As we turn off the news and step away from the TV more, now's the time to rest in Father God. Here are a few great stories that uplift and inspire us. Keep shining your light and doing things that add value.
Story shared via ABC News: A hairstylist at a Denver barbershop received a $2,500 tip and $3,300 more for her coworkers from a new customer hoping to do his part amid the coronavirus crisis. The man, who wanted to remain anonymous, stopped by a Floyd's 99 Barbershop Saturday afternoon, just as Ilisia Novotny was about to put her clippers away after a long day. "I had 15 minutes left in my shift, and he walked up and asked if I could squeeze him in," Novotny said. "I know how many people are desperate for a haircut right now so I didn't mind."
An anonymous man left Ilisia Novotny $2,500 tip and $3,300 more for employees at Floyd's Barbershop during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Novotny, 32, began snipping away when the man asked how she and the other hairstylists were getting by amid state-mandated business shutdowns due to COVID-19. Floyd's 99 had been closed for business since March 18. Saturday was the first day the barbershop was allowed to reopen as Colorado begins to ease its social distancing restrictions.
"I finished up and he goes, 'Just so you know, the tip is not a mistake," Novotny said. "I didn't know what he was talking about until I went over to find the receipt." When Novotny looked down, she could hardly believe her eyes: $2,500, in addition to the $27 haircut.
"I was just in complete shock. This came at a crucial time for me," the single mom explained. "He didn't want to make a big show of it, but it's truly a blessing, and I have so much appreciation. I still can't believe it." But the generous tipster didn't stop there. He handed the barbershop's receptionist $500 and $1,000 to the general manager on his way out, before doubling back to ask how many people worked at the shop. He then doled out an additional $1,800 -- $100 for each of the shop's 18 other employees. "For him to come back and give out such generous tips to all my colleagues really just left me speechless," Novotny said. "I can't even tell you how much this means to us all."
It's a welcome gesture as workers in the service industry continue to face furloughs and layoffs across the country. According to the latest jobs report from business analytics firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. at least 73,000 service sector workers have lost their jobs in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For Novotny, she plans to use the tip to pay rent and help her hearing-impaired son get the treatment he needs.
Story shared via CBS News: Due to social distancing requirements, most hospitals and health care facilities are restricting visitors at this time. While this measure helps prevent the spread of coronavirus, it has lead to the isolation of many patients. One New Jersey man, who knows first-hand how important it is to stay connected to ailing family members, was inspired to help other elderly patients see their loved ones. Wildwood Crest resident John Lynch recently had to say a final goodbye to his father via FaceTime. His dad was at a memory care unit in Atlanta and because of restrictions, Lynch couldn't see him in person before he died.
His "Lunch with Lynch Foundation" usually focuses on providing learning experiences for children and assisting families with life threatening illnesses, a spokesperson told CBS News. Now, Lynch's foundation is committed to collecting donated iPads for health care facilities where patients are restricted from seeing their families in person.
Lynch calls it "Operation Connection: The iPad Project," and through the program, more than 60 iPads have been collected so far. The first 20 iPads collected went to Cape May County Medical Center and the rest will be distributed to nursing homes in Cape May County and hospitals across the country. The foundation is still accepting cash donations and new or gently used iPads. Tom Piratzky, executive director of the Cape Regional Foundation, was thankful for the foundation's generosity. "Our families have told us how important it is and how much they really appreciate the opportunity to see their loved ones and talk to them," he said.
Katie Hinchey, whose grandmother was a recipient of one of the donated iPads, said she is grateful for Lunch. "When grandmother was taken by ambulance, they took nothing with her. No phone. No list of numbers. No pigeon to carry messages. So, when I called her room this morning and the nurse asked if we could FaceTime – all my fears disappeared," Hinchey said.
Lynch said he had been talking to his dad on FaceTime for the past two years. So, he knows how important technology is to connect separated families. "In the memory of my father, Hugh Lynch, I want to help people in the hospitals communicate with their family members," he said.
The first 20 iPads collected went to Cape May County Medical Center and the rest will be distributed to nursing homes in Cape May County and hospitals across the country.
Story Shared via CBS News: During this Nurses Week, a Virginia man is recognizing a nurse he calls his "angel in disguise." Anthony Bookert is praising Susan Franco, a nurse at Chippenham Hospital, who helped him reunite with his mother after 17 years apart. Bookert's mother, Gail, was separated from him when he was a child due to health complications. The two lost touch again in 2003, and Gail eventually developed dementia. She lived in a group home and was frequently in and out of the hospital.
The last time Gail was admitted to Chippenham Hospital, nurse Susan Franco became determined to find her family members. Hospital staff previously thought there were no family connections on record, but Franco scoured Gail's files and found the contact information for one of Gail's four children. Anthony Bookert said he was "astonished" when he got the call from Franco in late April. "I never thought I would get that call because it had been so long since I've seen her," Bookert told CBS News during a video interview along with Franco. "When she called me, I just was happy to find out she was alive, honestly."
Bookert said he was grateful to Franco for giving him a chance to be with his mom again. Franco said it's just part of her job. "We make calls all the time to family members. So, it was just something we do on a routine basis," Franco told CBS News during the interview. Still, Bookert praised the nurse who he said went "over and beyond" her job. "It's a blessing. And I'm so thankful for Ms. Susan Franco," he said.
"I truly feel in my heart God works in mysterious ways. Not our timing, but his timing, you know what I mean? For her to give me that call, it's overwhelming. It all happened the way it happened. Man, it touched me. It really touched me." Franco said she agrees: "I feel the same way he does that God does things on his timing and I'm just so glad I could be a part of that," the nurse said.
Since hospitals are limiting visitors to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Bookert hasn't been able to see his mom in person, but he said he talks to her on the phone, with help from Franco and another nurse. He also said he's been delivering items to his mom. He said since he can't go inside, Franco meets him outside the hospital and helps bring things to his mom's room.
Story shared via ABC News: A local church has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic, but that hasn't stopped its members and leaders from giving back to the community. At St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Queens, there is little that the congregation can do for the families of so many in the immigrant community who have died. There is a list of about 60 members who have died, but it is estimated there are dozens more. They're not allowed to have people in the church, so priests at St. Bartholomew perform brief services for just a few close family members, but it is not enough and Rev. Rick Beuther knows it.
"It's terrible, it's terrible when you offer mass in a big church like this and it's just a few of us and it's just terrible because you want to reach out and embrace someone who is suffering and you aren't able to do it," Beuther said. That part has been frustrating for Beuther, but there is another part of his job that he is still able to do and he has doubled down on that part. He can't do much to help those who have died, but Beuther can help the living.
