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Mysterious Story Of How A Dad Is Raising Money For Charity Through Amateurish Pet Portraits

Mysterious things do occur every day. It’s happened to Phil Heckels who has amassed thousands of pounds for charity by making drawings of people’s pets.

Phil Heckels spoke to CNN about how it happened. It started six weeks ago when he tried to help his 6-year-old son create a thank you card for family.

He came up with an idea to sketch the family dog, a black Labrador with the name Narla just to motivate his son. He will later post the picture of the drawing on Facebook with the playful caption about selling it for $390.

“It was pretty crap,” said Heckels, from Worthing, south England, who was startled to see offers for his work.

As the day drew to a close, he had gotten seven requests from pals who also desired drawings of their pets. The next few days would see many orders come in as his popularity grew daily.

Heckels who has a full time job in commercial real estate decided to create a special page for his artwork services. He named the page “Hercule Van Wolfwinkle”, an alias he’s made use of on Facebook for over ten years.

“Extremely realistic pictures which will grace any household,” reads the tagline on the page but looking at it closely, this is not the case.

Big eyes, fat arms and abnormal features are characteristics of his works but Heckles claims he’s working within what he knows how to do.

“I genuinely try quite hard to try and draw them,” he said, mentioning the fact that he had little knowledge of art at school since he didn’t study the subject at GCSE, the English standard of a high school degree.

To him, he’s enjoying the whole thing.

“I’m just having a laugh with it,” Heckels told CNN. “People seem to be enjoying it and I’m certainly enjoying it.”

A particular client demanded to pay Heckles for his services, but Heckels surprisingly turned down the payment.

“I can’t take any money for it so give some money to charity,” Heckels said he told the client.

Heckels would later establish a JustGiving fundraiser for Turning Tides, a charity for the homeless and destitute. He claims his family has been an ardent supporter for years.

At the time of writing, the fundraiser has realized over £11,500 (about $15,000). Heckels says he’s keen on ending homelessness.

“It’s an absolute basic human need to have a roof over your head,” he said further saying he’ll keep producing more works as long as people are contributing to the cause.

In all, he’s produced over 220 portraits, out of over 1,000 requests.

Though Heckels doesn’t think he’ll attend to all the requests, he’s keen on raising more money as well as public attention in a bid of being a source of happiness during these difficult times.

“It is like a little bit of fun and a little bit of light when there isn’t much to be cheery about at the minute,” he said. “I would die a happy man if I could spend the rest of my life doing this.

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Act of Kindness at Party City Launches Heartwarming Viral Challenge

Renee Yates

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When Natasha and her son Grayson packed up their bags to visit Party City in Martinsburg, WV, they really had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Ostensibly on a trip to get some Valentine’s Day gifts for school, Natasha and her son would end up engaging in a conversation with the cashier at the register. A short talk later and the cashier would gift young 2-year-old Grayson a yellow balloon. While the interaction may have seemed relatively mundane at a glance, it would go on to launch a viral challenge that would bring smiles to households around the world.

Launching a Viral Challenge — on Accident!

After returning home from Party City, Natasha Kable Fogle realized the depth of how touched she was by the gesture of kindness. Natasha would turn to Facebook in order to highlight the act of kindness granted at Party City as well as what it meant to her son, Grayson. While Natasha had wanted to spread the word about Party City’s positive practices, she had no idea that her Facebook message would become the next big thing in viral challenges!

Natasha uploaded a video thanking the cashier at Party City for her act of kindness, and it wasn’t long until the message had found its way around the internet. Pretty soon, a local law firm near Natasha would decide to launch the #YellowBalloonChallenge. The law firm, named Catrow Law PLLC, decided to launch the challenge on Twitter to start an avalanche of positive acts of kindness.

Catrow Law described the #YellowBalloonChallenge as a game of passing kindness forward in ways both large and small. From mowing the lawn or shoveling a driveway to paying for the car behind you at the coffee shop, the Yellow Balloon Challenge would quickly find its footing on the internet. To get things started, Catrow Law PLLC would pay $100 to Meals on Wheels by paying for a stranger’s account. The donation was tagged with a simple message, “Keep the yellow balloon challenge going!”

The Internet Saves the Day

From Catrow Law PLLC, the Yellow Balloon Challenge would find its way to Studio M Boutique where it was summarily accepted. Studio M Boutique would agree to donate 10% of its sales for an entire night to a client that had been engaging in a fight against cancer. Not only would Studio M Boutique end up raising an exceptional amount of funds, but the business would push the Yellow Balloon Challenge into another demographic of potential challengers. Among the other local businesses to engage in the Yellow Balloon Challenge was TJ’s Pit Stop who had dedicated its donations to The Boys and Girls Club.

