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Free School Supplies Delivered For Children In Need

With lock-downs in effect across the world, learning from home is now a necessity for many children. Some families are having trouble making the transition but one Wisconsin based organization is helping out in a major way.

Photo by Santi Vedrí on Unsplash

Future Forward is a nonprofit focused on early childhood literacy with programs to help young readers. Some of their approaches include using one-on-one tutoring and family engagement to help young readers.

The organizations’ latest effort involves delivering all sorts of school supplies, door-to-door, in the Greater Milwaukee Area. According to TMJ4, Future Forward will hand-deliver books, academic worksheets, school supplies, and even snacks to about 100 families.

Photo by Rachel on Unsplash

Tough Times

Global fears of the coronavirus pandemic have forced almost every learning institution to adopt digital learning solutions. However, some families do not have the resources to enable e-learning for their children.

The organization estimates that nearly half of the students it works with in the area do not have reliable access to WiFi and other digital tools necessary for online learning. 

via TMJ4

The assistance that Future Forward is providing will help these children make it through this strange time. Using pencil and paper is antiquated to some but it’s helping us now more than ever.

What are your ideas for supporting education during COVID-19 lock-down? Comment Below!


Feeling Isolated? Video Chat with a Puppy!

One non-profit is bringing the joy of live animals straight to your home with virtual pet visits. The Animal Farm Foundation recently launched a free virtual pet visit program called Pets Together.

The program aims to brighten spirits amid the isolation and loneliness brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Video chats with puppies are just the beginning!

Kyle Hanson / via Unsplash / Unsplash

 “We designed Pets Together to adapt to these unprecedented circumstances by tapping into the power of pets to spread joy and bring people together.”

Stacey Coleman, AAF executive director, via T&L

Animal Farm Foundation is a New York based non-profit organization committed to helping people connect with animals. The Pets Together program does this with video conferencing software like Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts. You can book a virtual pet visit or donate at petstogether.org.

The virtual visit program is currently only open to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and certain other group settings. The program is also accepting requests for live pet visits to medical professionals and others on the front lines of the pandemic.

Solving Social Isolation

Social isolation and loneliness can have a serious negative influence on your health. The negative effects are even greater on the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. Virtual visits from dogs, cats, cows, and horses can be uplifting and even therapeutic.

Ryan Stone / via Unsplash / Unsplash

The Pets Together program is helping many people get social interactions that are hard to come by during the pandemic. A valuable mental health service provided free of cost is exactly the support people need right now. So, next time you are feeling lonely just remember there’s a puppy out there waiting to video chat with you!

For more information on the program, visit PetsTogether.org.

See how people and organizations are stepping up during the pandemic, straight from The Beaks.


How Drones Help Protect Retired Communities

Just announced, two major Fortune 500 companies will team up to provide prescription delivery via drones to patients living in the USA’s largest retirement community.

Mohamed Hassan / via Pixabay / Pixabay

Global leader in logistics and business technology, UPS, issued a statement saying they would be joining forces with healthcare giant, CVS, to facilitate drone delivery of prescription medicines.

UPS (NYSE:UPS) and CVS Health Corporation (NYSE:CVS.N) today said UPS subsidiary UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF) will use drones to deliver prescription medicines from a CVS pharmacy to The Villages, Florida for the largest U.S. retirement community, home to more than 135,000 residents. The service will use Matternet’s M2 drone system.

UPS press release 4/27/2020

Safety First

With the current global pandemic there is much more value in services that reduce human interaction. People now tend to prefer delivery options over in-store pick-up. Using drones could greatly reduce the risk of exposure of the coronavirus , especially for at-risk age groups like the elderly.

Gerd Altmann / via Pixabay / Pixabay

Past tests of the drone delivery system have proven it is a safe and efficient way to deliver goods. According to PCMag, UPS received approval from the FAA to operate a drone delivery system in 2019. The first prescription medicine delivery was completed in North Carolina a few months later.

The planned service could begin as soon as May, assuming FAA compliance. The success of this project could lead to a complete shift in medicine delivery and may prove the usefulness of drones in shipping.