A food pantry at the church will feed 1,600 people Friday. All the donated food will go to people in the neighborhood who have seen so much pain. "The last eight, 10 weeks has been a real tsunami, a disaster for us here, between sickness, death, unemployment and just lack of services for the undocumented," Beuther said. Beuther says even with empty pews, he can still help the neighborhood by feeding the families and answering the phone. "They are reaching out just to talk, to tell stories, they're reaching out for ears, just to listen," he said.
Story Shared Via KSUB News: New Jersey 8-year-old Emilio Flores overheard his parents talking about making a donation to a local food bank to support families struggling with coronavirus lockdowns. It was just days before his birthday when the boy had the bright idea to ask for food donations in lieu of gifts to celebrate his day. “The next day he came to us with this handwritten letter and asked if he could use his upcoming birthday as an opportunity to collect donations for the food bank too. So we made copies of his letter and hand-delivered them to our neighbors up and down the block,” said his father Javier Flores, of Lyndhurst, N.J.
The birthday wish spread by word of mouth and social media; within 48 hours, cars, walkers, bicyclists and even members of the Lyndhurst Police Department had made their way to the Flores home to drop off donations. Bags of food began piling up, mixed in with balloons and cards for the birthday boy. The family estimates they received more than 4,000 food items to donate. One local restaurant owner, Salvatore Siconolfi, brought over not only a food donation but a tray of penne vodka and a $100 gift card for the family, as Emilio’s mother Mayra is battling breast cancer.
“Even the mayor stopped by!” Emilio said, referring to Lyndhurst Mayor Robert Giangeruso. “It’s great to see such an effort in Lyndhurst. Sometimes, something very good can come from something very bad,” Giangeruso said. “We were concerned about the weather possibly washing out Emilio’s birthday wish, but then the sun came and the whole community appeared. Emilio’s selflessness gave us all a gift on his birthday,” said Erin Keefe, Lyndhurst mom of four.
“To see such an abundance of food come together in such a short time is truly amazing. It’s going to be hard to top this birthday,” Mayra Flores said. “People that lost their jobs still have to feed their kids. I’m glad that families will have food to eat,” said Emilio, who is currently deciding between paleontologist or “food bank guy” for a future career path.
We pray God blesses this young boy and his family for their generosity We also pray for all those that were able to donate and help those in need. And, we pray healing for Emilio's mother. By Jesus's stripes, she is healed. We pray she is cancer-free in Jesus's name and by God's authority!
The novel coronavirus pandemic couldn't stop one former truck driver and children’s minister from delivering 300 Easter meals and baskets for children in need in Charlotte, North Carolina. Renee Brown, now a children’s author, partnered with Charlotte community activist Charles Robinson for the special Easter Sunday delivery that all came together from a Facebook post.
Renee Brown said she worked overnight to help package the Easter baskets in Charlotte, N.C. Due to coronavirus shutting down schools and homeless food shelters, Robinson, who runs an organization called Community Hub, has been feeding hundreds of children three meals a day, and posted on Facebook about needing to find a kitchen to continue his work.
According to Robinson, coronavirus shutdowns have made many families food insecure in the Charlotte area, but the community has come together to rally around those who need meals the most. Some families are currently living in motel rooms, Robinson said, due to a major housing crisis as well.
Charles Robinson, founder of Community Hub, feeds families seven days a week amid coronavirus in Charlotte, N.C. "God has blessed us with a lot of love and community support. The favor of God rests on us and the donations have come in and we've managed to work and love and feed the community. Charlotte’s really coming together," said Robinson.
Brown said she saw Robinson's post and had the idea to team up and deliver baskets to the children that Robinson was feeding, too. "I remember seeing [Robinson’s Facebook post] and I got in contact with him and from that to Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, there was enough food donated to feed 1,500 people," said Brown. Community volunteers kept their social distance while helping to organize the 300 donated Easter baskets in Charlotte, N.C.
"All the kids had a great Easter and it was so good to see those kids run out of their houses or motel rooms and get their baskets," Robinson added. Brown said she was inspired by her late grandmother, known as Grandma Polly, to give back this Easter.
A New Jersey man and his wife are thanking God that their lives were spared. An early morning tornado Monday that moved through their area caused a tree to fall on their home and into their bedroom. They knew something was going on with the weather because earlier that morning around 5:00 am, their lights flickered on and off.
When the tree fell onto the home, the wife was injured slightly from their ceiling fan which fell on her. However, in an interview with the news, the husband, Conrad Pinto, credits Jesus with sparing them. The husband said, "Easter...The Risen Lord saved us". His wife then added, "God saved us" and he nodded, "Thank God". And, given that this happened the day after Easter, it truly was a miracle.
We pray God blesses this family as they had to relocate to a nearby home after the fallen tree demolished their home. We also pray for all those affected by severe weather and recent tornadoes.
Image Credit: CBS
Story Shared via CBS News: College senior Ashley Lawrence noticed that many people have started making their own face masks due to the shortage of medical supplies amid the coronavirus crisis. But she didn't see masks designed for the deaf and hard of hearing community — so she decided to sew them herself.
"So right before the pandemic, masks were made and made commercialized to help people with hearing loss have access to their doctor's mouths for lip reading/speech reading," Lawrence said in a Facebook post on Monday. "Because of the shortage of masks, everyone started making their own, so I thought: why not make them for all?? This is how we stay #HealthyatHome"
Lawrence, who said she is a senior at Eastern Kentucky University majoring in deaf education, posted photos of two face mask designs, both with transparent screens around the mouth.
The transparent screens allow those who know how to lipread in the deaf and hard of hearing community to read the lips of the person wearing the mask. The screen also ensures people are better able to see the facial expressions of the wearer, which is important for those communicating using American Sign Language. Lawrence's Facebook post garnered attention. She said many people reached out to ask for one of her masks.
"We have been so completely overwhelmed by the response, and pleased that we could do our part to bring awareness to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community," Lawrence wrote in an email sent to CBS News on Thursday, signed the "DHH Mask Project." Lawrence explained in the email that those involved in her project initially decided to make handmade masks accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing in her local community in Kentucky. She added that they have "no prior experience in sewing" and are working to assemble a group of people to help make the masks, as she said they are now in "high demand."
She also wrote in a separate Facebook post Wednesday that she is setting up a Facebook page for the project "to keep people who are helping up-to-date." While those involved in the project are working as hard as they can to produce the masks, they won't be able to make all of them themselves, Lawrence said in the email. So she said they will send the pattern and tutorial on how to make them to anyone interested in sewing the masks to distribute in their communities.
Lawrence's homemade masks mimic surgical masks, which protect the person wearing it from large droplets or splashes that may contain viruses, and protect others from the wearer's respiratory emissions, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These masks are different from the so-called N95 respirators that are recommended for health care workers and provide medical-grade protection.
