Hardly is it the case that sheer fate can turn a person’s life around. But after a rare thrift store find sent two high school students to university, it seemed no one was taking any chances. California native Loren Krytzer struck gold when he auctioned an heirloom blanket for $1.5 million.
“It was just hard to grasp,” [Krytzer] says. “I mean, I worked hard my whole life. I was in construction, I never bought anything, I never saved, I always rented. I bought used cars cause that’s all I could afford. I lived paycheck to paycheck my whole life.”
The former carpenter and amputee was living on $200 a month with the help of disability funding. Krytzer only realized the blanket’s worth after stumbling upon a television special featuring variations of the item. With the help of auctioneer Jeff Moran, Krytzer saw to it that his bank account would receive a healthy refill.
“I firmly believe I’m here because years ago I turned my life around,” he says. “The things I’ve been through, I tell people it’s a strong faith and a strong mind. Without those things you’re not going to make it.”
Don’t get me wrong–hard work still remains the true catalyst of success. But a little bit of luck does taste pretty sweet.
Let’s be real — the notion that our children know nothing about the value of money is a myth. Kids across the nation have donated their savings to disaster victims and the deaf community, among other groups. Next to climb on board the donation train is Sidney Fahrenbruch. The 4-year-old pledged her entire piggy bank to help a policeman with cancer.
“It all started about two years ago when she saw an officer directing traffic. It was hot outside and she said, ‘He looks thirsty; he needs water,’ and she brought him a bottle of water,’” [said Sidney’s mother Megan.]
Sidney, an avid fan of the Longmont Police Department, donated $9 to Officer Kyle Zulauf. The army vet was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015. A regular at the precinct delivering cookies and candies, Sidney has surely done her mother proud.
“It feels good that she’s so giving. She wanted to save the money for a toy but decided someone needed it more than her,” said Fahrenbruch.
When Barbies and Nerf guns are all the craze at age 4, I can say with certainty that Sidney is doing pretty darn well.
In a new age of technology, tradition is becoming outdated. Still, small, independent groups are attempting to keep bits of history alive. Just recently, students from a Hong Kong university paid tribute to bamboo weaving in Peitian. The project proved impactful but modest, whereas other communities are taking a more urgent approach. To keep afloat, the Swiss village of Albinen is offering potential residents up to £50,000 to migrate in.
The council will soon be voting on the new initiative, which aims to repopulate a community that has dwindled to just 240 residents.
Like with all attractive propositions, the move comes with a catch — several of them. Takers must be below the age of 45 and live in a 200,000-franc residence for at least 10 years. You’ll also need to learn German. And while you may still be salivating over the promise of a hefty check, there is little to do in Albinen.
There’s little going on in the town’s centre, save for its narrow cobbled turns, centuries-old houses, a church and a shop.
That being said, with good company and a zest for the outdoors, Albinen may be the place for you.
In the midst of tragedy and political turmoil, we tend to forget that good samaritans exist everywhere. Whether they’re fixing a busted tooth for free or sheltering dozens from a storm, the goal is always kindness. Some do-gooders have next to nothing, and expect only a simple thanks for their selfless acts. When homeless Connecticut native Elmer Alvarez returned a $10,000 check to realtor Roberta Hoskie, he anticipated just that. However, the New Haven business owner refused to let the deed simply pass, rewarding Alvarez with a scholarship, job counseling, and housing.
“What I did, finding that check and returning it, I would do it all over again,” [Alvarez] said.
Hoskie admitted she felt deeply for Alvarez, having once been homeless herself. She also arranged for him to learn English as a second language. Seemingly too good to be true, the favors came only with a simple catch.
“When you get on your feet, you go ahead and you do it for the next person and the next person and the next person and the next person,” [Hoskie] said.
It’s random acts of kindness that start chain reactions. All we need to do is keep the ball rolling.
Charity vending machines in Nottingham and Salt Lake are indubitably the beginning of a giving revolution. Now that consumers can donate food, clothing, and even cattle with the push of a button, the trend is taking flight in various other forms. Plagued by homelessness, Los Angeles is giving back to its transients via charity meters.
All six of the meters will be located in Downtown Los Angeles, and revenue will go toward the Skid Row-based C3 program, a cooperation between the city, county, and local service providers that provides outreach to homeless residents and helps them find housing.
Sure, parking meters aren’t a particularly welcoming machine, but the principle behind these ones is. Alongside cash donations, sponsors will also generate as much as $3,500 a year.
The meters look similar to ones already up-and-running in Pasadena: virtually identical to a run-of-the-mill parking meter, but colored bright orange and set back from the street to avoid confusion about their purpose. Donations can be made using both coins and credit cards.
