National Volunteer Week, which takes place from April 18 to 24, is an annual opportunity to recognize and celebrate the impact that volunteer service can have on a community. It’s also an ideal time to learn more about the other benefits of donating your time to a worthy cause.
Boost your physical and mental health
Various studies have shown that volunteering can contribute to better physical health. Depending on the type of activities you do as a volunteer, you can actually reduce your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, lessen symptoms of chronic pain, improve cognitive function and even live longer.
What’s more, volunteering can do wonders for your mental health. The social contact and sense of purpose that come with volunteering help reduce stress, anger, anxiety and depression. It can also improve your self-confidence and overall well-being.
Connect with a larger community
Since it was first established in 1974, National Volunteer Week has grown exponentially. Today, thousands of volunteer projects and special events are organized throughout the week, bringing together people from all walks of life who want to help their communities.
If you want to give back and enjoy the benefits of volunteering, you can use the Points of Light Engage database to find thousands of opportunities in your neighborhood and around the world. Visit engage.pointsoflight.org today.
For more information about National Volunteer Week, visit pointsoflight.org/nvw.
Dining Close to Home: How to Incorporate More Local Foods into Your Meals
Transforming Your Dinner Table, One Local Ingredient at a Time.
In an age where convenience often trumps consciousness, the origin of our meals can sometimes be an afterthought. We often consume foods that have traveled thousands of miles, passing through multiple supply chains before finally gracing our dinner tables. However, a shift toward local eating is gaining momentum, backed by advocates for sustainable agriculture and community development. How can you take part in this culinary revolution? Here are five actionable tips to help you dine closer to home.
Navigate the Supermarket Smartly
It’s not uncommon to find locally sourced items even in the vast maze of a supermarket. Look for tags or signage that indicate a product was made or grown in your region. Some stores even go as far as dedicating an entire section to local produce, helping you make your selections with ease. Companies like Whole Foods Market have been instrumental in promoting local sourcing, thus pushing even more mainstream supermarkets to do the same.
Eat with the Seasons
The notion of “seasonal eating” is more than just a food trend; it’s a practice rooted in environmental consciousness. Buying in-season fruits and vegetables not only maximizes freshness but also minimizes the carbon footprint of your food. Beyond this, there’s a joy in rediscovering your local flavors throughout the year, each season offering a new palate of taste experiences. Freezing, preserving, or cooking larger batches can help you extend seasonal enjoyment throughout the year.
Be a Local Tourist
Farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and even agritourism experiences are becoming increasingly popular ways to shop for food. A weekend visit to an apple orchard or a family day at a local farm can make for a delightful and educational experience. Companies like Airbnb now even offer agritourism experiences as part of their portfolio, indicating the growing consumer interest in this area.
The Delivery Revolution
The subscription box trend has also entered the local food scene, offering curated baskets of locally sourced goods. Many farms have started delivering boxes of fresh produce, dairy, and meats directly to your doorstep. This practice ensures that you get the freshest possible ingredients while supporting local agriculture. Blue Apron, for example, has started including options for locally sourced ingredients as part of their meal kits.
Clicking Toward Local
E-commerce isn’t just for global retailers. Local farms and food producers are increasingly offering their goods online, making it easier than ever to shop locally from the comfort of your own home. Websites like LocalHarvest offer a comprehensive directory of such options.
The journey to a more local and sustainable diet can start right in your grocery cart. It’s an endeavor that not only enriches your meals but also contributes to community building and environmental preservation. With more resources available than ever to guide you in this journey—from directories like Eat Well Guide and Farm Aid to local food basket subscriptions—embracing local food has never been more accessible or more rewarding.
October Celebrity Birthdays!
Do you share a birthday with a celebrity?
1 – Julie Andrews, 88, singer, actress, born Julia Wells, Walton-on-Thames, England, 1935.
2 – Sting, 72, singer, born Gordon Sumner, London, 1951.
3 – Alicia Vikander, 35, actress (The Danish Girl), Gothenburg, Sweden, 1988.
4 – Clifton Davis, 78, Singer, actor (That’s My Mama), Chicago, IL, 1945.
5 – Jesse Eisenberg, 40, actor (Batman v Superman), New York, NY, 1983.
6 – Stephanie Zimbalist, 67, actress (Remington Steele), Encino, CA, 1956.
7 – Vladimir Putin, 71, President of Russia, St Petersburg (then Lenningrad), Russia, 1952.
8 – Rona Barrett, 87, gossip columnist, New York, NY, 1936.
9 – Tony Shalhoub, 70, actor (Monk), Green Bay, WIm 1953.
10 – Ben Vereen, 77, actor (Sweet Charity), singer, dancer, Miami, FL, 1946.
11 – John Nettles, 80, actor (Poldark), Cornwall, England, 1943.
12 – Josh Hutcherson, 31, actor (The Hunger Games), Union, KY, 1992.
13 – Ashanti, 43, singer, actress (Coach Carter), born Ashanti Sequoiah Douglas, Long Island, NY, 1980.
14 – David Oakes, 40, actor (The Borgias), Hampshire, England, 1983.
15 – Linda Lavin, 84, actress (Alice), Portland, ME, 1939.
16 – Barry Corbin, 83, actor (Northern Exposure), Dawson County, TX, 1940.
17 – Felicity Jones, 40, actress (Rogue One), Birmingham, England, 1983.
