Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Where else but Denver?"

According to the Denver Post, Jeffrey Maes, 57, had been homeless four years, after his remodeling company failed. He lost everything and was considered unemployable, but last year he heard about a Denver sponsored day-labor program that helped his friends get back on his feet, so he gave it a try. He did landscaping in parks, helped the Denver Elections Division and aided public works crews. This experience helped him find a full-time job retrofitting lights at the Denver Central Library.

                                                                                                                                Denver Post
In the first year after the program began in November, 2016, Denver Human Services says 284 people worked at least one day, and ALL BUT 10 STAYED LONGER. Of these, 110 found full-time work. Maes says, "When you take a good person who's down, broken, discouraged, and you give them an opportunity to be proud of themself, that's one of the greatest gifts anybody can give anybody, and for that I'd like to say thank you."

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Library filled with "trashy" books

Today's crumb was shared by a reader in Bloomington, Indiana. It happened in Ankara, Turkey, where sanitation crews spent months rescuing discarded books from curbside refuse piles. They used the books to create a new public library which opened last September in an abandoned brick building owned by the sanitation department.

The library now houses 6,000 pieces of literature, including many books in English and French for bilingual visitors. There's also a children's section, and village school teachers from across Turkey are requesting books. The library recycles a vast amount of paper that would otherwise swell Turkish landfills.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Can you spell FREEZING?

Samierra Jones is a senior at Coppin State University, but she graduated from the Baltimore City Public School system, and remembers how many of the district's schools have inadequate heat. During icy cold weather this winter, for example, students had to wear coats in classrooms where temperatures were in the 30s. Jones created a GoFundMe page, hoping to raise $20,000 to buy at least 600 space heaters and winter clothing for the children. Then Baltimore native and former NFL linebacker Aaron Maybin (now 29, and teaching elementary school) spurred the campaign by posting a heart-wrenching video of cold students.

Strangers from around the world donated $80,000. Dozens of locals went further, donating bags of coats, gloves, hats, socks and scarves. Since the video started being shared on the Internet, Maybin has worked with Jones collecting donations at drop-off locations across the city. They are now collaborating with city teachers to distribute space heaters and outerwear to classrooms that need them most. The campaign has raised awareness of the schools' shoddy infrastructure, and city officials are now being pushed to improve classroom conditions.

Thank heaven times are chaning

Gilbert and Grace Caldwell got married 60 years ago. They were overjoyed as they drove eight hours from North Carolina to their honeymoon room in the romantic Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. But when they arrived at the Mt. Airy Hotel and presented their room reservation, they were told that if they stayed overnight the other guests would be very unhappy, because the Caldwell's are black. Grace recalls they were put up in a nearby hunting lodge where everyone had rifles. This misfortune led Gilbert to a life-long career in civil rights. He worked side-by-side with Martin Luther King Jr. Today the couple still gives talks at schools across the country, and they've told their wedding story a thousand times. But when 5th graders at Bear Tavern Elementary in Titusville, New Jersey, heard it, they could not forget it. Weeks later, it still made one little fifth-grader cry, because it was "so wrong." Soon the students created a class project. Each child wrote a letter to the Mt. Airy Hotel asking for an all-expense paid second honeymoon for the Caldwells, and the hotel agreed. The original hotel was torn down years ago, and the new one has different owners, but they wanted to make it right anyway. Said one fifth-grader, "It makes me feel really good inside because we know that even though we're just kids, we made an impact on the world."

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Love is hard to forget

Michael Joyce, 68, lives in New Zealand. In 2010, he was diagnosed with Alzheimers's. He's been with his wife for 34 years, and she's supported him as his memory faded. But eventually he forgot they were married.

She was sitting in a lounge chair in their home one day recently when he walked into the room looking very nervous and asked, "Will you marry me?" Instead of telling him they were already married, she said OF COURSE! She didn't want to spoil the moment for him, and assumed he'd forget about it the next day. But when they woke up the next morning, he hadn't forgotten, and wanted to set a date. Her friends helped her plan a lakeside ceremony and a local wedding photographer did the photos for free. Each day of the week after the ceremony, his wife expected him to forget the ceremony, but he didn't. He remembered it for more than a week, which she describes as "absolutely unbelievable."

