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While we weren't looking, Congress passed an amazing bipartisan bill.

"We can't ask a child to feed her mind when she can barely feed her stomach."

While we weren't looking, Congress passed an amazing bipartisan bill.
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Gates Foundation: The Story of Food

This July, while most of us were embracing air conditioning and watching presidential candidates butt heads, Congress did something amazing.

It didn't make many headlines, but it should have. This summer, the House of Representatives tried to pass historic bipartisan legislation. I repeat: historic. bipartisan. legislation.

And they did it!


Political gridlock be gone!

Republicans and Democrats came together to pass the Global Food Security Act, a landmark bill to reduce global hunger.

I like to think this was President Obama when it came to his desk for signature:

Doin' a little happy dance. GIF via "Ellen."

The Global Food Security Act marks the first time in our history that the U.S. government — the largest provider of international aid — has actually passed a comprehensive strategy around food and nutrition security.

This is big on many levels.

The law will work to reduce food insecurity for the nearly 800 million people worldwide who suffer from chronic hunger.

It will help to reduce hunger, malnutrition, and poverty by focusing on agriculture initiatives, small food producers, and the nutrition of women and children.

According to Global Citizen, the $7 billion allocated for the efforts will guarantee two years of funding for food security investments, mainly to smallholder and female farmers. It will also provide two years of funding toward our country's response to natural and man-made disasters, which helps keep America safe by containing conflict. It will also improve the coordination between different parts of the government, helping to reduce waste and increase transparency.

Perhaps the best part is the evidence that these efforts work.

Image via iStock.

In Malawi, for example, every $1 invested in an empowering loan program for women helped to generate $29 for their community. That was just through one program.

In another case, 9 million small-scale farmers and rural families were able to increase their incomes by more than $800 million through improvements to their agricultural practices. That was just over the course of one year. Thanks, Obama.

Can you imagine those results on a much larger scale? That's the beauty of the Global Food Security Act.

Image via iStock.

The law will focus on certain areas of the world, but the U.S. still stands to benefit. How?

In a time when national security is on everyone's radar, reducing hunger will advance stability and security overseas — and in our own backyards.

"We’ve seen how spikes in food prices can plunge millions into poverty and hunger, as well as spark riots that cost lives and lead to instability," says National Security Advisor Susan Rice. "This danger only grows as a surging global population isn’t matched by surging food production."

She's right. We have enough food to feed 12 billion people. And yet, 800 million people are undernourished. Working to reduce global hunger will help advance international peace and security. And that's not just a political move — it's a moral one.

So, thanks, Congress.

Over the years, partisan bickering and polarization has created such extreme gridlock in Washington that many Americans doubt our political process can actually work to make good things happen — so much so that we're shocked when it does.

The passing of this legislation with numerous champions on both sides of the aisle provides hope that bipartisan efforts do stand a chance.

Because, real talk, we can only move forward when we're working together. Investing our resources in ending hunger once and for all is a great place to start.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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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.

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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."