When tornadoes ravaged North Texas, a group of moms found a way to keep babies fed.
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Dignity Health old

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.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


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Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


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Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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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.