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

One ringy-dingy, two ringy-dingies

Not long ago, Kimberly Phillips of Parks, Louisiana, posted a hysterical video on Facebook. It shows her son Braylong Daigle (shown here with his mom) trying to dial a rotary phone. In the video, he dials a number and lifts the receiver, but hears only a dial tone.

                                                                                                    Kimberly Phillips, Facebook
After Braylon fails to make a call, his younger sister thinks she knows why. She lifts the receiver and places it the other way on the cradle. Now it should work, so Braylon dials again, picks up the receiver, and hears only a dial tone. Finally he pulls out his smart phone and dials the number of the rotary phone, to see if it is working.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Another example of "Boston's finest"

Kori Malenfant, 19, had just undergone brain surgery in New York city. Her parents stayed by her side until she was released from the hospital ten days later. Then the trio took a train from New York to their home in Portland, Maine, but when they arrived at Boston's North Station, they missed their connection by five minutes.  All they wanted was someplace to store their luggage while they waited 23 hours in the cold station for the next train to Maine. They saw a policeman and asked if he could help.

Boston Police Captain Kelley McCormick noticed they looked tired, and Kori looked cold and frail. So he packed them into his cruiser, saying they could stay at his house after he filled the car with gas. But after gassing up, he kept driving. Kori finally asked if he was taking them all the way to Portland, and McCormick said, "yes, this is a kidnapping, but it's legal." Two hours later, the family was back home in Maine. "There were just no words at that point," said Kori. "We were so thankful."

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Encouraging children to read

To encourage literacy among kids who'd rather play with smart devices than read, the libraries in Los Angeles County, California, no longer charge late fees for readers under the age of 21. And children are automatically signed up for library cards by their school. But what about kids who have a pre-existing late fee balance? How can they pay it back?  By reading!

Children can go to their local library and request to pay off their late fees. The librarian will start a timer, and for every hour the youngster reads $5 will be taken off their debt. According to the Los Angeles Times, at least 100 students have read away their debt. This debt relief can also be used for paying off lost or damaged books. So far, 15,000 kids have used their new library cards. Every hour spent reading is also an hour spent not playing video games. So it's a win-win.

Friday, January 19, 2018

I now pronounce you man and wife

It happened on January 18th. Pope Francis was flying on a civilian airliner from Santiago, Chile, to the northern coastal town of Iquiqe to celebrate an open-air mass. He was introduced to other passengers on the plane, including Carlos Cluffardi Elorriga, 41, and his wife Paula Podest Ruiz, 39, who both are flight attendants for Latam, the Latin American airline based in Chile.

The couple wed in a civil ceremony in 2010, but could not marry in their parish church because it collapsed in the 2010 earthquake. They asked if the Pope would bless their marriage. Instead, he offered to perform their religious marriage and they agreed immediately. The couple told journalists on the plane, "It was very moving. We can't believe the Pope married us. Marriage works!"

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Birthday gift makes grandpa weep

                                                                                                                   Photos by
Fred Lamar of Louisville, Kentucky, bought this '57 Chevy Bel Air when he was 28 years old. It held lots of family memories, but in 1976 it was retired to the garage and eventually forgotten. Meanwhile, Lamar and his grandson Cam Dedman became best friends. "We did everything together," says Dedman. "He got me into cars when I was young." So Dedman hatched a plan to make grandpa's next birthday the best ever. He spent countless hours restoring the forgotten car, and gave it to Lamar on his 81st birthday. Lamar was stunned. He wept. He kissed the car, and said he would sleep in it. "When I saw his reaction, I could not help but tear up myself," said Dedman. "I always said I was going to pay him back one day, and today's that day."

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"Young love, true love"

The rock and roll classic "Young Love" was #1 on the charts for six weeks in 1957, and apparently it was really true! Here's proof. When Heidi was just six years old and living with her parents in London, England, her family went on vacation to a resort in Turkey. The whole time they were there, little Heidi was obsessed with another six-year-old resort guest named Ed. His family visited the resort exactly the same days as Heidi's family. That was in 1997.

