serious dent's been made.

Volunteers at a Goodr pop-up dinner.

When you do something meaningful to help others, it creates a ripple effect. Crowe has seen this effect firsthand and has made it part of her mission to keep moving the needle forward.

"Giving creates a cycle of love," explains Crowe. "Everyone benefits. When everyone’s doing something to help someone else, no one loses."

Watch Crowe's whole story here:

Help for the Holidays: Goodr

She knew hunger was an issue, but when she realized that even some of her close friends were struggling with it, she took action.

Posted by Upworthy on Monday, December 4, 2017

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less