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What do you call someone who leaves gallon jugs all over the desert? A hero.

"When I was hungry, did you feed me? When I was thirsty, did you give me a drink?"

What do you call someone who leaves gallon jugs all over the desert? A hero.

It's a heartbreaking story:

5-year-old Marco Antonio Villaseñor's father was desperately in search of economic opportunity and a better life. That need compelled him to take Marco on a trek, with nearly 20 other men, across the desert into the United States.

One day, somewhere along the journey, Marco became thirsty. He asked his father for a drink of water but received no answer. So he asked one of the other men. Again, no answer. This same request went unanswered each time the little boy approached one of his fellow travelers. Why? Because they all, including Marco's father, had already died of thirst.


Marco was asking the dead for water.

Stories like this are the ones that Enrique Morones can never forget.

They give names and faces to a group of people often viewed as a nameless, faceless mass: undocumented immigrants. And it is stories like this (shared in the video by Misael Virgen below) that motivate Enrique every day in his work as the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Border Angels.

In 1996, after 10 years of assisting migrants who lived in the canyons of San Diego, Enrique and his Border Angels began going out into the Imperial Valley desert and leaving gallons of water with the hopes that those who pass through would find them on their journey.

It's a small offering, but since thousands of people have died along that very crossing, this single gesture of love and care can make a huge difference.

The work of Enrique's Border Angels there and in other areas along the U.S.-Mexico border is a reminder of the age-old principle "Do what you can with what you have."

While the national battle over immigration reform continues year after year, people like Enrique are doing something right now: saving lives, one gallon of water at a time.

Unfortunately, Marco's story didn't have a happy ending.

He too died of thirst on his journey. But thanks to Enrique and his Border Angels, many others won't have to.

Every day, they are making a difference in the lives of anyone who finds their life-giving water tucked under a mesquite tree, hidden from the blazing sun.

Watch the video to learn more about their mission:

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.