Last summer, a 26-year-old couple named Ed and Heidi Savitt got married after dating about six years. They believed they first met in college, but two years ago while having dinner with their mothers, Heidi's mom mentioned a boy named Ed that Heidi fell hard for during a childhood vacation to Turkey. Two weeks later, Heidi's mom was going through old photos in the attic and found a few from their 1997 vacation which confirmed that it was the same Ed! Even though they grew up 200 miles apart, they just happened to meet again in college and fall in love. Coincidence? Or destiny? In either case, it proves that rock and roll is here to stay.

Monday, January 15, 2018

One of nature's most fragile things

"Crumbs of Comfort" will soon be in its fourth year. It's grown from one crumb and one page view in 2014 to 1,222 crumbs and 94,000 page views with readers in the United States, Iceland, Ukraine, France, Poland, South Korea, Russia, Portugal, Canada and Germany. Each daily post now receives between 30 and 50 page views.

No two crumbs in this blog are identical, and no two readers are alike. Each is unique, beautiful and needed in your own way. Snowflakes are also unique and beautiful, and no two are alike. But look what they can accomplish when they stick together! Let's stick together this year.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Heroism is an international virtue

A few months ago, in the Sichuan Province of southwest China, a Yibing City bus suddenly burst into flames. Nearby pedestrians wasted no time rushing to the rescue of those on the bus. Onlookers quickly smashed windows and attacked the blaze with water and fire extinguishers.

One local shop owner, Pan Haifeng, was seen on CCTV rushing into the burning bus to bring an elderly passenger outside to safety. Within a few minutes, the crowd had put out the fire and there were no casualties. "Everyone would do the same as what I did under the circumstances," said Pan Haifeng.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A crumb from Brazil

WeWork is a company in San Paulo, Brazil, whose employees are custodians who clean office work spaces. Recently, Nataly Bonato, community manager of WeWork, asked her janitor employees to submit daily reports telling their name, which rooms they cleaned, and how much time was spent in each room.  When the first reports were turned in, they were not accurate and Bonato asked the janitors why. It turns out over half of the cleaning team was illiterate.

                                                                                                          Natal Bonato Facebook
Instead of hiring new staff to get the job done, Bonato decided to help them out. "We have a school that uses our workspace, so we challenged them to help our staff with the problem, and they got organized and made it happen." Every Tuesday and Thursday the team had longer lunch hours to attend literacy lessons. Five months later, the best students were already writing letters and every custodian could read simple texts. They even had a "graduation" photograph, shown above.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Vikings must win playoffs for Millie!

When the Minnesota Vikings meet the Saints for the division playoffs Sunday, January 14, Millie will be watching from the sidelines. Millie Wall of Minneapolis is 99 years old, and has been a huge Vikings fan since their first season in 1961. She even has a foam brick that she throws at her TV when they are not playing well. (She tied a string to it so she doesn't have to keep walking over to get it.) She's watched them in four Super Bowls and never seen them win, but she's hoping this is their year.

Last Monday, 30 members of her large family dropped in and surprised her with a letter from the Vikings. It said they've set aside two FREE seats for her and her guest. She's been to a few Viking games before, but never the playoffs. She's giving her granddaughter the other ticket, and the Vikings are sending a limo to take them to the game.  Go Vikings!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Brothers eagerly help elderly stranger

It happened last summer in Riesel, Texas, just east of Waco. Mrs. Gerry Suttle, 75, was issued a notice to appear before a judge because the grass on a lot she owns across from her house was more than 18 inches high, violating city code. She claims she never received the notice, and when she failed to appear in court, a warrant was issued for her arrest. That's when four young brothers (three shown here) heard of her plight and decided to help.