While Lawrence isn't the first person to make a mask with those in the deaf and hard of hearing community in mind, her post comes at a time when masks and other medical supplies are much-needed commodities to fight the spread of coronavirus. And the demand for supplies is unlikely to dwindle anytime soon — especially in the United States, which is now the global epicenter of the pandemic.
The number of cases continues to grow in America, with more than 242,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 5,800 deaths in the country, according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University. However, the government has cautioned the worst of the crisis is still to come. President Trump recently told the U.S. to brace for "a very bad" two or three weeks.
Image Credit: CBS/GMA
Story shared via GMA: While so much is changing in the world because of the coronavirus pandemic, one positive note has been the outpouring of support to health care workers on the front lines, from hospital food deliveries to the cheering that happens daily at 7 p.m. in New York City. Lauren Mochizuki, an emergency room nurse in Orange County, California, said she has never seen anything like it in her 11-year career. "I have never seen this kind of generosity and humanity," Mochizuki told "Good Morning America." "Every shift I go in, it feels like some organization or some person or some other department is thinking about us and showing us that with these different things.
Emergency department staffers in the hospital where Mochizuki works have received donated lunches and dinners as well as handmade cards from children, which they've used to decorate their break room.
People and organizations have also donated everything from the personal protective equipment (PPE) that is critical to protecting health care workers to protein bars to help keep them fueled, according to Mochizuki. "Yesterday we ran out of hair coverings and someone saw that on Instagram and donated some," she said. "Another woman made care packages that had things like a protein bar and lotion and a handwritten note." One day, Mochizuki walked out to the area where ambulances arrive and flying above was a plane that wrote the words "Thank you first responders" in the sky above.
"More than anything, it’s so encouraging," said Mochizuki. "When we go in to work, in the back of all of our minds we’re wondering how does this potentially affect our home life and our ourselves, so when we see all these notes and food, it’s a morale booster because we get excited." "It takes a little bit off that pressure and worry and stress and replaces it with joy," she said. Mochizuki said she and her emergency department coworkers have even received donations from other units in the hospital. They are now paying it forward and plan to send something to the hospital's environmental services team that cleans the hospital and prepares the emergency room for patients.
"[People donating to us] sparks a spiral of gratitude," she said. "It inspires us to want to help others and remember to be happy and that we should be really thankful for these jobs that we have." Mochizuki is the mother of a 6-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter and her husband is a firefighter. She said people who are following orders to stay home also deserve a big thank you from nurses like herself.
This Brooklyn landlord waived rent for all his tenants for the month of April. Some cried and some even sent him thank you notes. God bless this man for his generosity and may more landlords look for ways to help those in need.
Image Credit: CBS
Article shared via CBS News: Hospitals around the U.S. are becoming overcrowded with patients due to coronavirus, and health care workers on the frontlines of the pandemic are working tirelessly in the battle against it. Social media has given people at home a small glimpse into the lives of nurses and doctors during this time. Many health care workers have showed the world what they're doing when they're not working: They're praying.
"When you have a few extra minutes at work you take the time to go to the helipad and pray," Angela Gleaves, a nurse from Vanderbilt Health in Tennessee wrote on Facebook, sharing several photos of herself and some colleagues on the hospital roof.
"We prayed over the staff in our unit as well as all of the hospital employees. We also prayed over the patients and their families during this trying time. We also prayed for all of our colleagues around the world taking care of patients. It felt good to do this with some of my amazing co-workers. We could feel God's presence in the wind. Know that you are all covered in prayer," Gleaves wrote.
Jackson Health System in Miami also shared a photo of eight health care workers on a hospital roof, all kneeling in prayer. "This is how we started our morning today. Our team said a prayer, asking God for guidance and protection while we are at work, and to keep us and our families safe," said Danny Rodriguez, senior ER tech at Jackson South Medical Center. And in Georgia, a group stood on the roof of Cartersville Hospital, their palms outstretched toward the sky. Video of the line of workers was shared on Twitter and has gone viral.
A break for prayers and calmness is a small moment of reprieve for for health care workers — some of who are working long, grueling shifts. A photographer in Seattle captured a group of nurses from the University of Washington system taking a yoga break between drive-thru testing for coronavirus.
Another trend among health care professionals is to share the darker moments of their jobs and the challenges they are facing to raise awareness among the public. Many health care workers from around the globe have posted selfies of their exhausted faces, bruised and creased from their masks.
Several included personal stories about what it's like on the frontlines: "I'm afraid to go to work," Alessia Bonari, a nurse from Tuscany, Italy, wrote on Instagram. "I'm afraid because the mask may not adhere well to the face, or I may have accidentally touched myself with dirty gloves, or maybe the lenses do not completely cover my eyes and something may have passed."
A nurse from Iowa shared a similar experience: "I broke down and cried today. I cried of exhaustion, of defeat. Because after 4 years of being an ER nurse, I suddenly feel like I know nothing," Sydni Lane wrote in her long, emotional post, which went viral.
We pray for all or medical staff to be covered not just in their masks and gowns but God's covering, mercy and grace. In Psalm 91:4, we know God is merciful, "He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust". And, we rest in God. That's true faith and we can rest confidently in God.
Article shared via ABC News: At a time when countless Americans are relying on local heroes to stay safe, Greg Dailey and his family are stepping up. Dailey is a small business owner and newspaper delivery man in Mercer County, New Jersey. Virtually every day for the past 25 years, he's woken up at 4 a.m. to deliver newspapers to 800 homes in his community. But since the novel coronavirus shutdowns began, Dailey has been delivering more than newspapers -- he's delivering groceries, too. "These are unprecedented times and people still have to eat," said Dailey. "We're a big family that believes in helping each other."
The idea struck Dailey two weeks ago. Phyllis Ross, an 88-year-old customer on his paper route, asked if he could drop her newspaper closer to her garage to limit the amount of time she was outside. Then it hit him. "I went to the store and I thought to myself, 'How in the world is she going to get groceries,'" said Dailey. He called up Ross and asked if she needed any supplies from the store, which she took as a godsend. "We were absolutely floored when he called," said Ross. "At my age, I'm afraid to go into a store.”
Ross also asked on the call if he could pick up a few things for a neighbor across the street, which convinced Dailey there was a need in his community that someone had to fill. "If those two people live 100 feet from each other, what about the other 800 people I deliver to?" Dailey asked. The next day Dailey made the rounds as usual and added a personal note to each newspaper, offering to pick up groceries and household essentials free of charge for anyone who needed it. Before long, Dailey had more phone calls than he knew what to do with. "Within a few hours, it became clear the need was overwhelming," Dailey said.
