Here are five uplifting news stories you may have missed this week. Happy weekend.
As the grand finale to a sermon series about generosity, Sycamore Creek Church in Ohio ordered a pizza, then took up an offering to give to the woman who delivered the pizza. The congregation gathered more than $1,000, which the pastor then presented along with the $5.99 for the pizza.
It was a generous gesture, but the church probably hadn’t counted on just how big of an impact the gift would have. It turned out that the pizza delivery woman, Natasha Boyer, was a single mom who was under threat of eviction because she hadn’t been able to pay her rent after being hospitalized with pneumonia. The amount she needed: right around $1,000.
“I was trying to come up with a way to get almost $1,000 to try and figure out how to keep my home so I didn’t lose my job,” Boyer told The Washington Post. “My prayers were literally answered in a matter of hours.
“It definitely opened my eyes up that there are still good people in the world. I’ve been bitter about humanity in general … maybe I need to start going to church. Maybe this is something, God was trying to open my eyes.”
For years, DeAngelo Williams has been involved in raising awareness and funds to fight breast cancer. In 2009, the Pittsburgh Steelers running back led the push for the NFL to allow players to wear pink cleats and accessories throughout October. DeAngelo has lost four aunts to breast cancer, and last year, he lost his mother. The NFL recently denied his request to wear pink cleats year round, but Williams has found another way to help fight cancer. For the second year running, Williams is paying for mammograms for 53 women in need (his mother was 53 when she died). Last year, he teamed up with cancer screening centers in Charlotte, North Carolina, but this year, he’s expanding the program to Tennessee and Pennsylvania, as well.
Good Grocer, a store in Minneapolis, has launched a different sort of membership program, one the owner, Kurt Vickman, hopes can make healthy food more affordable for low-income residents. Members sign up to volunteer two and a half hours a month doing everything from bagging and stocking to fixing or painting things around the store. In return, they get a 25 percent discount. Good Grocer provides free childcare for volunteers and customers every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The program already has almost 400 members.
“We want to provide dignity where people are contributors,” Vickman told a local newspaper. “We want to offer, not a hand out, but a hand up.”
A woman showed up to the Noor Islamic Cultural Centre in Columbus, Ohio last weekend determined to protest, even though she was the only protester who came. However, instead of just being ignored, she was met by a group from the mosque who walked out to talk to her about her concerns about Islam. One muslim woman, Cynthia DeBoutinkhar, even asked the protester if she could give her a hug. The resulting image of the embrace has gone viral online.
“I felt her body go from tense to soft and I asked her to please come inside with me. She was actually AFRAID!” DeBoutinkhar wrote on Facebook. “I asked if I look scary to her. She said I didn’t. I promised her I’d stay right by her side the whole time.”
The members of the mosque applauded the protester when she came inside, then gave her a tour and talked to her for almost two hours. She left with a copy of the Quran—and without her protest signs.
It’s a great example of what it can look like to reach out in love, even to people with whom you disagree.
This week, Wes Anderson announced that his latest project will be a stop-motion movie about dogs—in a similar style to his 2009 family comedy Fantastic Mr. Fox. A few of Anderson’s go-to actors, including Jeff Goldblum and Edward Norton, are already on board to provide voices, along with Bryan Cranston. From what we’ve seen of Anderson lately, this can only be good news.
General Mills has heard our cries and is releasing a limited-edition marshmallow only version of Lucky Charms. Your childhood dreams are coming true! But unfortunately, the cereal company is only releasing 10 boxes of the cavity-inducing cereal. You can learn how to win one via this bizarre video.
Dargan is a former RELEVANT editor turned freelancer. Find her online at darganthompson.com or follow her extremely random train of thought on Twitter @darganthompson.