“Now more than ever, it’s important that our customers have access to their prescriptions,” said Jon Roberts, executive vice president and chief operating officer of CVS Health. “In addition to our in-store pickup, free delivery services and drive through pickup, this drone delivery service provides an innovative method to reach some of our customers.”

Jon Roberts, CVS

Do you think drones are the answer to our social distancing conundrum? Comment Below!


Kroger Donates ‘Tidal Wave of Milk’ to Food Banks

The Kroger Family of Companies recently announced an expansion to its Dairy Rescue Program aimed at supporting families during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a press release on April 30th, Kroger said they will process and donate about 200,000 gallons of milk to food banks and community organizations.

Mike Mozart / via Flickr / Flickr

With the world experiencing an overall dairy surplus, demand has plummeted and some farmers are being forced to dump unsold milk. The Dairy Rescue Program started by Kroger could allow many dairy farmers to make it through the pandemic.

“This program will not only provide direct financial relief to our farmers and ranchers,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “It will allow for the purchase and distribution of our agricultural abundance in this country to help our fellow Americans in need.”

Sonny Perdue via ABC

Doubling Down

Purchases of 200,000 gallons of milk could mean financial stability for Kroger’s farmers. However, donating the milk will have even more impact on society. Millions of Americans are facing hard times due to the coronavirus pandemic. The generosity of food banks and community organizations is a lifeline for many people fighting off poverty.

StockSnap / via Pixabay / Pixabay

The expansion of Kroger’s Dair Rescue Program will enable the donation of about 60,000 gallons per month to Feeding America partners. A virtual tidal wave of milk that has an equally great impact on farmers and families.

“At a time when dairy farmers have surplus raw milk, we’re doubling down on our mission to reduce hunger and waste.”

Kroger’s Vice President of Manufacturing Erin Sharp via ABC

Kudos to Kroger! It’s great to see organizations and governments doing their part to ensure we all make it through these tough times. Hopefully, this incredible brand of community leadership will catch on.

Check out The Beaks homepage for more real, positive, news stories.

Do you have ideas for supporting businesses and families through the coronavirus crisis? Comment below!


Oprah’s $2 Million Donation Feeds 5,000+ Families

Oprah Winfrey is partnering with Tennessee State University and Mount Zion Baptist Church to provide grocery gift cards to families in need. The NashvilleNurtures program will support at least 5,000 families struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It reminds me of all those years I was doing favorite things on the show, so I would have done you get a [gift] card, you get a [gift] card,”

Oprah Winfrey via WKNR

Support for eligible families will come in the form of $200 Kroger grocery cards, 10,000 of them. The $2 million gift from Oprah is just a start though. NashvilleNurtures aims to further connect “angels” and organizations to rebuild the community torn by COVID-19. The NashvilleNurtures website has an application portal for families in need to apply for support. They have also set-up a hotline to help provide shelter, employment. health, and food resources.

Calle Macarone via Unsplash

Oprah donates to communities and organizations around the world, but as a former resident, she has a soft spot for Nashville, Tennessee. In this time of need she recognized certain communities are at high risk of food insecurity.

“It has impacted black and brown communities with a fierceness that others have not felt and so because of that I specifically wanted these funds to go specifically to the black and brown communities,” she explained.

Oprah Winfrey via WKNR

Also Read: Kroger Donates ‘Tidal Wave of Milk’ to Food Banks.

Feeding Families

In partnership with Mount Zion Baptist Church and Oprah’s alma-matter, Tennessee State University, the positive effects of the program are already being realized.

“The folks who have received have just been changed forever and you know as well as I know, Nashville needs hope and Mrs. Winfrey’s generous contribution has provided so much hope in our city at this time.”

Bishop Walker with Mount Zion Baptist Church

The foundation for Oprah’s giving spirit is built on her own turbid upbringing and the belief that no one should have to suffer the way she has. By removing food insecurity from the equation, families and communities can begin to rebuild. NashvilleNurtures is exactly the type of program that can turn the tides on a world left wrecked by coronavirus. For info on finding support and to learn how you can help, visit NashvilleNurtures.

Check out more real, positive stories, straight from The Beaks!