"We haven't met her yet, but she's 75 years old and needs some help mowing. That's the least we could do," said Blaine Reynolds, one of the brothers. It was 90 degrees outside when they began pushing power mowers to slowly slowing cut the tall grass. But other neighbors soon noticed their unselfish deed, and showed up on riding mowers to help. Two hours later the field looked beautiful. Mrs. Suttle wept in gratitude and was speechless when she realized what the boys had done.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Food that ministers to humanity

Many residents of Kalamazoo, Michigan, were thrilled last year when Trader Joe's opened a local store. But it didn't matter to the city's homeless. They could never afford to eat such expensive food, or could they? Earlier this month, the food store had a serious problem. It's freezers stopped working. But Trader Joe's knew what to do. They called the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, which serves 600 free meals every day to the homeless. The mission quickly assembled a team of employees and volunteers and went to Trader Joe's to pick up a donation of 35,000 pounds of food -- the biggest donation they have ever received. Greg Weaver, director of the mission's food services, said, "We'll just have to cook our way through it."

                                                                                                                      Kalamazoo Gazette
What really stood out to mission staff was the quality of the food donated. Ribeye steaks, salmon fillets, orange chicken, gourmet cheese and high-quality produce are not usually served at the mission. Weaver explains why the donation was so important. "It's one thing to eat food that gets you by. It's another thing to eat food that ministers to your humanity. Every opportunity we have to uplift somebody's dignity through food, we aim to do it. Trader Joe's helped us accomplish that."

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

What does it mean to be Muslim?

In October, 2016, Abraham Davis and two friends defaced the Masjid Al Salam mosque in Forth Smith, Arkansas, with swastikas and hateful messages. Security cameras caught them in the act, and warrants were issued for their arrest. Filled with instant regret, Davis turned himself in. He wrote to members of the mosque, "I know you guys probably don't want t hear from me at all, but I really want to say I'm sorry for having a hand n vandalizing your mosque. I hurt you and I'm haunted by it, and you still forgive me. You are much better people than I am."

                                                                                                                  4029 News
The mosque decided not to press charges, but Davis was fined about $3,200, and if he failed to pay it, he'd go to jail for six years. Eventually mosque president Al Salam Louay Nassn heard that Davis might not be able to keep up payments on his fine. "We heard he was having financial problems," the president said, "and we didn't want him to go to jail for six years." So last December 11, a representative of the mosque went to the Sebastian County Courthouse with a cashier's check for $1,731, to completely pay off Davis's fine.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Can Santa and Jesus work together?

Andie lives in Bedford, Indiana. She's five years old, and they were not easy years. During her first four years, she was shuffled in and out of more than a dozen households until she moved in with Nikki and Greg West. "We fell in love with Andie when we first met her," said Nikki, but adoption is a long process, so Andie prayed. She told Jesus she only wanted two things, a forever family and a kitten. When her birthday passed without an answer from Jesus, she prayed again and told him it was okay. She knew he was busy healing people. But could He tell Santa before Christmas?

                                                                                                                 Nikki and Greg West
(Now is the time to find a tissue.) Days before Christmas, the Wests learned the state had approved their adoption request, so they hatched a plan. On Dec. 21, the family's Christmas elf was found with a note. Andie asked her Mom to read it. It said the family should put on nice clothes and go to a special address for two surprises. The GPS eventually took them to the Lawrence County Courthouse. Andie was still clutching the note when she hurried in and saw Santa in a chair next to a Christmas tree. She rushed to hug him and gave him her note. He took her hand and walked her into a courtroom, where she sat down as he approached Judge Andrea McCord and whispered to her. The judge turned to Andie and said Santa said she had been very good for a long time, and only had two wishes. "Is that what you really want?" she asked. "Yes!" said Andie firmly. So the judge pronounced her "Andie West" and Santa gave her a necklace with her new name on it. After restoring order, she read a letter from the Martin County animal shelter saying a very special kitten had arrived from the North Pole and was waiting to be adopted. The Wests drove to the the shelter, where Andie claimed guardianship of Fuzzy.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

A fence lined with free homemade caps

An 83-year-old woman from Plymouth, Massachusetts, has knitted 75 warm hats for young people, but she refuses to take any credit. "I like doing them," she says, "I think it's fun. I just like to stay in the background. It makes me feel good that I can do something for someone."

