The week's good news: August 31, 2017

It wasn't all bad!

5-year-old Shon Griffin feeds local stray cats.
(Image credit: Facebook/Kolony Kats)

1. Houston family turns home into shelter, welcoming 16 people and 7 pets

Thousands of Texans have been displaced by Tropical Storm Harvey, and 16 of them found shelter inside the home of a stranger. Nicole Richert, a children's pastor, was driving past a Shell gas station in the Cypress community Monday when she saw several people gathered, trying to stay dry, The Houston Chronicle reports. She pulled over, and decided then and there to open her doors to those in need, making several trips back and forth from the gas station to her home, sheltering 16 people and seven dogs. Richert cooked dinner for her guests, including a few older couples and families with children, and then set up sleeping areas around her home. "They were all complete strangers to Nicole, but Nicole shows all the best character traits of Texas hospitality and Christian love," friend Kevin McGown told the Chronicle.

The Houston Chronicle

2. Houston woman in labor rescued from floodwaters by neighbors who formed human chain

Annie Smith went into labor just as the waters began to rise around her Houston apartment complex. Realizing a home birth was likely, her husband, Greg — a doctor like Annie — rushed around their apartment collecting supplies that could be used in a delivery, like scissors and needles. But before the baby arrived, a rescue truck pulled up outside and more than a dozen neighbors formed a human chain and carried Annie to the vehicle. The couple's baby girl, Adriella, was born in a hospital later that day. "It's incredible how many people responded," Annie told ABC News, "and were out in the rain trying to help us."

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ABC News

3. Seattle dad aims to pay off every school lunch debt in the state of Washington

A Seattle father is well on his way to eliminating all school lunch debt in the state of Washington. Jeffrey Lew read an article about school districts that either refuse to give students lunch if they don't have any cash, or take away their hot meal and replace it with something cold. Other districts send kids home with invoices, which can add up quickly. "It boggles my mind that a child can accrue a debt at school," he told Today Parents. "I was determined to do something about it." When Lew found out his sons' school was trying to collect $97.10 worth of student lunch debt, he paid that, then moved on to tackle the total debt owed to Seattle Public Schools — $20,531.79. Lew started a GoFundMe, and the money has been coming in steadily, allowing him to pay off $100,000 worth of debt across Washington.

Today Parents

4. Man finds ring on Cape Cod beach, tracks down owner who lost it 47 years ago

Patrick O'Hagan felt it slip off his finger while swimming, and despite a frantic search, was never able to locate the Manhattan College ring his new wife, Christine, had given him as a gift. He lost the ring on Cape Cod during his 1970 honeymoon, and in the years since, Christine would scan the sand for the ring whenever they returned. This summer, a Californian named Jim Wirth spent part of his Cape Cod vacation using a metal detector on the beach, and found an old ring with a name engraved inside — "Patrick O'Hagan." He was able to find Christine online, and when Wirth called the O'Hagans to let them know he found the long-missing ring, they were shocked. "If you wrote a book like this and put it in it, nobody would believe it," Patrick told NBC New York.

NBC New York

5. Philadelphia 5-year-old is a hero to the city's stray cats

The stray cats of Philadelphia have a champion: 5-year-old Shon "Catman" Griffin. Griffin's aunts, Kris Papiernik and Kia Griffin, have spent the last decade fostering cats and working with rescues, and for years, they tried to get a feral cat named Bug to trust them so he could get neutered and vaccinated. They weren't successful until the Catman became involved. "[The cats] took to him right away," Griffin told ABC News. "Bug came right over to Shon, rubbed against his legs, and allowed him to pet him." Shon helps his aunts take care of 45 stray cats in four different spots in Philadelphia, often wearing a superhero costume as he fills their bowls with food and water and pets each one. The cats his aunts foster are just as adored — when he visits, Shon lavishes them with attention. "He truly loves them, and they love him back just as much," Griffin said.

ABC News

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