It was all-hands-on-deck at the Dailey household. Daughter, Erin, 24, began organizing the orders into an Excel sheet. Dailey's wife, Cherlyn, 48, ordered items ahead to save time. Sons, Sean, 21, and Brian, 16, were enlisted to carry groceries. The Dailey clan began their task March 21 and, as of Wednesday, had delivered groceries to at least 52 homes in need. They normally spend seven hours each day compiling lists, shopping, disinfecting items and, most importantly, delivering.
"Everyone is so grateful," said Dailey. "It's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in my life. You can just feel the energy from folks when they open the door." The Daileys' hard work comes as a sign of the times as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spark fear in the hearts of many elderly Americans. People over the age of 65 are at particularly high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and should not leave their homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But at the same time, customers on Dailey's route explain how difficult it can be to follow those guidelines without relying on help from others. Joanne Maddox, 76, said she and her husband tried to order groceries online, and had a five-day wait until their order could be processed. Five days turned into six, then seven, until the company canceled their order altogether. "It's incredibly unreliable," Maddox said. "Greg has been a life saver."
We pray God blesses the Dailey family and all those that are helping to get deliveries to people in need. We pray God's covering, grace and protection over them. And, we rebuke the coronavirus. No weapons formed against us shall prosper. Keep reading your Bible (to hear from Father God, draw closer to Him) and do things that add value.
Story shared via ABC News: NEW YORK (WABC) -- Georgia doesn't mind... A photo of health care professionals from Georgia on their way to help with the coronavirus outbreak in New York is getting lots of love online. The photo shows dozens of people, some wearing masks and gloves, holding their hands in the shape of a heart aboard a Southwest flight. It had been shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter, with many comments praising the health care workers for their bravery.
An Atlanta ramp agent took the photo of the health care workers, other passengers, and flight crew before the plane pushed back from the gate on Friday, Southwest Airlines spokesman Derek K. Hubbard said on Sunday.
There were about 30 health care professionals including nurses, all from Atlanta-area hospitals, who were on the regularly scheduled flight to LaGuardia Airport, Hubbard said.
"These brave souls soldier on in the midst of tremendous risk and exposure, constantly putting the needs of others above their own," Southwest Airlines wrote in an Instagram post on Sunday. "Their selfless sacrifice is a beacon of light during such a dark time in our world, and no amount of gratitude and praise would ever be enough."
We pray for all medical professionals and ask God's mercy and covering over them. We rebuke the coronavirus. No weapons formed against us shall prosper.
Story Shared via ABC News: HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- When you're working long, stressful hours, and restaurants are closed, a food delivery can truly change your day. Steaks, sides and sanitizing wipes were dropped off at Memorial Hermann's Memorial City emergency room.
Houston strong has always been," said Taste of Texas owner Nina Hendee. "Now, we get to show the world how strong we are. We will make this work. We will make this work with a smile on our face." Taste of Texas is fortunate because after 42 years of business, the owners are financially able to keep all 206 employees at work for now. The kitchen is still busy as all servers are now delivery drivers, dropping off lunch.
The whole community is going through it together," said server Yoonmee Yi. "I know two or three years from now, we're going to look back and all be talking to each other like you remember 2020, remember what happened? We'll just talk about where we were when everything shut down."
With each delivery, there's a surprise. A roll of toilet paper brought many smiles to those in the emergency room.
Taste of Texas isn't the only restaurant filling a void. Other restaurants are leveraging supplies (toilet paper, hand sanitizer, wipes) to maintain operations.
Shared via ABC News: Even though schools are closed around the country due to novel coronavirus, some top teachers are still going the extra mile for their kids. Two fifth grade teachers at East Lake Elementary in Lakeville, Minnesota, spent hours visiting the homes of their students and writing encouraging messages in their driveways.
"We saw a teacher on Instagram, Hello Fifth, do this and we were inspired to do the same," Kristin Moore, one of the teachers, told "Good Morning America." She and Audrey Glogoza hit 60 driveways to let the kids know they were on their teachers' minds.
A Galveston community received an inspiring message of hope from Carnival Cruise lines. The cruise line suspended service temporarily amid the coronavirus outbreak. To inspire travelers and future guests, the ship's workers coordinated the lights to read, "We will be back" as they pulled out of the terminal.
Story Shared via GMA: Thousands of volunteers are stepping up across the country during the coronavirus pandemic, delivering supplies and helping the vulnerable. Family friends Liam Elkind, 20, a junior at Yale University and Simone Policano, 25, an actor, producer and Yale graduate, have come together in their city of New York, braving pharmacies and grocery stores to the old and at-risk. In just days, their new organization, Invisible Hands Deliver, has 2,700 volunteers.
"We completely did not expect this," Policano told "Good Morning America." "In this time where we are stuck in our homes, it's amazing to see young people wanting to help." Family friends Liam Elkind, 20, and Simone Policano, 25, have come together in their city of New York, braving pharmacies and grocery stores to the old and at-risk. Their organization, Invisible Hands Deliver, has 2,700 volunteers. Elkind and Policano launched a website where people can request medicine, food and supplies that will be shopped for and dropped off for free.
"When someone submits a request, we send a blast to everybody within the neighborhood: 'Who wants to take it?'" Elkind said. "They submit their address, order and preferred method of payment." Family friends Liam Elkind, 20, a junior at Yale University and Simone Policano, 25, an actor, producer and Yale graduate, have come together in their city of New York, braving pharmacies and grocery stores to the old and at-risk. Their organization, Invisible Hands Deliver, has 2,700 volunteers.
Volunteers make sure that when they help, they do so safely. "We call ahead and say, 'Hey, I'm outside the door.' They can slide their money under the door, and we'll place the groceries outside the door," Elking told "GMA." "These are the most vulnerable members of our community and we want to make sure we're keeping them safe."
Family friends Liam Elkind, 20, and Simone Policano, 25, have come together in their city of New York, braving pharmacies and grocery stores to the old and at-risk. Their organization, Invisible Hands Deliver, has 2,700 volunteers. Elkind and Policano have included a protocol sheet on their website, which automatically gets emailed to individuals who sign up to volunteer.
Volunteers are also asked to follow several safety guidelines including CDC-approved safety precautions such as:
Not only can people request item deliveries, but Invisible Hands also offers phone calls of encouragement to people longing for social connections. "I think providing them with [that] in this really uncertain and scary time is important as well," Elkind said.
Family friends Liam Elkind, 20, a junior at Yale University and Simone Policano, 25, an actor, producer and Yale graduate, have come together in their city of New York, braving pharmacies and grocery stores to the old and at-risk. Wyatt Hill, 18, a New York resident, has volunteered to deliver groceries, medication and flowers. "I delivered to a woman yesterday, and it was her birthday. Just the smile on her face when I arrived made my day," Hill told "GMA." "I'm a senior in high school, and my senior year has pretty much been canceled, which really bums me out, but helping people really does help."