It takes her all day to make just one cap, so she was working pretty hard before the Christmas holidays. Finally her daughter hung all 75 hats in plastic bags along a fence at Nelson Memorial Park. Plymouth gets cold in the winter, and a few days later, only four hats were left. "If I ever see anybody in Market Basket or something wearing one of these hats, I'm thrilled to pieces," said the anonymous knitter.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

High school athletes now heros

Three rottweiler mix dogs were spotted in an industrial park in Bergen, New Jersey, during the recent icy cold weather. The mother and two puppies were trying to stay warm on a filthy blanket. When police could not round up the dogs, North Bergen High School athletes volunteered to go out of New Year's Eve and help.

The dogs had been outside for a couple of days, and took 12 hours to finally catch them. Police say the pups were "really nervous" when taken to an animal shelter, but now they are fine. "It's very impressive that all these high schoolers came together and took the time to do this," said Kaley Nugent of St. Hubert's Animal Center.

Friday, January 5, 2018

San Francisco hotel goes extra mile for guests

In quality hotels, you often expect room service, a mini-bar, a fluffy robe and maybe a mint on your pillow. But the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco goes the extra mile. Guests are advised that if they wish, they may ring the front desk and order this puppy.

                                                                                                                               Hotel Nikko
His name is Buster Posey, and he's the "Chief Canine Officer" at the hotel. News of Buster's important job has gone viral, and the pup's pawesome antics can be followed on Instagram and Twitter. If you're staying at the hotel and dial zero, the operator will check Buster's schedule. If he's available, he's yours to cuddle.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

School janitor has two storage closets

Carolyn Collins is a custodian at Tucker High School in Tucker, Georgia. This Christmas she was surprised when friends gave her unexpected gifts and contributed over $1,000 to buy supplies for her "other" janitor closet.

One of her closets contains mops and brooms and cleaning supplies. But the other closet is filled with everything a homeless high school student might need, including food, clothing and school supplies. She has helped many students, and you can see how by visiting

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

When brutal honesty is the best answer

Elementary school teachers sometimes find unexpected answers on tests. We predict this child will have great success in life.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Walmart employee prevents scam

Cecil Rodgers of Cincinnati, Ohio, looked forward to enjoying Christmas with his family this year until he got a phone call from someone claiming to be his oldest grandson. The grandson said he'd hit a woman's car and she was seven months pregnant. He was charged with drunk driving and was in jail. He then put a lawyer on the phone, who explained to Rodgers that he must send a $2,300 bail bond to free his grandson. It must be done by a direct Walmart store-to-store transfer. So Rodgers headed to the nearest Walmart with his Christmas money.

His transaction was managed by Walmart clerk Audrella Taylor, and Rodgers told her why he needed to transfer the money. She sensed that something was amiss, and told Rodgers to go back home and call his other relatives to see they had heard about the grandson's accident. They knew nothing about it. Rodgers says he's not a wealthy man, and was relieved not to lose  $2,300, thanks to Taylor's quick thinking.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Yes, Betzabe, there is a Santa Claus

On December 14, eight-year-old Betzabe Gomez went to a neighbor's house to write a letter to Santa. Her neighbor, Araceli Ramos, read the letter and decided to take action. Betzabe's father is seriously ill after five strokes and dialysis. Her mother had to quit her job to care for him. They are raising five children and their home was damaged by hurricane Harvey. They have no money for roof repair, so they collect the rainwater in a bucket. Betzabe's note said,"Dear Santa, I need help in my house because when it is raining, the rain comes in. What if it floods in there?" But Betzabe didn't expect to get something for nothing. She promised to leave Santa "cookies and milk" plus water and carrots for his reindeer.

Betzabe had not mentioned her leaky roof to anyone, for fear of being bullied at school. So Ramos reached out to friends, non-profits and businesses. Everyone wanted to help. School administrators bought Christmas gifts for the Gomez children. Texas State Representative Armando Walle (D-Houston) brought a ladder and put a blue tarp over the roof, secured with cinder blocks. He also donated two space heaters since the house has no heat, and hopes to find the family a new home. Donations kept pouring in, and Betzabe was showered with gifts during a Christmas party put together by the community. All because she had the courage to ask Santa for help.