How Ending Wildlife Trade Can Prevent Pandemics

Over the past 40 years, the most devastating pandemics have all come from animal origin but nobody seems to talk about reforming wildlife trade….until now.

Toby Prin via Pixabay

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Natural Resources Defense Council released an action plan detailing steps to end wildlife trade in the US. The plan includes four categories of actions that they believe should be implemented by Congress and federal agencies.

  • Lead a global crackdown on wildlife trade;
  • Strengthen U.S. conservation laws to fight wildlife trade;
  • Invest $10 billion in U.S. and global capacity to stop wildlife trade, while helping communities transition to alternative livelihoods; and
  • Resume the U.S. position as a global leader in international wildlife conservation.

A Global Problem

According to WAN, worldwide there are 224 Million live animals traded each year. The United States is a major contributor to this and can even be a hotspot for illegal animal trade. When ending wildlife trade is made a priority in the US, many other countries will follow suit.

Conservation organizations have always opposed wildlife trade because it is a major threat to biodiversity, but now its also a health threat.

Approximately one-quarter of human deaths worldwide are caused by infectious diseases. Of those, 60% are considered zoonotic — meaning they jump from other animals to people — and more than 70% originate with wildlife.

End Wildlife Trade Action Plan
Long-tailed pangolin (M. tetradactyla) by Brett Hartl / Center for Biological Diversity.

Hope For The Future

As a global community, we can prevent future pandemics such as HIV, SARS, and COVID-19, but we have to act. Ending wildlife trade could be the best way to keep the public and our wildlife safe. Take action by contacting Congress to express your support for the action plan! The Center for Biological Diversity provides an online tool to help you contact Congress.

Click here to learn how robotic sea-life can end animal captivity in aquariums.

Check TheBeaks.com for the latest news on conservation, charities, and more!


Animal Captivity’s Animatronic Alternative

Zoos and aquariums can be great educational resources and can help protect endangered species but many conservationists question the morality of captivity. Modern robotics may have the answer to our moral dilemma, life-like animatronic animals. This development could change how we view conservation and education for years to come.

Mika Kaptur / via Pixabay / Pixabay

A Need Rises

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries such as China have halted the trade of wildlife as an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. Policies such as this have stopped zoos and aquariums from importing new animals. This is great for our wildlife but it leaves zoo and aquarium owners in a tough spot. Luckily, one New Zealand entrepreneur has been working to create robotic animals that could take the place of live animals in captivity.

Tom Ana / via Pixabay / Pixabay

Melanie Langlotz and her team of experts helped build a 600lb (270kg) animatronic dolphin that moves and reacts just like the real thing. Working as an augmented gaming professional in Auckland, New Zealand, Langlotz was approached to help design an aquarium for dolphins in China. She needed to find a way to create a beautiful attraction without subjecting wild animals to captivity.

“I started talking to anyone I could get my hands on who has ever had anything to do with animatronics. I was pretty much told that, ‘this is too hard’, ‘it’s really difficult’, ‘it’s a real piece of engineering artwork’ because they would be in salt water, there’s lots of electronics in there, let alone that they need to be on display for a long time. I couldn’t find anyone.”

Melanie Langlotz via RNZ

Langlotz did find help for the project, super-star help. Roger Holzberg and Walt Conti are known in the entertainment business for their work on animatronics in movies, so they came well equipped. The team created a prototype robot dolphin and began testing, with great results.

Realizing The Future

Imagine visiting your local aquarium and seeing the rarest and most exotic sea-life from around the world, even extinct species. Now imagine jumping in the tank to take a swim with the sharks, without the fear of getting bit! The incredible potential of animatronics is changing how we see more than just aquariums.

“This type of technology doesn’t just have to live in a themed aquarium. If I were to imagine … a sequel to Whale Rider, where we could go into the ocean, this technology would serve that incredibly well. This technology could also serve television, other kinds of storytelling media very well, and other sort of educational means.”

Roger Holtzberg via RNZ

Thanks to hard-working entrepreneurs like Melanie Langlotz the needs of business and conservation efforts are being met as one. Time will tell if regulation and technology can change the tides on animal captivity for future generations.