The machines, sporting a bright yellow smiling emoji help donors avoid panhandling. With four more yet to rise across the city, hopefully other states catch onto the meter fever.
In places like New York, educational institutions are becoming less restrictive towards low-income families. This is so much so that children are now enjoying free lunches to ease financial burdens and prevent bullying. But the fact remains — many continue to struggle with other expenses such as tuition fees and school materials. Realizing the sheer significance of free knowledge, L.A. County has waived library fees for readers under 21.
“When charges accrue on a young person’s account, generally, they don’t pay the charges and they don’t use the card,” [library administrator Darcy] Hastings said. “A few dollars on their accounts means they stop using library services.”
As past fines persist, the county is also offering a “Read Away” service for young bookworms. Simply by picking out a novel to digest for an afternoon, students can eliminate fees at $5 an hour.
“You tell them you’ll read and they’ll sign you in and you start,” said Leilany, a fifth-grader at Morris K. Hamasaki Elementary in East L.A. “When your head starts losing the book you can stop reading and they tell you how much money they took away.”
Reading for fun and paying off debts? Sounds like a win-win for literature lovers looking to knock off a couple of bucks!
While it isn’t everything, money can certainly get a person on their feet. When Kate McClure raised $227,000 for a homeless veteran, income inequality became more evident than ever. Now approaching it head-on, Cards Against Humanity gave $1,000 to 100 people in need.
“Giving 100 people $1,000 doesn’t fix wealth inequality,” the game’s website reads. “But we think these stories are a clear demonstration of how much $1,000 means to someone struggling to pay for basic necessities.”
The experiment called for 150,000 netizens to sign up, redistributing funds to the less economically fortunate. Testimonials claimed the money would go to anything from Christmas gifts to paying off student loans.
Most Americans can’t come up with $400 in an emergency, and one in five American households have zero or negative wealth,” Cards Against Humanity explains on its website.
To some, $1,000 may be just another paycheck. To others, it might mean the world.
With bee populations at risk, moves to ban pesticides and upgrade beekeeping technology are on the rise. Still, in spite of such grand efforts, trouble loomed over Wild Hill Honey. Vandals ransacked the business of $50,000 in damage, unrecoverable — at least until the community stepped in.
“Some vandals came up and they destroyed all of our beehives and most of our beekeeping equipment. They tried to batter their way into our shed but eventually they piled some stuff up and went in through the window,” says [owner Justin] Engelhardt.
Legally, bees can’t be insured, and repairs are covered by personal expenses. But, in just a few days, neighbors raised $35,000 for the Engelhardts — over half of what was needed. Even better, police easily secured a lead.
“The police response was fantastic. We called and they came right away and they dusted for fingerprints at the shed, and there are some footprints that they’re using to try to further the investigation and hopefully that leads somewhere,” says Engelhardt.
Thanks to the donors, Wild Hill Honey will resume operations in the spring. A buzzing little heart sure does go a long way!
Puerto Rico’s recovery has been slow-moving, but the outpouring of helping hands has remained on the rise. Donors across the globe are raffling items for funds and pledging hoarded supplies to get people on their feet. While the devastated country is slipping from headlines, some, like Jayden Perez, refuse to give up. To help Puerto Rican kids, the 8-year-old is collecting toys, and has scored over a thousand in just two weeks.
Kids lost a lot of their toys, and now they don’t have any,” Jayden tells the camera [in a Facebook post]. “So can you donate one toy, from the bottom of my heart and the bottom of your heart?”
According to Perez’s mother Ana Rosado, the family has also raised a sum of more than $6,000. Describing the selfless act as holiday cheer may now be an understatement.
“I think it’s a great experience for Jayden to see what these kids have gone through and the smile that he’s going to bring to them when he gives them the toys,” Rosado said.
The family will venture out onto the island to personally distribute the toys. Santa better watch out — there’s a new one in town!
When soldiers become veterans, heroism often wanes. However, a few special groups, such as Semper K9 Assistance Dogs, are giving back to deserving warriors. Yearning to thank his WWII rescuers, Holocaust survivor Bernard Darty is donating $1 million to American veterans.
“It’s one of the biggest donations we’ve ever gotten and will be hugely impactful,” said Michael Linnington, chief executive officer of the Wounded Warrior Project. “He feels an enormous sense of gratitude for our service members.”
Darty was 10-years-old when he went into hiding in Savigny-sur-Orge. Moved by American troops participating in rescue missions for hurricane victims, Darty felt it was his duty to make the pledge.
“First, Americans saved us, and then 50 years later they welcomed us,” he said.
While the current state of the U.S. is turbulent, Darty wants only to highlight its true heroes. In this day and age, they could use a break.