Story Shared via ABC News: Staff members at a popular Houston restaurant received a massive $9,400 tip from a pair of loyal customers hoping to do their part amid the coronavirus crisis. The couple, who wish to remain anonymous, stopped by Irma’s Southwest restaurant Monday evening after hearing all dine-in service across the county would be closed until further notice beginning the following morning. After their meal, the generous tipsters signed their check with a note to "hold tip to pay your guys over the next few weeks."
An anonymous couple left a $9,400 tip at Irma's Southwest Restaurant to help staff during coronavirus. "Our staff was truly amazed and in awe of the gesture," said Louis Galvin, owner of Irma’s Southwest. "It was so unexpected and I know it will be a big help for our employees." The costumers left $1,900 in cash and an additional $7,500 on a credit card. The bill for their meal was $90.12. Galvin said the $9,400 hull will be split evenly among his 30 employees which amounts to a roughly $300 pay day for each person. "Our staff needed this to get them through another week," Galvin said.
It’s a welcome gesture from loyal customers at a time when restaurant staff members across the country are particularly vulnerable. According to the latest jobs report from business analytics firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.- over nine million hospitality workers' livelihood is at risk due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Restaurants like Irma’s Southwest have to make tough employment decisions as demand in their industry continues to plummet..
"All the money we’re bringing in goes to our staff members at the moment," Galvin said. "They’re our family and we want to keep our family above water as much as we can. But at the end of the day, there’s only so much we can do. We’re open for to-go orders only until further notice and we only get about 50 of those a day." Galvin added those 50 orders only generate enough labor for about six employees.
Story Shared via ABC News: As he starts his morning before the school bell rings, Principal Dr. Terrance Newton follows the same daily routine of checking his voicemails, his emails -- and how many haircut appointments he has lined up for the day. Yes, he has real appointments scheduled to style and groom the hair of his students at Warner Elementary School in Wilmington, Delaware. Newton, 45 -- known as Dr. Newton or simply Newt -- is a first-year principal at the school and immediately noticed the high suspension rate and an immense amount of behavioral write-ups.
He wanted to do something that would not only change students' behavior but create a bond between him and his "babies," as he calls them. With experience cutting hair prior to his new position, Newton said once he saw available space in the school, a light-bulb went off in his head to build a real barbershop onsite.
The shop is equipped with clippers, scissors, combs, grooming capes and Newton's barber apron, and many of the supplies were paid for from Newton's own pocket and donations from people around town. "Just like any barbershop, that's how we learn a lot, that's how we build relationships," Newton told "GMA." "Ninety percent of what I know in life I learned in the barbershop."
Newton said he learned life skills like communication, listening and proper etiquette -- such as respecting your elders -- at the barbershop growing up, and now he tries to pass those lessons on to his students. "Of course we would have barbershop talk like sports and politics, but as far as life-wise, when I would go to the barbershop, the conversations with me and my barber were about me staying out trouble, my grades and what's happening in the community," he said.
Once the shop opened, students would get called to the principal's office -- not because they were in trouble, but because it was time for their appointment. "I take care of my babies," Newton said. "It's about building that relationship and that bond with them, and I utilize that barbershop to do that, to build connections."
Those one-on-one relationships have also helped turn the school around; out-of-school suspensions at this time last year totaled 103. This year, that number is four. "Because I am in an inner-city school that has behavioral problems, academics are low, test scores are low, my ultimate goal is to turn this school around," he said. "And we are showing a lot of progress."
This progress is seen not only in the behavioral department, but the students are also progressing with their classmates, as kids who have never connected before chitchat with one another as they wait their turn. Some pick up a book to read. Others start conversations with Newton. "It's not 'Dr. Newton, my principal,' it's 'Newt, my mentor, my barber,'" he said. "This is just not a barbershop for me, this is my mentoring sanctuary."
Serving his students
Although the barbershop serves boys, Newton didn't forget about his other "babies" -- the girls of the school. "What we do is contract the outside agencies to do the girls' hair, because most women are very particular on who does their daughter's hair and what chemicals they use," he said. "If anyone needs their hair done, we will find a way to take care of them." Parents of the school have approved of Newton's mentoring skills after noticeable changes in their children's behavior. Kamisha Collins, 37 -- the mother of fifth-grader Brandon Ponzo, 11 -- praises Newton for helping her son.
"In the beginning of the school year, my son started off really rough and was not getting along with Dr. Newton, but now that they have built this bond -- he loves him to death," said Collins. "Dr. Newton speaks positive things to them while he's cutting their hair and it shows. His grades have gotten so much better." "It saves you money, which is awesome, and he's actually pretty good at it [cutting hair]," Collins said, adding she's noticed the differences in the school as two of her four children graduated and two remain enrolled. "I've seen a big change with school period, with the children," said Collins. "At first, there was a lot of bullying going on, but now, you don't really hear much about that. Everyone is getting along."
Collins' son Brandon is set to graduate this year, which is a bittersweet moment considering they want Newton to follow them to middle school. "My son tells me all the time that he wants to stay at Warner because Dr. Newton is there," said Collins. "But I tell him you'll be able to come back and visit him all the time."
Newton's passion for cutting his students' hair goes way back. Fifteen years ago, before he became a principal, he was a high school special education teacher. Given the nickname Newt because of his cool and down-to-earth personality, Newton said he had a strong relationship with a majority of his students, but one, in particular, was a bit estranged. The student became defiant, no longer wanted to follow the instructions in the classroom, and eventually stopped showing up to class. With a keen eye, the next time the student showed up to school, Newton pulled him to the side and asked what was going on.
To his surprise, this student was being bullied because of his haircut. "I never cut hair before, I am not a barber, but that day I just started playing with the clippers," said Newton. "And with me just cutting his hair, I was able to build a better relationship with him, his attitude changed, he came to school more and he was just overall a better person." Fast-forward to the present day and, hundreds of haircuts later, Newton said even though the barbershop is successful, he just wants that same success for his students.
"Am I a professional barber? No. Do I want to be a professional barber? No. I want to do whatever it takes to get my kids to come to school to learn and be successful," he said. Newton hopes the growth of the barbershop shows educators everywhere, specifically in inner-city communities, the value of wanting what is best for a child's future.
"What we have to do as educators, we have to come up with ideas, with a plan in place that will motivate our kids to want to be successful and we all have to be motivated, somehow, some way," said Newton. "And if I have to give my kids haircuts to be apart of that, for me to mentor them, for me to give them positive feedback for them to be successful, then that's what I'm going to do."
Story Shared via CBS News — Dan Peterson was late for his own memorial service – four years late. According to his brother, Jesse, Dan was ready to die back in 2016. "And some little girl, who was 4 years old, said, 'Hi, old person,'" Jesse said.
