The week's good news: October 8, 2020

It wasn't all bad!

Firefighters and Baby Yoda.

1. 5-year-old shows his appreciation for firefighters by giving them a Baby Yoda doll

When Tyler Eubanks organized a donation drive for firefighters battling blazes across the western United States, she expected people to drop off clothes and snacks, and was delighted when a 5-year-old boy named Carver instead showed up with a Baby Yoda doll. Carver also wrote a note to accompany the doll, thanking the firefighters and telling them The Mandalorian character could be "a friend for you in case you get lonely." Baby Yoda has been moving from crew to crew in Oregon, Coloardo, and Utah, and captains tell Eubanks their firefighters are lining up to take selfies with the doll. "The smallest gift of kindness goes a long way," Mike Lewelling, fire management officer at Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, told Today. "This has been a very long and stressful fire season," Lewelling added, and both Baby Yoda and Carver's note put a "smile on even the toughest of firefighters out there."


2. Australian man finds a way to befriend his neighbors without having to leave his house

Rick Everett has spent the last seven months making friends with his neighbors, and he hasn't had to leave his house. An acrobat, Everett lost his job in March, and decided that he would use his free time getting to know the people in his Sydney, Australia, neighborhood. He put a sign up outside his kitchen window that said "Free coffee to combat the virus," and offered hot drinks, baked goods, and conversation to anyone who rang the bell. "Think of it as popping over to your mate's for a coffee only it is a friend you have not met yet," Everett told The Associated Press. Everett has been safely connecting with his neighbors ever since, and today, he offers more than just coffee — he has planted a community herb garden and set up a communal pantry and freezer filled with homemade meals, available to everyone.

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The Associated Press

3. Maryland second-grader is helping get essentials to people in need across the U.S.

Cavanaugh Bell is only in the second grade, but he's already doing his part to make the world a kinder place. The Maryland resident started a nonprofit called Cool & Dope, and earlier this year, he used his $600 life savings to make care packages for more than 125 senior citizens in his neighborhood. In July, Bell raised money and held drives to get essentials like hygiene products, diapers, and nonperishable food to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and he is preparing to make another delivery before winter. "I'm just trying to make them have a big fat smile on their faces," he told People. Bell aims to spread positivity, and Alice Phelps, a member of the Pine Ridge community, said he's doing exactly that. The 7-year-old "believes he can save the world, and I believe him," she said, adding that he "doesn't see anything as a challenge, so I love that innocence about him."


4. 102-year-old woman who has never missed an election puts on PPE to send in her ballot

Bea Lumpkin has voted in every election since 1940, and nothing was going to stop her from casting a ballot in 2020. The 102-year-old retired teacher from Chicago put on personal protective equipment (PPE) and took a short walk to a neighborhood mailbox, where she had her grandson take a photo showing her about to drop off her ballot. "If I could come out at the age of 102 and face a pandemic [to vote], nobody should have an excuse," Lumpkin told Good Morning America. The photo of Lumpkin was shared by the Chicago Teachers Union and quickly went viral, with people praising Lumpkin for doing her civic duty. "There's a lot at stake," she said. Lumpkin thinks the next generation will turn out at the polls to push forward change, telling GMA, "I have a lot of confidence in the young people."

Good Morning America

5. Graduate student spends summer climbing Colorado's highest peaks for charity

This summer, Brittney Woodrum climbed all 58 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, an experience she told The Aspen Times left her feeling "a lot of astonishment, joy, and lots and lots of gratitude." Woodrum, 27, is a graduate student at the University of Denver, studying humanitarian assistance. The Kentucky native loves the outdoors and being of service to others, and in July launched a fundraising effort called the Fourteeners Project. Her goal was to raise $1,400 for each trek up one of Colorado's fourteeners, with the money going to ShelterBox, an international relief charity. With a large ShelterBox aid container strapped to her back, Woodrum climbed her first summit on July 10 and made it to the final peak, Crestone Needle in the Sangre de Cristo Range, on Sept. 26. By the time her adventure was over, Woodrum had raised about $85,000 for ShelterBox, and she is already planning on doing something similar next summer.

The Aspen Times

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.