Viral social media challenges have played a huge role in day-to-day life and the Yellow Balloon Challenge was no exception. First there was the Ice Bucket ALS challenge and now the Yellow Balloon Challenge. What else can the internet do to help those in need?

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A 100-Year-Old Woman Still Works at McDonalds: And Wants Birthday Cards

Renee Yates

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Working in a fast-food environment can often feel like a thankless job for many people. Often, workers are youngsters who either start their work career here, but some older people stay there for many years. For example, a Pennsylvania woman who just turned 100 is still working at McDonald’s in her hometown. And she plans to work there as long as she can – and her dedication earned her many birthday cards.

The Incredible Story
For years, Ruth Shuster has been at McDonald’s, working as a restaurant greeter and a table wiper. Though she only works three days a week, she says that the work keeps her engaged, introduces her to new people, and pays her few remaining bills. Even during the Covid pandemic, she has gone to work every day, though she misses seeing large crowds and her dancing expeditions.

That’s right – Ruth Shuster, a 100-year-old woman, loves dancing. Before Covid-19, she would go out four nights a week with her friends and has kept in great shape by continually working and exercising in this way. Ruthie (as she prefers to be called) has been working for 50 years of her life when her husband passed away when she was just 50. This work has been inspiring to her. She said:

“I became a widow when I was 50, and I’ve been working ever, ever, ever since and I like working.” Ruthie has not given any thought to retiring – for her, the work is much too enjoyable, and she keeps going to work every day, not just for the money but to see people. At her age, she says, the chance to see young people and to be immersed in her community is more than worth it.

“To me (age), it’s just a number,” she said. “I get payday! I get paid and I pay my bills…I never had a lot of money but I always had enough.” Ruthie has indicated that she is likely to stay at McDonald’s for the foreseeable future. They are very welcoming, provide her with a free Egg McMuffin on workdays (her favorite McDonald’s meal), and accommodate her unique needs as a worker.

The Cards Keep Coming
When Shuster turned 100 on March 3, she started getting so many birthday cards that McDonald’s gave her a personal mailbox. These cards are nothing unusual for Ruthie – she has been getting them for years at the restaurant because of her popularity with customers – but the big 100 has inspired many people to send cards. The rush has been overwhelming and has given her even more joy in her late life.

Ruthie and McDonald’s have welcomed people from outside of the community to send her birthday cards. Many are on display in the restaurant to celebrate her dedication to her job. Anyone who wishes to send these cards can do so at 9061 Lincoln Hwy, North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania 15642. Ruthie encourages personalized greetings to make the card even more memorable.

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Meet ‘Car Park Charlie’: Parents Welcome Child to World in Unlikeliest of Places

Shannon Jackson

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There are few times in life where we feel less in control than when we welcome our first child to the world. Parents and nerves go hand-in-hand, particularly as they go through the process together for the first time. For Harriet Hanson and Adam Smith, the process couldn’t have gone smoother or have happened in a less likely of situation.

In today’s story, we are going to take a deep dive into the baby taking over the nation. We are going to introduce you to Car Park Charlie and the family that he calls his own.

It Started With a Hospital Trip

When Harriet Hanson and Adam Smith checked into the Premier Inn Grimsby, it wasn’t because they had fallen in love with the place. Harriet and Adam had whisked themselves away to the hospital that previous morning after Harriet had begun to experience contractions late in her pregnancy. The two had driven from their hometown in Skegness for more than 45 minutes to arrive at the hospital in Grimsby of North East Lincolnshire. The advising doctor at the time told Ms. Hanson and her husband that she was still likely ‘a ways off’. Harriet and Adam were told that they could go home and were advised to return when the event was nearer.

With home almost an hour away and snow rapidly accumulating on the roads, Harriet and Adam knew that they didn’t want to drive all the way back to Skegness. After all, the long drive + the likelihood that they might have to immediately drive back made them more than a little nervous. So Adam would pull the family into the Premier Inn right outside Grimsby where his plan was to book a room. Fortunately, the night staff was headed by Mike Krofchak who was quick to get the couple a room, and quicker to come and save the day just hours later!