That little giver-of-life was Norah Wood. Norah met Dan during his darkest days. As CBS News first reported in November of 2016, Dan's wife had just died — he was severely depressed — and he was out grocery shopping for himself here in Augusta, Georgia, when Norah spotted him. She just randomly reached out to this total stranger. And then had the audacity to demand a hug.
"I said, 'A hug?!' I said, 'Absolutely!'" Dan said. Norah got her hug and then asked her mom, Tara, to take a picture of her with her new friend. "And his little lip quivered and he was teared up and it was just sweet," Tara said. "And I said, 'You don't know. This is the first time for quite a while that I've been this happy,'" Dan said.
After we first told this story, we thought for sure the love would fade, but Norah and Dan saw each other at least once a week. He was there for her kindergarten graduation and she was there to stroll his garden. And of course there were countless hugs along the way. "It was the first thing she did when we walked in," Tara said. "It was the last thing she did when we left." Norah visited with her sister Marigold the day before Dan died.
No story I've ever told has resonated as deeply as this one. Over the years, Dan got thousands of letters from around the world and now the condolences are pouring in for Norah. And you can't help but wonder why with so much else going on in the world. "I think it was just humanity at it's best: To love and to be loved," Tara said. A prescription for happiness that will get you through anything.
Story shared via ABC News: Eric Erdman is all about helping others, especially children. The 20-year-old Pennsylvania native founded the Give a Child a Voice foundation in 2016 shortly after being diagnosed with anaplastic ependymoma, a rare form of brain cancer. His foundation is not only dedicated to ending life-threatening childhood illnesses but also works to combat child abuse and bullying, two things Erdman experienced firsthand.
“When I got diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t want to focus on the bad times,” he told "GMA." “I wanted to go the route of being happy and joyful, and inspire people.” Erdman first shared his story with "GMA" in September 2019 and it was around that time that medical experts told him he had approximately five months to live. Putting no time to waste, he has spent the last several months continuing to grow Give a Child a Voice and empower youth. In his most recent philanthropic effort, he launched the Give a Child a Voice Fitness Center Giveaway, offering a school in need a brand-new fitness facility.
The contest drew the attention of hundreds of schools all over the world. “We had so many amazing submissions from schools,” he said. “We even had one from Australia, which was mind-blowing ... I couldn’t believe the amount of people that were in need.” After reviewing the submissions, the foundation was announced on Feb. 20 that Life School Oak Cliff in Dallas would be the recipient of the new fitness facility.
A recent shooting in the community and a student’s death by suicide stood out as reasons why Erdman thought the school would benefit from a fitness center. “I’m so happy that they are the winners,” he said. Erdman was unable to be at the announcement because of medical appointments, but he visited Life School Oak Cliff in January of this year, where he was welcomed with open arms by the students and faculty.
Story shared via ABC News: WEST WARWICK, R.I. -- A doorbell camera captured a 2-year-old hugging a pizza delivery man -- and later, the boy's mom found out his simple act of kindness was a "blessing" for the stranger, whose daughter recently passed away. Lindsey Sheely said she ordered a pizza to her Rhode Island home Saturday night. After the delivery driver, Ryan Catterson, said his goodbyes, her young son Cohen chased after him and gave him a hug.
"Enjoy your pizza!" Catterson is heard saying in the video, and the 2-year-old blows kisses as Catterson walks back to his car. Sheely shared the sweet moment on Facebook to give others a laugh and "warm your hearts." Somehow, the video made its way to Catterson, and that's how Sheely found out his 16-year-old daughter died suddenly last week. She called little Cohen's hug a "blessing from God."
"I believe in divine appointments and know that Ryan was the one to deliver our pizza for a reason," she posted to Facebook. Catterson told WLNE-TV the road ahead will be tough, as he'll never be able to hug his daughter again. "After losing my daughter this past week, it touched me because it was like she was there," he said. "It really just meant a lot to me." Sheely's post also included a link to a GoFundMe page created to cover the 16-year-old's funeral expenses.
Story shared via GMA: Valentine's Day is the perfect time to do good deeds all in the name of love, and a group of Washington, D.C.-based children did just that for homebound seniors. Leading up to Feb. 14, the Department of Aging and Community Living partnered with more than 25 District of Columbia Public Schools and Public Charter Schools to deliver charming handmade cards to elder residents who may have limited mobility.
More than 1,700 personal notes have been delivered in addition to warm hugs and smiles from students. Students from Charles Hart Middle School surprised the seniors at Colony House, a senior home in Washington, D.C., with personalized valentines on Feb. 13, 2019. This is the fourth year the Cupid's Kids Campaign has had students volunteer to dedicate their time in this way.
DC Department of Aging and Community Living Director Laura Newland told "Good Morning America" that "Mayor Muriel Bowser is laser-focused on combating senior isolation in the District. It's something she's been passionate about since the start of her administration." She continued: "Programs like Cupids Kids are helping us bring our younger generations into this conversation and teaching them about how they can be a part of the solution. We're proud to provide an introduction that will hopefully create lasting and impactful connections."
Students from Charles Hart Middle School surprised the seniors at Colony House, a senior home in Washington, D.C., with personalized valentines on Feb. 13, 2019. On Thursday, Newland and students from Charles Hart Middle School surprised seniors from Colony House, a senior home in northwest Washington, D.C., with personalized Valentine's. Kaevon Jefferson, 11, from Ida B. Wells Middle School, created a card that read "Roses are red, violets are blue. I have a big heart -- I hope you do too." Another participating student, Pedro Figuero's card says "Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope this card can make you happy. I thought about my Grandma when I made this card."
Students from Charles Hart Middle School surprised the seniors at Colony House, a senior home in Washington, D.C., with personalized valentines on Feb. 13, 2019. The students's efforts haven't gone unnoticed. "I just think it's really nice, them giving back to the older people for everything that they've taught us as a youth, and for teaching young kids that they're able to give back and support those -- the elderly -- and let them know that they're not forgotten because they are older," Principal Shirvon Smith of Apple Tree Schools -- Lincoln Park, a participating school, told "GMA."
After being visited by the students this week, Dorothy Waltower, 83, from the Colony House said, "Is this a family gathering? This sure is a surprise. Bless you all." With each Valentine's Day card, seniors also received a blank "Thank You" and a postage-paid envelope addressed to the schools to encourage ongoing connections with students.
Story shared via CBS News: A police sergeant in Waynesboro, Georgia, is being hailed as a hero after a newly released body camera video shows him saving a baby who couldn't breathe. Harold Drummond jumped into action when he saw 6-month-old AJ Sherrod outside a Dollar General store last month. "When I looked down at that baby AJ, I looked down into my son's face. I looked down into my grandson's face" Drummond told CBS News.
