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One minute, families in North Texas were celebrating the holidays. The next, they were wondering what in the heck just happened.

It was Christmas, a time when many people are glued to the couch in full relaxation mode. But on Dec. 26, 2015, in North Texas, tornadoes were ripping through neighborhoods, putting an end to any holiday festivities.


When all was said and done, the EF-4 tornadoes took 13 lives and damaged at least 2,000 buildings and homes in the area, leaving a devastating mark on what was supposed to be a holiday of loving and giving with family and friends.

In times of crisis, we see time and time again, that complete strangers have plenty of loving and giving to spare. Community members immediately jumped into action to help those affected by the storm and began to organize, donate, and figure out ways to help provide those in need with the essential three things: food, water, and shelter.

Food, water, and shelter are important, yes, but Candice Kuzov had a different thought: What about breast milk?

Breast milk helps baby Olivia be happy and healthy. All photos via Facebook, used with permission.

For breast-feeding moms in the wake of a tornado, a destroyed home or power outage greatly affects their ability to store frozen breast milk.

Candice knew there had to be moms out there who were in need of breast milk. And sure enough, she found one: a mom of twins in North Texas who lost her supply of 500 ounces of milk in the storm.

"I just asked around on Facebook for that first woman's need for breast milk donations and got blown away by the generosity. The response was so immediate and so overwhelming," Candice said.

Candice and her friend BethAnne were not only able to refill that mom's supply, but the requests to donate kept coming in.

Candice and three other women, Beth, BethAnne, and Stephanie, joined forces to help more nursing moms in need by donating their own breast milk.

"We're a group of moms who saw a need that nobody else did — because we're moms!" the group wrote on their Facebook page called Breastmilk Donations for TX Tornado Victims.

Donors made this possible. Gonna need a bigger cooler!

Together the women have been leading an effort in North Texas to supply moms affected by the storm with donor breast milk, breast pumps, and other nursing supplies to help moms and their babies at a crucial time.

"Breast milk is so personal," she says. "Some people don't want to take another person's, and that's fine. We have other ways to help too. We gave one mom, who is now living in a motel because of the storm, a blender so she can blend baby food for her baby."


Candice making one momma's day with a blender, food steamer, and breast pump.

So far, the group has delivered an estimated 4,014 ounces of breast milk to moms in need.

They are still actively trying to get in contact with any other moms who may not know about their efforts. (You can Facebook message them or email them: milkdonations@gmail.com!) Any extra breast milk they end up with will be donated to the NICU or local milk bank.

"When you’re a pumping mom, you spend hours of your life pumping that stuff. For people to give it to someone else it's definitely a blessing."

No one wants to face a natural disaster or emergency. But it's great that if and when it happens, the generosity of others can help ease the difficulty of it.

"You think in a disaster, you're saying, 'Oh my gosh, we need to donate clothes or canned goods,'" Candice says. "It doesn't even process that breast milk is also desperately needed for some."

What a solid (or should I say ... liquid, eh?) effort that brings the kind of support that makes a community a place you love to call home.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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