(TMU) – As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the United States, skyrocketing unemployment has threatened millions of Americans while food banks and other social service providers struggle to contend with growing poverty.
And while the idea of sheltering at home seems simple enough, the heartbreaking fact is that millions across the country don’t have the luxury of enjoying a roof over their head during this crisis – let alone clean running water.
However, a Georgia-based nonprofit has been quietly installing portable sinks in city streets across the country in hopes that homeless people will be able to wash their hands – a simple yet important task that most of us take for granted.
Over the course of the last two months, Love Beyond Walls has been setting up hand-washing stations in areas where unhoused populations congregate and pass through.
It’s great partnering with Redeemer Lutheran in Midtown ATL to ensure sanitation is present as they walk with people experiencing homelessness..#lovebeyondwalls #LoveSinksIn
Posted by Love Beyond Walls on Monday, May 18, 2020
It’s important work, especially with a pandemic currently raging and health authorities urging Americans to comprehensively wash their hands with soap and water to prevent the virus from spreading.
On the Love Beyond Walls website, the group describes its vision as bringing “dignity to the homeless and poor by providing a voice, visibility, shelter, community, and grooming and support services to achieve self-sufficiency.”
The group’s founder, Terence Lester, was himself homeless as a teen. In an appearance on Katie Couric’s new YouTube series, The Bright Side, Lester explained that his “Love Sinks In” campaign was begun in hopes to support a commonly neglected population during the pandemic, which could be their most dire time of need.
In recent years, the United States has experienced the startling return of viruses once believed to be under control. However, rising poverty levels and a growth in mass homelessness have ensured the spread of diseases commonly believed to belong to the last century, or much less developed countries in the global South.
Several outbreaks of Hepatitis A, a vaccine-preventable illness, have occurred in states like California, Kentucky, Louisiana, Utah, and other states.
Public health officials say that the virus spread due to a huge increase in homelessness and an accompanying failure by local governments to provide them with basic amenities and hygiene tools like clean water or public bathrooms.
“People would say things like ‘I’m fearing I’ll contract the coronavirus because I have nowhere to wash my hands.’”
And with the help of allies like hip hop artist Lecrae, a friend of Lester’s, the group has been able to expand their operations. Ever since the Grammy award-winning musician began supporting the group’s efforts in March, several dozen sinks have been installed across the Atlanta, Georgia.
The sinks are also sanitized at least three times daily.
Love Beyond Walls is also teaming up with homeless charities in poverty hot-spots across the U.S. Cities like Austin, Baltimore, Birmingham, Columbus, New Orleans, New York City, and San Bernardino could soon see sinks dotting their streets thanks to Love Beyond Walls.
During her interview with Lester, Katie Couric surprised the nonprofit leader by making a $10,000 donation to the cause, ensuring that 50 more portable sinks would be built – ensuring that in addition to receiving a bit of dignity, unhoused people could also have the basic hygiene needed to weather the storm of COVID-19’s spread.
Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces
Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.
And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.
The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.
The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.
At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.
When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.
Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.
The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.
The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.
“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.
“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.
“His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.
Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.
Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber
An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.
In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.
“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”
As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.
Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.
“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.
Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.
So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.
“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”
As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.
Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.
“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”
Binx the Cat, Who Survived Florida Condo Collapse, Found and Reunited With Family
Amid the tragedy of last month’s collapse of a South Florida condo building, there was a tiny bit of good news when a cat named Binx, who lived on the ninth floor of the Surfside building, was found safe and returned to his family.
“I’m glad that this small miracle could bring some light into the lives of a hurting family today and provide a bright spot for our whole community in the midst of this terrible tragedy,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in a Friday press conference, reports NPR.
Levine Cava explained that a volunteer who feeds street cats in the area recognized the cat near the building before bringing him to an animal shelter, where it was then identified.
Gina Nicole Vlasek, the co-founder of the The Kitty Campus rescue group, posted on Facebook that a black cat had been found near the rubble of the group before it was brought to the shelter on Thursday night.
“We are so grateful to be able to help in any small way,” Vlasek said.
“All we needed was a ray of hope in this tragedy,” she continued. “Today was one of the most amazing days.. one of the survivors came to see the cat and to determine if it was her families cat and IT WAS!”
The mayor said that animal control workers are continuing to work to recover any pets that may have survived the horrible collapse.
The 12-story Surfside condo collapsed on June 24. At least 79 people have been confirmed dead, with 61 additional residents remaining unaccounted for.