These 3 voters were either undecided or not voting. That changed after the debate.

The third presidential debate was dominated by loud disagreements between the candidates on guns, abortion rights, and — most unusually — whether or not it was important for the loser to concede the election.

Photos by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images (left) and Win McNamee/Getty Images.

For the third time, we asked our social media followers if the debate convinced them to switch their vote. While most remained set in the choice they had made before — and none said they switched from one major candidate to the other — a few who were previously undecided or planning not to vote were persuaded to come off the fence.


Here's why:

(Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.)

Maegan Martinez, student, McAllen, Texas

Was voting for: Undecided, leaning Jill Stein

Now voting for: Hillary Clinton

Photos by Win McNamee/Getty Images (left) and Rick Wilking/AFP/Getty Images.

Her thoughts on the election, prior to the debate: "Ideologically, I was leaning toward Jill Stein after having been a staunch Bernie supporter. The choice was — and to some extent, still is — difficult because on one end I'm given a narcissist with no political experience, and on the other someone who seems a bit ingenuine. Then, in between, someone who didn't know what Aleppo was, and finally, Jill Stein."

"My questions were: Does [Stein] really have a chance? Is a vote for her an indirect vote for Trump? Should I just submit to the two party system after all?"

What convinced her to commit to Clinton: "Hillary conducted herself so magnificently last night — can words even describe it? She was poised, prepared, articulate, calm, and overall comported herself with dignity befitting of a president. She is everything a nasty woman like myself could ever hope to be and even her mistakes, I think, pale in comparison to what I saw on television yesterday."

Why she was never considering Trump — and why his performance in the debate reaffirmed her choice: "[Trump] has been absolutely erratic his entire campaign. Leaning forward to whisper insults into the microphone? Will he do that during roundtables with other world leaders?"

The two words from Trump that really hurt — and pushed her into the Clinton column: "Bad hombres."

"I am a Chicana woman living on the border of Texas and Mexico. My town is 98% hispanic and tons of the people I know are undocumented. Trump has been spewing hate speech about Hispanic people for months now and the things he says simply do not match up with what I see in my day to day life."

Her bottom line? "Last night he used the language of my people as an insult against my people in a way that was so incredibly shocking, I'm still in disbelief. The 'bad hombres' that need to get out? He wasn't talking about bad people in general. He was talking about Latinx people."

Jason Etgen, sales, Junction City, Kansas

Was voting for: Undecided

Now writing in: Bernie Sanders

Photos by Alex Wong/Getty Images (left) and Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Why he watched the debate: "I actually tuned in hoping Clinton could convince me to vote for her. I hadn't decided what I was going to do. With Bernie out and Jill Stein not anywhere close to a realistic option, I was just hoping something would get me excited to go out and vote in a few weeks."

What he was hoping for from Clinton: "I was just hoping for something genuine. Something that would make me say 'Ok. Maybe I can trust her to do what she says and what our country needs.'"

"But I didn't get that. And the more she talked the more I thought of her Wall Street ties, and of course the Clinton foundation scandals, and all the 'you're dreaming' talk during the primaries."

What he thought of Trump's performance: "The only thing Trump has ever said that I've been forced to agree with is that our trade policies have been disasters for the middle class, and that a woman who claims to be about women's rights shouldn't allow her charity to take money from countries whose human rights records and treatment of women is deplorable. And in no way do I think Trump can fix out trade problems. Ultimately, Trump is an unqualified twisted ball of hate shoved inside an orange peel."

What he plans to do now: "I live in a red state. Kansas is not going to anyone but Trump. I'm actually extremely sad by the number of Kansans I have talked to that support Trump. There's no room for a progressive voter in Kansas. So I'll do what's best for my conscience and just write in Bernie. Either way my vote doesn't count so why compromise?"

"It really bothers me that I can't vote for Hillary. I suppose I'm a feminist and I would love nothing more than to vote for the first female president. But I just can't vote for her."

If he lived in a swing state? "I would probably do what was necessary and vote for Hillary. I would hate myself, but I'd probably do it."

Corynne Jones, therapist, Cleveland, Georgia

Was planning on: Not voting

Now voting for: Hillary Clinton

Photos by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images (left) and Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

Why staying home on Election Day initially seemed like best option: "If you look at [Trump's] history, he's always been shady. From housing discrimination, to terrible business deals, to objectifying women. But I've been no great fan of [Clinton] either."

"They weren't comparable. As she said very succinctly herself last night, she has done much more for others over her professional career while his motives have largely been self-motivated. But she and her husband did enact legislation that have specifically led to the increased mass incarceration of black males. And the whole 'bring them to heel' thing. That disturbs me in a real way."

What she saw in Clinton's answers at the third debate: "I saw a woman who used facts to present her positions. I saw a woman with a plan. I saw a woman willing to learn. I saw a woman willing to reach out and speak to 'the lesser of our brothers' to figure out the best way toward viable solutions. I was also impressed that her closing statements was one of unity. Democrat, Republican. Libertarian, Green. Doesn't matter."

"We are all in this together. This election has brought out the very worst in people and we are going to get nowhere unless we are willing to listen and empathize. She did that repeatedly."

What she saw in Trump's performance: "A clueless man who had no idea how government functions or how laws are made, a man who could not take criticisms and would never admit clear wrongdoings, and a man that so clearly devalues women. The last straw for me was, when asked to make a unifying statement, he came out with that cringe worthy appeal to blacks and Latinos. It's clear he's never asked either group what their actual struggles are."