His knowledge of two-finger infant CPR saved AJ, who was suffering from a respiratory infection. AJ's family was headed to a children's hospital on January 18 when he stopped breathing, so they pulled over to call 911, CBS affiliate WRDW-TV reported.
AJ's mother, Angel Collins, said Drummond was in the right place at the right time. "He allowed God to use him to help us save the baby," she told CBS News.
Drummond told WRDW he was "extremely nervous" and would "prefer to look down the barrel of a gun than to look down at a baby in distress." Collins said the "what-ifs" are unimaginable and life would be unthinkable without one of her twins. Even Drummond got choked up when he thought about what could have happened. "It's hard," he said. "This is what we do. You know, a lot of people don't realize that we're human also."
Story shared via CBS News: Toledo, Ohio — When a group of high school seniors gathered for what was billed as "the surprise of a lifetime," they were greeted by a man they'd never seen — to tell them something they'd never forget.
Pete Kadens, a wealthy businessman who grew up in Toledo, Ohio, said it was time to give back. I met with him at the Renaissance Hotel before his big announcement. "I think that Toledo could be one of the most equitable middle-market communities in this country," Pete said. "And so if you want to make a big difference, you go to the epicenter of inequity."
Scott High School has some of the most disadvantaged students in the state. But the school is still rich with dreams, and kids like senior Chris Rowland would love to go to college but can't afford it. Last fall, Chris' mom lost her job, and his dad died in a house fire. "My dad was the closest person I had in my life," Chris said. Fortunately, unbeknownst to Chris, a path to a brighter future was about to find him.
"If you're sitting here in this room today, as a soon-to-be graduating senior, tuition, room and board, books and fees will be paid for you will go to college for free," Pete announced. That wasn't the only gift Pete came bearing. Because poverty is an inter-generational problem, and because he is determined to snuff it out in this community, he offered each kid a study partner.
"So, too, can one of your parents go to college or trade school for free," he said. Chris' mom, Abena, said she always wanted to be a school counselor. Altogether, this could cost Pete up to $3 million. Now he's fired up to get others to pitch in to expand the program to every public school in Toledo.
Learn more about H.O.P.E. Toledo, the initiative started by Pete Kadens.
Father God in Jesus name, please bless Pete Kadens and others like him that give back. Please open doors for them and make the way. We also pray for the students, Lord. Please cover each and everyone and help them pursue their studies and have successful careers, resources and all the tools they need to succeed, in Jesus's name, Amen.
Story shared via CBS News: When a Maryland toddler went missing for nearly 10 hours, it was God that helped him get home. That's according to the postal worker who found the 2-year-old boy walking barefoot along a highway. U.S. Postal Service employee Keith Rollins found the boy on I-95 on Thursday morning — wet, shivering and barefoot. He had been missing since Wednesday night, CBS affiliate WUSA reports.
"It was God-ordained that I be in that place at that time," Rollins told WUSA. "Remarkable, man, remarkable." The little boy, Ethan Adeyemi, ran away from family members outside his home in Elkridge, Maryland, Howard County police said. Ethan followed an adult outside of the house then disappeared around 10:20 p.m. The family contacted police, who immediately started a search with fire personnel, K9 units, drones, aircraft and helicopters from neighboring departments. Neighbors also began canvasing the area, the family said. But it was a stranger, who didn't even know the boy was missing, who ended up finding him.
Rollins was driving on I-95 around 8 a.m. Thursday morning when he noticed something unusual, WUSA reports. "I happened to see a little head," Rollins said. "I didn't know whether it was a human head or whether it was an animal, so I pulled over and called 911." He got out of his car and cautiously approached what turned out to be the 2-year-old boy. Rollins said the child was "shivering."
"He only had a pair of sweatpants and sweatshirt, no shoes or socks, so I walked up to him. I said, 'Hey buddy. How you doing? What's your name? Are you OK?' He looked at me, but I didn't get a response from him," Rollins said. Police later told him the boy is believed to be on the autism spectrum and is currently non-verbal. Ethan has yet to be diagnosed because of his young age, but he claps in response to his name, police said.
Rollins knows kids well — he's a grandfather to a little girl not too much older than Ethan. He knew he had to do something. "Once I didn't get a response from him, I decided to just scoop him up, and I took him to my vehicle," he said. "I had a sweater that I tried to cover him up with, and turned up the heat and I called the police back and said that I had the little boy in my vehicle, and within a matter of minutes, the police were there." The child was taken to the hospital when police arrived and he was treated for hypothermia, his family said. He was home on Thursday night and doing well, an uncle told WUSA. Many are now praising Rollins as the hero who saved the day — but he doesn't see it that way. "Giving glory to God that I was able to help at that particular time and be in the correct place at the right time," he said. "But a hero? Nah, not at all."
Story shared via ABC News: A delivery driver's good deed is being shared with the world, thanks to a doorbell camera. A FedEx driver delivering in Michigan's Upper Peninsula was dropping off a package for Jodi LaFreniere at her Manistique home Thursday morning. LaFreniere, a kindergarten teacher, told CNN she was at school when she got an alert on her phone from her doorbell camera.
"I was wondering who was at my house since my fiance was away in Alaska, teaching," she said. When she went to look at the alert, she saw the FedEx delivery driver shoveling the snow on her front porch. In the video, the driver can be seen carrying LaFreniere's package to her front door but stops in his tracks once he takes a look at the snow covering the floor of the porch. Within seconds, he puts the package down and grabbing a shovel near the front door, begins clearing a pathway without any hesitation.
LaFreniere hadn't spoken to the delivery driver but said her fiance, Rodney Riesland, has chatted with him a lot because he's usually home when deliveries are made. She said Riesland says the driver -- Melvin J. Marlett -- is a great guy. Marlett has been working for FedEx for 23 years. Through a friend on Facebook, LaFreniere said she was able to thank Marlett for his kindness. FedEx took notice of Marlett's actions and contacted LaFreniere via Facebook to ask if they could share her story.
"FedEx is proud of the many contributions our team members make to the communities we serve every day," FedEx spokesperson Heather Wilson told CNN. "We commend our courier, Mel Marlett, who went above and beyond to help shovel snow for our customer while making a delivery." Marlett told CNN this is something he saw as routine. "I would hope it's something that anybody would have done," Marlett said. "If you take care of your customers, they take care of you." LaFreniere said she got the doorbell mostly for security.
"Since we live in a remote area, our driveway is a half mile long so for delivery people it's quite the drive to get to our house." LaFreniere said she hopes Marlett gets some special recognition from FedEx for his act of kindness. "Although we see many acts of kindness in the Upper Peninsula, it was still surprising to see that he went the extra step," she said. "I shared it with my coworkers immediately because I couldn't believe it. It made my day."
