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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.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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