Check out other real, positive news stories about conservation and environmentalism on TheBeaks.com!


Bengal Tigers Making Slow Recovery in India

Forest and wildlife officials have announced a 9% increase in the tiger population of India’s Sunderbans Reserve. A survey conducted just months ago has determined there are 96 tigers on the reserve, up from 88 found in 2018.

Victor Adam / via Pixabay / Pixabay

The Royal Bengal tiger is one of India’s most feared predators but after years of overhunting and deforestation, there are now protected areas for the tiger.

The study was conducted in the protected Sunderbans forest reserve, located outside Kolkata, in West Bengal. On the reserve, the total area is about 4,200 sq km and there are 3,700 sq km (1430 sq mi) being used as big cat habitat. However, the increase in tigers means more habitat may be needed.

“We need to increase the mangrove cover in a bid to provide for more space to tigers in coming days,” 

Forest minister Rajib Bandyopadhyay , via PTI
via Pixabay / Pixabay

The state took advantage of a new tool to help with data collection this year, cameras. According to the head of the Sunderbans Tiger Project, Sudhir Chandra Das, they used 768 cameras placed throughout the tiger habitat. The Wire reports this method can be more reliable than traditional methods and estimations.

The counting exercise, done in a lab in Dehradun, involves comparison of the images of tigers based on their stripes […] the big cats were identified through their stripe patterns.

Sudhir Chandra Das via The Wire

A New Chapter

This is the greatest increase in tiger numbers in the history of the survey, according to officials. Protecting the apex predator can have positive effects throughout the animal kingdom and global ecosystems, but can we keep it up? The return of Bengal tigers is a great sign for the future of conservation in India. Hopefully, this trend will continue for years to come!

Visit The Beaks homepage for more stories about conservation and environmentalism!!!


7-Year-Old Makes Care Packages for Navy Sailors

Abigail Pearson is just seven years old but her giving spirit is well beyond her age. The care packages she makes, with the help of her mother, are brightening the hearts of US Navy Sailors in Virginia.

Abigail Pearson
Credit: Monique Pearson via WTKR

Good things come in small packages

Abigail has already made 80 packages for donation to the service members of the USNS Laramie, according to Zak Dahlheimer of WTKR News. The care packages include useful items like shampoo, deodorant, soap, and most importantly, Girl Scout Cookies!

As a Girl Scout, Abigail has been inspired to make the world a better place. In fact, before this endeavor, she has helped organize a shoe drive and collected items for wildlife and care facilities.

“One of our Girl Scout laws says, ‘Make the world a better place,’ and that’s what we’re doing,”

Abigail Pearson via WTKR

Abigail is proving that anyone can make a difference, regardless of your age. The world could use more of 7-year-old Abigail’s compassion and willingness to help others. Hopefully, stories like this will inspire us all to care just a little more.

Learn how some organizations are doing their part to support people through the coronavirus pandemic.

What are your ideas for helping society get through these tough times? Comment Below!


Anonymous Donor Gives $1 Million to Hospital Employees

One southern California hospital was recently on the receiving end of a large, generous donation. An anonymous donor gave $1,000,000 to the Dignity Health Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz California to support its staff.

Dignity Health Dominican Hospital
Dignity Health Dominican Hospital / via Dignity Health

“Everyone gets a piece”

A note left alongside the donation stated how the donor intends to have the donation used. The donor wants the money to go directly to the staff, from floor cleaners to nurses. The donor wants everyone to have a piece. The note went on to say,

“Thank you for standing up (and staying up!) to care for our community… This humankindness is what makes you heroic.”

Anonymous donor

The money will be split among all employees at the hospital. Full-time employees will receive $800 and part time employees will receive $600.

Mary Tolan / via Flickr / Flickr

Hospital and healthcare workers around the world are being pushed to their limits this year with an unprecedented pandemic. Many are having to work longer hours with little to no protective equipment endangering themselves and their families in the process. This donation goes to show that outsiders recognize and respect their sacrifice.

The Dignity Health Dominican Hospital has a website accepting donations if you’d like to help them out.

Check out how governments and organizations around the world are proving support during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Beaks

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