Why she finds Trump particularly unacceptable, now that she's preparing to be a mom: "By winning the election he would set this country back years upon years for LGBT, women, minorities, and science. It was a scary future. I absolutely could not sit home and call myself a good mother and provide any window for this man to dictate my daughter's future."

Early voting is already open in many states. Here's a handy guide to doing that, if you're among the lucky who can. For the rest of us, be sure to vote on Nov. 8!

Photo courtesy of Kenneth and Jill Gonsalves
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It can be expensive to have a pet. It's possible to spend between $250 to $700 a year on food for a dog and around $120-$500 on food for a cat. But of course, most of us don't think twice about the expense: having a pet is worth it because of the company animals provide.

But for some, this expense is hard to keep up, no matter how much you adore your fur baby. And that's why Kenneth and Jill Gonsalves decided to help.

Kenneth had seen a man scraping together change in a store to buy pet food, so he offered to buy the man some extra pet food. Still, later that night he couldn't stop thinking about the experience — he worried the man wasn't just struggling to pay for pet food, but food for himself, too.

So he went home and told his wife — and immediately, they both knew they needed to do something. So, in December 2020, they converted a farm stand into a take-what-you-need, leave-what-you-can Pet Food pantry.

"A lot of people would have watched that man count out change to buy pet food. Some may have helped him out like my husband did," Jill says. "A few may have thought about it afterward. But, only someone like Kenny would turn that experience into what we have today."

"If it weren't for his generous spirit and his penchant for a plan, the pantry would never have been born," she adds.

A man with sunglasses hands a box of cat food to a woman smiling Photo courtesy of Kenneth and Jill Gonsalves

At first, the couple started the pet food pantry with a couple hundred dollars of pet food they bought themselves. And to make sure people knew about the pantry, they set up a Facebook page for the pantry, then went to other Facebook groups, such as a "Buy Nothing group," and shared what they were doing.

"When we started, we weren't even sure people would use us," Jill says. "At best, we were hoping to be able to provide enough to help people get through the holidays."

But, thanks to their page and word of mouth, news spread about what they were doing, and the donations of more pet food started flooding in, too. Before long, they were coming home to stacks of food — and within a couple of months, the pantry was full.

Yellow post-it note with handwritten note that reads: "Hi, I read your story on Facebook. Here is a small donation to help. I have a 3-year-old yellow lab who I adore. I hope this helps someone in need. Merry Christmas. Meredith" Photo courtesy of Kenneth and Jill Gonsalves

"The pounds of food we have gone through is well, well, well into the thousands," Jill says. "The orders from our Amazon Wish List alone include several hundred pounds of dry food, a couple of hundred cases of canned food, and thousands of treats and toys. But, that does not even take into account the hundreds of drop-offs, online orders, and monetary donations we have received."

They also got many 'Thank you notes' from the people they helped.

"I would like to thank you for helping us feed our fur babies," one note read. "My husband and I recently lost our jobs, and my husband [will] hopefully [find] a new one. We are just waiting for a call."

Another read: "I just need to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I haven't worked in over a month with a two-year-old at home. Dad brings in about $300/week. From the pandemic to Christmas, it has been tough. But with the help of beautiful people like you, my fur baby can now eat a little bit longer, and my heart is happy."

Jill says that she thinks the fact that the pet pantry is a farm stand helps people feel better.

A woman holding a small black dog and looking at the camera is greeted by Jill Gonsalves Photo courtesy of Kenneth and Jill Gonsalves

"When we first started this, someone who visited us mentioned how it made them feel good to be able to browse without feeling like they were being watched," she says. "So, it's been important to us to maintain that integrity."

Jill and Kenneth aren't sure how many people they've helped so far, but they know that their pet food pantry is doing what they hoped it would. "The pet owners who visit us, much like donations, come in ebbs and flows," Jill says. "We have some regulars who have been with us since the beginning. We also have some people that come a few times, and we never see again."

"Our hope is that they used us while they were in a tough spot, but they don't need us anymore. In a funny way, the greatest thing would be if no one needed us anymore."


Today, the Acushnet Pet Pantry is still going strong, but its stock is running low. If you want to help out, visit their Facebook page for updates and to find ways to donate.
Courtesy of Nextdoor

Jayden, Jayson, Jordan, Jeffery and Jared received an outpouring of support from neighbors after they came home from the NICU at almost a year old.

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When the children's hospital called Aileen's pediatric occupational therapy clinic in July of 2020, the clinic was closed due to pandemic lockdowns. The hospital informed her that a set of quintuplet baby brothers had been born in November of 2019 and would be in need of her services once they were released. Would she be able to help?

Aileen often gets direct referrals from the hospital for families with special conditions, and premature quintuplets who spent their first year of life receiving oxygen and feeding through tubes certainly fit that bill. She decided to open her clinic specifically for the babies and their mother, Jackie. As the babies were released, they came to Aileen for ongoing occupational therapy, and by November 2020, all five boys were being cared for at the clinic.

The quintuplets stayed in the NICU for nearly a year after they were born.Courtesy of Nextdoor

Jackie is a single mom who moved to the U.S. from Ghana a couple of years ago. She lives with her mom and aunt in the Atlanta area and also has another son, Daniel, who was 3 years old when the boys came home from the hospital. With a preschooler and five babies needing medical care, Jackie definitely needed more help than her family and church could provide, but she was too shy to ask for it. Eventually, she confided in Aileen that she could use help with diapers. Even with one baby, diapers are expensive; keeping up with five at once would be overwhelming.

Aileen contacted local aid organizations who normally have diapers to offer, but they were all in short supply due to the pandemic. So she decided to reach out to her neighbors instead.

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!