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Feb 10, 2021 Read in Browser

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Sometimes, the spark of innovation cannot ignite with knowledge and talent alone. What often enables creativity to take on a soaring spirit is the untapped power of serving a greater interconnection. The past year of pandemic has only made this more evident. From a Guatemalan who has biked 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) to deliver books and feed children to a 10-year-old who spent a frigid afternoon cleaning snow off healthcare workers' cars for the joy of easing their drive home, to a Kenyan engineer's inventive solution for plastic waste -- this week's stories unleash the tidal waves of ingenuity that surge from a simple instinct to care.

EVERYDAY HEROES

Guatemalan Feeds Kids With Book-for-Food Exchanges By Bike

Guatemalan Feeds Kids With Book-for-Food Exchanges By Bike

Henning Sac | AP. Audio: Listen Here.

In Guatemala, Bonifaz Díaz cycled through the city of Quetzaltenango to deliver a sociology book to the home of a local teacher. "He pedaled away with four brightly colored bags of Incaparina, a popular cereal mix" that will help feed a family in Guatemala's Western Highlands region for one month," reported The Associated Press. Before the pandemic, child malnutrition had its worst rate in Guatemala. During the pandemic, that rate has only gotten more dire. According to the World Bank, nearly half of the country's Western Highlands population suffers from chronic malnutrition. In a creative effort to feed them, Díaz has cycled more than 1,200 miles (2,000 km) throughout the pandemic, delivering donated books to readers in exchange for several bags of Incaparina. The avid cyclist and 44-year-old actor even tows a small cart when needed, to deliver as many books as possible to nearby towns. The books-for-food program supports people to read while staying at home to curb the pandemic spread, while also providing food and nutrition for those hard-hit by economic downfalls. One pound of Incaparina provides 24 servings, which costs 9 quetzales ($1.15) -- an amount that's out of budget for many families that the nonprofit, 32 Volcanoes, serves. Almost one year after the books-for-food program began, two more cyclists have joined Díaz, and donations of books and artwork for bartering to different kinds of nutrient-rich foods like amaranth grain have poured in. "Seeing children are less scared, that they play more ... that is where we can get results," said 32 Volcanoes founder Dr. Carmen Benítez. Read Full Story.

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YOUTH

Boy And His Friend Clean Snow Off Cars Of Hospital Staff To Say 'Thank You'

Boy And His Friend Clean Snow Off Cars Of Hospital Staff To Say 'Thank You'

WBALTV 11. Audio: Listen Here.

In Rhode Island during a howling snowstorm on February 1, 10-year-old Christian Stone and his mom's friend, Abbey Meeker, headed to the parking lot of Westerly Hospital. While most people would stay indoors, the two began cleaning snow off the cars of hospital workers. "I was thinking they've been helping us a lot through this whole pandemic, and I figured why don't we help them, you know?" Christian said. "All day, every day the nurses here, they deal with the pandemic like Covid, and they want to get home from work, so we thought we would make it a tiny bit easier for them by cleaning off their cars for them." Starting at 2 p.m., the two cleared about 80 cars of snow and ice. "It's been cold but extremely fun seeing how happy they get," Christian described. Some hospital staff even offered to pay for their service, but they kindly refused. "We just said, 'We're doing this for you guys because you're here for us," Meeker said. "I feel like I actually helped someone out, and that's a really good feeling -- when you know someone has been helped out. We want them to be able to go home and see their family after a long day of work," Christian described. Read Full Story.

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ELDERS

Capt. Tom Moore's Legacy Lives In 11-Year-Old

Capt. Tom Moore's Legacy Lives In 11-Year-Old

Karl Papworth-Heidel | AP. Audio: Listen Here.

When the United Kingdom's beloved centenarian, Captain Tom Moore passed away of Covid-19 on February 2, 2021, it was clear that his act of helping others has sparked that quality in so many others. One such person is Imogen Papworth-Heidel, an 11-year-old soccer player who dreams of playing for England one day. When she watched Capt. Tom walk up and down his garden with his walker to raise money for the National Health Service, she found herself moved to take action herself. Through "keepy uppies" -- the act of kicking the soccer ball into the air and passing it from one foot to the other without letting it touch the ground -- Imogen raised 15,000 pounds ($20,500) for key workers ranging from hospital personnel to train operators during the coronavirus lockdown. She decided to complete 7.1 million passes of the ball -- one for each key worker in the UK. Capt Tom Moore's legacy continues to inspire all walks to life to do whatever small things they can to help others -- for "the young it's never too soon to start, and the old... it's never too late," writes The Associated Press. Read Full Story.

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COMMUNITY

Chicago Restaurant Owner Helps Tamale Vendors By Buying Out Their Supply

Chicago Restaurant Owner Helps Tamale Vendors By Buying Out Their Supply

Alexas Photos | Pexels. Audio: Listen Here.

A restaurant owner in the Chicago area, Robert Magiet, is making a difference in his community by buying up the stock of local tamale vendors. It started on a cold day, when Magiet saw a woman outside selling tamales who looked like she was dressed for Antarctica. He asked if he bought all of her tamales, would she go home and get out of the cold. She said, “Yes, absolutely,” and that was the start of Magiet’s mission. This is a win-win-win proposition: The tamale vendors get to go home and get out of the cold, and Magiet donates the tamales to friendly fridges, homeless encampments or shelters. He also plans to offer jobs to some of the vendors. The community is supporting him in this endeavor, donating the funds that are keeping community members warm and well-fed. Read Full Story.

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PLANET

Kenyan Recycles Plastic Waste Into Bricks Stronger Than Concrete

Kenyan Recycles Plastic Waste Into Bricks Stronger Than Concrete

UNEP. Audio: Listen Here.

"It makes a loud bang, but does not crack," reports Reuters. Nzambi Matee of Nairobi, Kenya has been turning plastic waste into durable buildling bricks almost five to seven times stronger than concrete. Matee's factory, Gjenge Makers, produces 1,500 bricks daily from a mix of different plastics -- from high density polyethylene (which is used in milk and shampoo bottles) to low density polyethylene (used for cereal or sandwich bags), to polypropylene (used for rope, flip-top lids, and buckets). The plastic is then mixed with sand, heated and compressed into bricks and sold at a range of prices depending on thickness and color. Kenya produces 600,000 tons of plastic locally, of which 400,000 are used locally and only 9% are recycled, according to Kenya's Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Matee's factory has recycled 20 tons of plastic waste since it began in 2017. A materials engineer, she designed her own machines, noting that the project was initiated when she decided to stop waiting for the government to solve the problem of plastic pollution: "I was tired of being on the sidelines." Read Full Story.

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