To ease the stigma of addiction, this mother sends letters to strangers who've lost children to overdoses
via @ResistMoveTRM / Twitter

The number of people dying from drug overdoses in the U.S. is staggering. In 2017, 70,237 people died from drug overdoses, 47,600 of those were from opioids.

According to the CDC, that number has increased over five times since 1999. Since 2011, an alarming number of opioid deaths have been caused by fentanyl, a highly potent synthetic opioid.


via Centers for Disease Control

Each death leaves behind countless hurt friends and family members who can have trouble grieving given the stigma attached to drug addiction. People with substance abuse problems are called "junkies" and "thieves." Their parents and family can be labeled "enablers" and "coddlers."

Addiction is seen by many as a moral failing.

Whereas the recovery community and the medical profession sees it as a disease.

RELATED: In the heart of the opioid crisis, a compassionate approach to treatment is saving lives

Parents who have lost a child to drug addiction are often met with stone-cold silence from family and loved ones who don't know how to appropriately grieve the loss of someone who's died due to an overdose.

MaryBeth Moore Zocco, 54, lost her son Ryan Moore in December 2018 after a fatal heroin overdose. Ryan didn't know it was laced with fentanyl.

While her son was alive she always sent him care packages, like a warm blanket in the winter with a pouch of hot cocoa.

After his death, MaryBeth died to countnbue the tradition but this time she'd send some ove out to fellow parents of children who've died due to drug overdoses. She tells them about her son and tells them not to be ashamed of how they died, but rather, be proud of how they lived.

"I wanted to do something to help other moms and dads who lost their children to substance abuse disorder, to let them know they aren't alone," she told The Washington Post.

On each card, she sends them a short paragraph about her son's life — his career goals, talents, and hobbies. She also encourages parents to think about who they're children were as people, not as addicts.

"As a 25-year-old, Ryan loved life and all it had to offer," she writes. "Ryan loved music, playing drums, going to concerts especially with mosh pits," she writes.

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MAryBeth has sent over 700 cards to parents since she began the project in April. She found these parents through websites for grieving families and support groups.

In the right months since she started the project she has come across three mothers who've lost four children to overdoses.

"I don't know how they are still breathing," she said according to The Washington Post.

Jennifer Slater, a mother who lost her son due to an overdose was uplifted by MaryBeth's card.

"The card made me want to strive to end up on the other side of this," Slater said. "It gave me the desire to do something more."

MaryBeth calls her letter-writing campaign the FRoM Project, which is an acronym for Forever Ryan's Mom. She hopes to have the name trademarked and to keep mailing cards.

"I've never felt so sure of what I'm doing," she said.

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This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

Watch the full story:

Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

via Brittany Kinley / Facebook

Brittany Kinley, a mother from Mansfield, Texas, had a hilarious mom fail her and she's chalking it up to being just another crazy thing that happened in 2020.

When Kinley filled out the order form for her son Mason's kindergarten class pictures, there was an option to have his name engraved into the photos. But Kinley wasn't interested in having her son's name on the photos so she wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" on the box.

Well, it appears as though she should have left the box blank because the computer or incredibly literal human that designed the photographs wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" where mason's name should be.

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

James Taylor is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with five Grammy awards, more than 100 million albums sold and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame under his belt.

A new video of him casually singing with his family from their home in Montana just oozes wholesomeness in a soul-stirring three-part harmony. With simple, pure musicianship, Taylor plays guitar and sings lead vocals while his wife Kim and son Henry add harmony on his song "Now You Can Close Your Eyes." Originally released on Taylor's 1971 album Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, it's an absolutely gorgeous gift to us during this uncertain time.

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via UDOT / Facebook

In December 2018, The Utah Department of Transportation opened the largest wildlife overpass in the state, spanning 320 by 50 feet across all six lanes of Interstate 80.

Its construction was intended to make traveling through the I-80 corridor in Summit County safer for motorists and the local wildlife.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that there were over 100 animal incidents on the interstate since 2016, giving the stretch of highway the unfortunate nickname of "Slaughter Row."

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