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How One Apartment Changed a Grandmother’s Life

Leslie Tander

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In winter of 2018, 79-year-old Jean Simpkins surveyed the lights of Washington, D.C. from her new apartment. The apartment boasted three bedrooms and sat 11 stories over the city. The grandmother was overcome with gratitude and appreciation at the sight of everything around her.

To Simpkins, living in this apartment feels like a miracle, and one that has been a long time coming. When her grandson was born, Simpkins became the guardian and provider for the boy. The same occurred six years after that, when her granddaughter was born. Since then, she has done everything possible to take care of these children, but it has become difficult since she lives on a fixed income.

Simpkins learned about Plaza West when she was in the midst of the struggle. The building, designed by Mission First housing, would save 50 apartments for families in need. Those families were headed by grandparents and other older adults. When Simpkins saw the waiting list, she was initially discouraged. After all, many grandparents raise children in the city.

Fortunately, Simpkins received a call that a space was available for her. She joined a group of other families, each one headed by grandparents who needed space to raise their grandchildren safely. The grandparents and grandchildren learn from each other. The intergenerational community is one of teaching, and many grandparents have become surrogate parents to other children.

Additionally, the grandparents meet monthly to discuss community goals, ask for support, and rant when necessary. The goal is to spot problems as they arise and take care of them quickly before they become bigger issues. Simpkins appreciates this family support and the burgeoning relationships she has been a part of. As she sees it, it really does take a village to raise a child. Parenting is already difficult enough, and it can be even more isolating when guardians are older and feel insecure in their ability to provide a stable home and finances.

Capital One is a company with a strong history of giving back to the community, and that is why they have supported Plaza West as a place for older adults to raise younger children in a strong, vibrant community. It is already difficult enough for grandparents to raise grandchildren, but to find good housing in which they can build a strong home environment can feel impossible. Cost is often a factor in these kinds of situations. New housing options seek to change this unfortunate situation.

Moving is often difficult. For example, Simpkins explained that she and the children had to leave behind people they truly cared about. Fortunately, the move was a successful one, and now the entire family is blossoming. In fact, both grandchildren made honor role and have been able to participate in activities near their home. They are getting involved in their community. Plaza West has been a saving grace.

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Life

The Viral Proposal that Triggered a Landslide of Social Media Love

Leslie Tander

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Alright, so KFC might not be the most romantic restaurant in the world- but we all have our food vices. Isn’t it possible that for a specific couple, in a specific time and place- that a certain fast food place has some significant amount of sentimental value attached to it? Listen… at least it wasn’t Popeyes.

At any rate, sometimes being judgmental is far uglier than the thing we judge people for. Let’s take this story as a lesson in being less eager to find fault in our fellow human beings.

So a man proposed to his beloved at a KFC. Who knows. Maybe there was something special in the secret ingredient that day. Maybe his would-be fiancée just has an irresistible gleam in her eye at the moment. Whatever it was, it was an expression of love. Perhaps his only mistake was to post the event on social media. If you know anything about social media, you probably already know what happened.

The man who proposed to his girlfriend of several years proposed to her at a KFC and posted it on social media. The response from the ever-present outrage mob was as predictable as it was ugly. People started mocking the couple brutally and relentlessly. They called them low-class. They called them bums. They made fun of their looks. They said the ring was garbage. They said the two of them probably smell like greasy chicken. The abuse went on and on and on. Needless to say, the couple was not lovin’ it.

The thread was going viral, and it was as toxic as it was cruel. But then something magical happened. It was like something the author of A Miracle on 34th Street might have come up with. It was like the Internet suddenly grew a heart. People started expressing support for the couple. At first, it was slow. But then it came on like a tidal wave.

Before long, the thread was entirely populated by commenters saying that the proposal was sweet, that it was cute, and that all the people judging them should take long walks off short piers. The negative commenters were drowned out and made to look like the petty creeps they really are.

Then, something even more amazing happened. Loads of companies started pitching in and giving the couple all kinds of great free-bees to help out with the wedding and to help kickstart their family.

Woolworths sent them a voucher worth $15 grand.

Coca-Cola promised to supply the wedding with beverages.

A jewelry company gave them two beautiful rings.

A tailor offered to outfit the groom for free, and a seamstress offered to outfit the bride.

A brewery gave them $5,000 and promised to provide the adult beverages for the wedding.

A handful of tech companies gave them valuable devices.

A local news team offered to live stream the wedding.

A travel company gave them an all-expenses paid vacation package to Mozambique.

Audi offered to provide transportation.

The giving just went on and on and on. It was amazing- and as far as we can tell, it’s still going on. Sure, we realize these were promotional opportunities for the companies. But they could promote their brands in any way they choose- and they chose to use kindness to promote their brands. We think that’s just fine.

So, next time you’re feeling judgmental, next time you feel like shaming someone on social media for some petty reason- just think about the lesson of the KFC couple and think twice. You might just end up as the butt of the joke and trigger a groundswell of support for the person you chose to mock.

