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

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."