Settling Into the Hotel Room

It hadn’t taken long for Adam and Harriet to realize that the hospital had been mistaken in sending them away. Harriet would soon experience her water breaking and due to the inclement weather, Adam and Mike were forced to take an active role in the process. Mike Krofchak, the quick-thinking night clerk, was quick to get on the phone with an ambulance while Adam and Harriet settled in for their adventurous night.

On the phone with the hospital, Adam was told that he must prepare Harriet for delivery himself. Fortunately, his skills weren’t put to the test as paramedics arrived just in time to help deliver the child in their ambulance. Charlie, affectionately nicknamed ‘Car Park Charlie’, would enter the world at 12:29am on February 8th while weighing in at a solid 8lbs and 3.5oz. According to the team at the Premier Inn, Charlie would instantly become the youngest-ever guest to stay at the chain, and they have offered a complimentary stay for a return visit to the family.

According to Adam and Harriet, had they not made the decision to stay at the Premier Inn rather than drive home, it was very likely that their child could have come to a negative or unhealthy end. Adam told the press that his family made three lifesaving decisions on that night: avoiding snowy rides driving home, staying at a nearby inn, and choosing the Premier Inn.

For his part, Mr. Krofchak was just happy to be part of a fun story. Krofchak stated, “It was a real privilege to know I helped in some small way with the safe arrival (of Charlie).”

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Pets Elected As Mayors, Earn Town Money For Project Development

Kevin Wells

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Fundraisers are a dime a dozen, but great or unique fundraisers, on the other hand, are not so common.

Desperate times call for desperate measures or thinking outside of the box, and that’s exactly what officials at a town in the state of Vermont did.

Instead of moping about the pandemic’s impact on their city, they decided to go back to the drawing table and come up with a plan to develop a proper playground for the children in the town and its environs.

So what did they come up with? The election of two animals, a dog, and a goat, as mayors. That fundraiser may probably be one of the greatest of all times, (goat) or just doggone smooth, but either way, the plan has been working.

The fundraiser began in 2018 in the Vermont town of Fair Haven, where they elected a goat named Lincoln to hold the position as their honorary mayor.

The project aimed to raise funds to remodel a park that has been in a state of disrepair after serving the community for more than thirty years.

Once Lincoln completed his term as honorary mayor, he was succeeded by Murphee, a dog who still handles the special mayoral duties to garner funds for the project.

Both Lincoln and Murphee make frequent appearances at events, and people have been spending their money to catch a glimpse of them.

Murphee is a King Charles Spaniel, and his owner was ready from the onset of being approached to use her dog for the fundraiser.

Little did she know that it would become a significant undertaking attracting thousands of people and raising thousands of dollars.

The city aims to raise a hundred thousand dollars, and so far, the animals have helped to warn approximately thirty thousand of the amount.

The town has added another twenty thousand dollars to the amount raised, putting them at half the amount needed.

With the honorary mayors gaining national prominence, it is expected that they’ll make the full amount needed for the redevelopment project at the park and more.

The federal Land and Water Conservation Fund has given a grant amounting to the other half required for the development, to Fair Bank.

Therefore, any additional earnings will go to other things needed in the community.

Residents are genuinely appreciative of the show put on by both Lincoln and Murphee in refined style and plan to begin the park renovation project in the spring.

Everyone is looking forward to the transformation of the park, which will enhance the aesthetics of the town.

It is not yet clear if the honorary mayors will be popularly featured at the park or if they’ll be participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

However, it turns out; this is undoubtedly going to be spoken about for many years to come. It will be a great story to tell the future generation about how the funds were raised to build the fantastic Park that they now enjoy.

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Couple Are Confused Why One Picture Exploded In Popularity – Then They Read The Comments…

Kevin Wells

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When social media first arrived, most thought it was the next evolution of the bulletin board and forums. There was a topic for just about everything, and everybody could respond in writing or post images or both. However, social media has since become a lot more than just posting thoughts and phrases. It has become an extremely effective way to influence many, many others. And it’s impact is so widespread, national governments now have to worry about it as an operational risk.

Some folks are just a natural to social media, jumping in like a fish to water. While making a digital dent might seem like the challenge impossible for many, these people are able to craft and deliver in such a way that that automatically develop large audiences online wherever they post. Dubbed “influencers,” these easy posters seem to be untouchable in the social media world, always seeming to draw more and more traffic no matter what they do. That was the case for one couple who had a huge following with their Instagram account. Every post they made was responded to with thousands of positive fans. Then they made one particular post that hit everything sideways. Like their other work, this post went viral too, but the effects were definitely unintended.

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