Story shared via News Channel 8: FLINT-SAGINAW-BAY, MI (WNEM/CNN) — It’s one of those situations you hear about and ask yourself, “What would I do if that happened to me?” A man in Michigan had that moment after he bought a couch from a thrift store. Howard Kirby likes to shop at the Habitat For Humanity ReStore in Owosso, Michigan.
Story shared via ABC News: A 3-year-old boy bowing his head in prayer during school lunchtime is taking the Internet by storm. On Jan. 7, Makhi Martin led teacher Mrs. James and classmates as they gave thanks for their food. Mom Ranisha Martin captured the sweet moment on video and shared it on Facebook, where it was viewed by millions.
Martin told "GMA" it was the first time she's ever heard her son pray so clearly at his Christian school, in St. Louis.
"I was very shocked," Martin said, adding that she was at school that day for Makhi's birthday celebration. "[I think] people were touched to see a little kid praying."
As mom recorded, Makhi asked for the food -- not to mention him and friends -- to be blessed. "Bless all the boys and girls," he can be heard saying in the clip. "All over the world." While Martin and her husband Darnell were impressed that Makhi memorized the prayer, Martin said it's consistent with his "great personality."
"He's very smart," she added. "He's obsessed with dinosaurs. He can name all the dinosaurs and something special about them. He can tell you his birthday, his mom and dad's names, where he lives ... he can tell you everything." When he's not praying at school, Makhi is looking forward to being a big brother in July.
Story shared via Fox News: An Alabama family's house burned to the ground the day after Christmas but they are grateful for life and faith after a few items managed to survive -- including the family's Bible. Ashlee Pham, 23, from Steele, told Fox News her mom and 13-year-old brother were cleaning their bedrooms when they heard a strange knock on the door. When he saw part of the ceiling fall engulfed in high flames, he yelled for his mom and they managed to get out with their cat and piglet.
"If they would have not got out when they did, they could have been trapped," Pham said. "Some say that knock on the door was an angel watching over them or God. God was definitely with them when it happened."
"I am weary, God," it reads. "But I can prevail." A GoFundMe page titled, "Help get get a new home," [sic] set up by Ashlee Pham was started last week to help raise money for a new place to live with a goal of $5,000.
Story shared via CNN: JOHNSON COUNTY, Iowa — Linda Herring always wanted a big family. But she never imagined that she would foster more than 600 children and turn her home into a safe haven where every child was given shelter, food, clothing, and most importantly, endless amounts of love.
Now 75 years old, Herring has been fostering children for nearly five decades in Johnson County, Iowa. Herring and her husband, Bob, began fostering when they lived in Oxford, Iowa, and continued to do so after they moved to Tiffin. “My best friend was doing foster care for teenage girls and I thought, ‘Well, that would be nice to do the same,’ but I wanted little kids,” Herring told CNN. “So, I talked to the Department of Human Services and agreed to take kids with medical needs.” As a foster mom, Herring ran a home daycare for local families and worked as a night custodian in a nearby high school. If that wasn’t enough, she also volunteered as a first responder for nearly 50 years.
Herring was known by everyone in Johnson County for never turning away a child, no matter their age, gender, or special needs, and would regularly travel to pick up foster children who needed a home. Herring is not just a foster mom. For her eight children, three of which were foster children she and Bob adopted, she was just “Mom.” One of those children is 39-year-old Anthony Herring. He was 6 months old when he was placed in the Herring household. When he was 3 years old, the Herring family officially adopted him. “I appreciate being adopted even more today as a parent then I did when I was a child,” Anthony Herring told CNN. “I’m forever grateful for the life I was given. She and Dad have both taught me that family isn’t determined by blood, it’s who you have in your life to love.” He said that his mom taught him how to appreciate and understand children with special needs.
Linda Herring holds the resolution from the Johnson County Board of Supervisors honoring her for fostering more than 600 children. Two of Herring’s adopted foster children have severe medical and special needs. One of them, Dani, is fully dependent on others for care. While Dani wasn’t expected to live long after her birth, she is now 29 years old. Herring passed on what she likes to call her “foster care trait.” Four of her biological children have fostered children, and three of them followed their parents’ footsteps and adopted kids of their own. Three of her grandchildren fostered children as well. “It’s hard to say in words her impact. She was always available and ready for a child in need. These kids were usually taken from a traumatic situation and she’d take them in, provide a warm bed, clean clothes, warm meals, and love,” Anthony said.
“She also worked hard to keep families together. Keeping siblings together. Helping biological parents make the changes needed to be able to keep their children. She always makes sure a new child in her home was given a professional photograph that was placed on the wall in the living room. That seems like a small thing, but it helps them feel like they’re at home.” When it comes to Herring’s inspiration to foster children, she had one explanation: love. “I would just love (my foster kids) just like they were my own, probably more than I should,” Herring said. “I cried when the kids would leave my home, no matter how long they had been there. It was so hard for me to say goodbye to them. I always questioned, ‘Why do I keep doing this?’ because it was never easy to say goodbye to a child. But I kept doing it because I had so much love to give to these children in need.” Herring carries with her memories of each child that she has protected and loved. Once, she said, she was called in by DHS in the middle of the night to pick up three young children who had been abandoned.
Another memory is the look on the face of a young girl she fostered when she saw her brand-new clothes, the first new clothes the little girl said she was ever given. While Herring’s time as a foster parent is over, she enjoys the photos and cards she receives from the children she fostered after they’ve been adopted. Her favorite part is when her foster children come back to visit after they’ve grown up. Herring’s impact as a foster mom went beyond the children she took in. Tonya Stratton, whose mother was one of Herring’s foster children, grew up calling Herring “Grama Linda” and spending her childhood making friends with Herring’s foster kids.
“Grama Linda, it’s now your time to relax, but first you must learn the definition of that and then learn to sit without rocking, learn to appreciate quiet, no more piles and piles of laundry to fold, groceries to buy, diapers to change,” Stratton said in a Facebook tribute to Herring. “It’s your time now to rest, go through your memories, put your feet up or take a nap and try to understand how incredibly worthy you are to do whatever the hell you want.”
In October 2019, Herring chose to stop fostering children due to health concerns, her granddaughter, Amber Herring, told CNN. After announcing her decision to stop, Herring was honored by the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, with a resolution of appreciation on Thursday. “The Department of Human Services would call Linda in the middle of the night to take a child, and she would meet anywhere to get a child,” the resolution said in recognition of Herring’s efforts. “Linda mostly fostered young children with special medical needs and kept bins of clothes in her garage, stacked to the ceiling, labeled by size and gender. No one had to worry about a child going without clothes at Linda’s, even if they arrived with nothing but what they’re wearing.”