I must admit to cheating just a bit on today’s ‘good people’ post, as my time was short tonight. Every week, I get a CNN newsletter about good things happening, people helping others, etc. Today’s good people post is a compilation of good people from the last few of those newsletters. I may be a bit lazy, but these are still good people!
Looking out for each other
Trust your gut. How many times have we all heard that advice? When Shonda Lemon, a mail carrier in Chicago, noticed a senior citizen on her route hadn’t picked up her mail in a few days, her gut told her something was wrong. Lemon has a soft spot for the elderly, and she often greeted Helen Iwanski, 89, during her day. Iwanski would even sometimes attach candy to outgoing mail to thank Lemon for her work. After she noticed Iwanski’s absence, Lemon called the police to ask for a well-being check. When police entered the house, they found Iwanski on the floor, where she had fallen and been unable to move for several days. Luckily, after a hospital stay, Iwanski is on the mend, and her family says she calls the postal worker her angel. Lemon says she’s relieved the older woman is going to be OK. “Each person has an intricate part of your life, and you never know how important they may be.” Words of wisdom, my friends.
This is the “Teeter-Totter Wall,” a set of three seesaws slotted in between the gaps of the steel border wall that separates El Paso, Texas, and the Anapra community in Juárez, Mexico. The bright playground staples allowed children from both communities to play together despite the 20-foot wall between them. The temporary installation just won the 2020 Beazley Design of the Year, an annual award and exhibition run by London’s Design Museum. Ronald Rael, one of the California-based architects behind the project, said the seesaws were almost like the wall itself: “What you do on one side has an impact on the other.” Truer words were never spoken.
Giving what you have
It’s a special kind of selfless when someone chooses to help others even when they’re struggling, too. Take Carolyn Alonzo, who owns a Fetch! Pet Care franchise in Chicago. She’s seen her business take a huge hit during the pandemic, and to make matters worse, two of her dogs died. But out of her grief, she created the non-profit Obi’s Pet Pantry to help people who are having a hard time financially providing for their pets. She used some of her stimulus money and some donations to keep it stocked with food, blankets, collars, shampoo and other pet supplies. Others are using their stimulus money to pay it forward, too. Jeff Suchon of Highland Park, New Jersey, has purchased more than 30,000 masks with his economic relief payments, even though he lives on a fixed income and can’t work due to health concerns. Matthew Pierce, a teacher at Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania, has used his stimulus payments to buy Uber Eats gift cards for many students and their families. “We have to model good civics. It’s not something we’re born with. We need to give back in times of need.” 👍👍
Getting an early start on being a good people
Five-year-old Aryana Chopra rang in the new year in the most productive, positive way possible: She designed and handmade 200 cards to send to every resident at a senior living home in Vestal, New York. Aryana’s father is a doctor on the front lines of the pandemic, so she knows how serious coronavirus is. “I got an idea of making cards for the people in the nursing home who cannot go out and meet their friends and family,” she says. When her mother noticed Aryana hard at work making the cards, she called the local nursing home and asked how many residents were there. Two hundred is a tall order, but Aryana worked for almost two weeks to make them all, decorating each one with a unique combination of rainbows, snowmen, kids holding gifts and special New Year’s messages. Even then, that wasn’t enough for the little girl. She broke open her piggybank and bought the resident a few more gifts, including a very cute Santa Claus statue. This kid has been taught well. Thumbs up to Aryana and her parents!
Feeding the soul
What’s one of the most reliable ways of providing help and support to people during a crisis? Food. And few people do it better than star chef José Andrés. I’ve written about Chef Andrés before — he’s fed survivors and first responders during natural disasters, he’s fed pandemic heroes, and last month he helped feed National Guard members and law enforcement responding to the deadly attack on the Capitol. Since a curfew was imposed to increase security, Andrés said he knew these hard-working men and women wouldn’t have a lot of options to eat, so he drove around the area and collected about 120 pizzas. Later, in the wee hours of Thursday morning, he opened his own kitchen at his area restaurant Jaleo, and was seen making eggs, sandwiches and pasta. World Kitchen, Andres’ non-profit organization, said the team was able to feed about 700 people.