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The Amazon Is Going To Be Saved By Chocolate Forests! Find Out More…

Leslie Tander

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Chocolate lovers all over the world are certainly going to want to sit down before they hear this news. It is a lot to take in! As someone who needs to have a chocolate stash in their home at all times, this news hit me in my feel zone. The chocolate industry is not immune to bad news, though. There are all sorts of reports that are designed to make us feel bad about our consumption.

It takes a heartless person to hear about the role of child labor in chocolate production and not think twice about chowing down on a candy bar. Fair trade chocolates need to be purchased whenever possible. Otherwise, you could be spending your money on items that have been produced under adverse circumstances. West African parks are currently being destroyed to make room for more cruelty based farms.

This does not sit well with us and it should not sit well with you, either. However, the nation of Brazil made a recent announcement that should have everyone applauding. Chocolate lovers everywhere, rejoice! The cattle ranchers of Brazil are coming together to make life easier for chocolate consumers everywhere. They are going to utilize their additional land to help the cause. Chocolate forests are being created as we speak and we are overjoyed.

Instead of letting their used up pastures fall by the wayside, this land is now going to be utilized. These ranchers are finally taking a more responsible approach. This is a fantastic piece of news. These are the ranchers who have caused so much deforestation already. The trees in this rainforest are responsible for the production of much of the world’s oxygen. 

20 percent of the oxygen that is consumed on this planet is derived from this rainforest. The deforestation that is taking place is frightening. Environmental regulations have been passed, in hopes of keeping these farmers from being able to continue their hurtful tactics. We are glad that someone is finally stepping up to the plate to put a stop to these actions. 

If no one is willing to protect the environment, the entire human race can be placed in jeopardy. The cows who consume the grass on these farmlands are also responsible for environmental depletion. Their needs certainly have to be considered as well. That’s why the ranchers of this region have decided that it is time to move in a more positive direction going forward.

Any move towards chocolate is a positive one, to be quite honest. This is a credo to live by. When lands are used in a manner that allows for greenery to grow, this is highly beneficial to the greater good. As a society, we need to make sure that we are doing everything in our power to keep forests from being cut down to make room for more inhumane production of human resources.

It is our responsibility to make sure that we are preserving the Earth for our children and their children. These chocolate forests are a great way to ensure the health of the planet, while steering the world of chocolate production away from the usage of child labor. The Amazon Fund is also offering financial incentives to farmers who are willing to plant their own chocolate forests.

Over $5 million in grants has been offered already and we hope that there is more to come. This is also good news for the farmers who are making the switch. The production of cocoa is far more profitable. This allows farmers to cease their practices, while remaining financially solvent. It is not often that we get to help the environment and our bottom line. Please be sure to pass this good news along to the choco-holics in your life! 

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Coca-Cola Is Doing An About Face, Thanks To Greenpeace Pressure!

Leslie Tander

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Single use plastic bottles are a scourge to the environment. If we had it our way, these bottles would no longer exist. The corporations that are responsible for providing them need to take a long look in the mirror. Why would any responsible company continue to manufacture these bottles? There is no reason to do so. The Coca-Cola Company is one of the main companies that we are pointing the finger at here.

They are not only responsible for the production of Coca-Cola beverages, they are also responsible for a wide range of other name brands that we consume on an everyday basis. If you drink Smart Water, Dasani or Minute Maid, these are all Coca-Cola products. This company is personally responsible for the creation of a staggering number of single use plastic bottles.

Can you believe that there are over 100 billion single usage plastic bottles being thrust into the environment each year….just off Coca-Cola alone!? This is insane to us. Now that millennial Americans are becoming more concerned with the effects of these plastic bottles, it is time to take a closer look at the manner in which we consume our favorite beverages each day.

In many instances, there are some simple changes that we are going to have to make if we are going to avoid the difficulties associated with these types of consumer decisions. According to studies, the average millennial is more than willing to put their money where their mouth is. They are ready to shell out extra, just to have access to more sustainable products over the long haul.

These are the sacrifices that we are going to have to make if we are going to avoid the environmental damages that are associated with our own decision making. No one can continue to do the same things that they have always done and reasonably expect different results. Now that the heat is being turned up, Coca-Cola is finally changing their ways.

Greenpeace is applying the pressure and Coca-Cola is here to listen. The Plastics Industry Association is actively working to maintain the status quo. Coca-Cola has decided, at long last, to leave this association. Pepsi is not going to be left in the dust when it comes to this association, either. The soda giant has already announced their plans to leave the Plastics Industry Association at a later date.

This association’s efforts are deplorable. They have already pressed a number of different states into avoiding the plastic bottle bans. Greenpeace has been lauding the decision that was made by Coca-Cola and we are, too. It gets tiring to watch corporations shirk their responsibilities to the environment. There is only so much that we can do on our own. 

Companies are often scared to take the first step publicly and this is understandable. However, now that major companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi are taking the initial steps, there is no reason to remain afraid. If you are anything like us, you are going to want to live in a world where sustainable beverage containers become the norm. They should never be an outlier and this is something that we believe in strongly.

Please be sure to share this great news with all of your friends and loved ones as soon as possible. We are glad that the top companies are finally taking the initiative to make these all important changes. After all, who wouldn’t want to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that our consumer choices are not hurting the planet? This is a victory for all of the consumers who are looking to make the necessary changes in their lives. 

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