18 – Ne-Yo, 44, singer, born Shaffer Chimere Smith Jr, Camden, AR, 1979.
19 – Rebecca Ferguson, 40, actress (Dune), born Rebecca Ferguson Sundstrom, Stockholm, Sweden, 1983.
20 – John Krasinski, 44, actor (The Office), director (A Quiet Place), Boston, MA, 1979.
21 – Kim Kardashian, 43, television personality, Los Angeles, CA, 1980.
22 – Jesse Tyler Ferguson, 48, actor (Modern Family), Missoula, MT, 1975.
23 – Emilia Clarke, 37, actress (Game of Thrones), London, England, 1986.
24 – Monica, 43, singer, born Monica Arnold, Atlanta, GA, 1980.
25 – Midori, 52, violinist, Osaka, Japan, 1971.
26 – Keith Urban, singer, Whangarei, New Zealand, 1969,
27 – Troy Gentile, 30, actor (The Goldbergs), born Troy Farshi, Boca Raton, FL, 1993.
28 – Dennis Franz, 79, actor (Hill Street Blues), Maywood, IL, 1944.
29 – Winona Ryder, 52, actress (Stranger Things), born Winona Horowitz, Winona, MN, 1971.
30 – Grace Slick, 84, singer, Chicago, IL, 1939.
31 – Liv Lisa Fries, 33, actress (Babylon Berlin), Berlin, Germany, 1990.
To Marry or Not to Marry: The Modern Dilemma
Legal, Emotional, and Financial Facets of Commitment in the 21st Century.
In a society where romantic relationships come in various forms and flavors, a perennial question seems to be capturing the hearts and minds of long-term couples: Should we tie the knot, or are we good as we are? For those pondering whether to keep their relationship under the common-law umbrella or take the matrimonial plunge, the implications stretch far beyond ceremonial considerations.
While the phrase “what’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is yours” rings as a romantic vow in the matrimonial context, its implications can be a double-edged sword when it comes to the legal division of assets. In many states, marriage signals an equal partnership in the eyes of the law, meaning that in the event of separation or divorce, each party is entitled to a fair share of all accumulated assets. In contrast, common-law partners may discover a starker reality: assets acquired during the relationship are not automatically divided.
Legal experts often come into play when couples want to protect themselves in the event of separation, illness, or the unthinkable loss of a partner. Notaries and attorneys can draft documents like cohabitation agreements or wills to ensure that no one finds themselves in a precarious financial or legal situation.
Beyond the pragmatics of law, a marriage often serves as an expression of love and commitment symbolized through time-honored rituals and the gathering of friends and family. Some argue that this formalization adds a layer of emotional security to a relationship, enhancing the connection between the two parties involved.
Yet, for others, the absence of a marriage certificate does not dilute the love or commitment felt toward their partner. In such cases, alternative celebrations, from commitment ceremonies to lavish vacations, can serve as equally potent expressions of a lifelong pledge to one another.
At the end of the day, whether to marry or continue as common-law partners is a deeply personal decision, affected by myriad factors, including cultural beliefs, financial stability, and mutual life goals. Some couples find that the structure and formal recognition of a marriage align with their long-term visions, while others prefer the flexibility and less cumbersome legal entanglements associated with a common-law partnership.
In the ever-evolving landscape of romantic partnerships, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of marital status. Both paths come with their own sets of advantages and drawbacks, and ultimately, the “right” choice will be as unique as the relationship itself. However, being informed about the legal, financial, and emotional implications of this significant decision can make all the difference in navigating this momentous life milestone.
Unlocking the Full Potential of Your Smartphone: A User’s Guide to Blissful Tech Living
Navigating the Quirks of Modern Mobile Tech for Optimal Productivity and Privacy.
In an era where 85% of Americans own a smartphone and rely on it for a multitude of tasks—ranging from communications and web browsing to navigation and online shopping—the question isn’t whether we are using these devices effectively but how we can maximize their potential for a more streamlined, frictionless experience.
If you’ve ever been interrupted by a robocall pitching an extended car warranty you didn’t ask for, you’re not alone. Both Android and iOS have built-in features to block known spammers, saving you from the awkward moment of rejecting a call during a meeting. While it’s not entirely foolproof against spam texts, both systems allow for blocking specific numbers, offering some respite from pesky marketers.
The cacophony of pings, dings, and rings can be overwhelming. Fortunately, you can declutter your digital life by turning off notifications from low-priority apps and websites. Social media platforms like Facebook offer the ‘snooze’ option for those contacts who are, let’s say, a bit too enthusiastic about sharing their life online.
The omnipresent eyes of location trackers in various apps can feel unnerving. While sharing your location can be useful, you may find tranquility in disabling this feature when not necessary. After all, peace of mind is priceless in the digital age.
Low battery anxiety is a modern-day conundrum many of us face. To alleviate this, consider turning off Siri or Google Assistant when not in use and opt for features like adaptive brightness. Low power modes can be a lifesaver when you’re far from a charger.
Storage issues can quickly turn your smartphone experience sour. Cloud storage services like Google Drive or Apple iCloud offer relief. Third-party apps like pCloud or Tresorit can also help keep your phone’s storage from hitting its limit, making room for what truly matters.
Brands like Google and Apple already invest heavily in educating consumers about these features. However, there’s a gap between brand messaging and actual utilization, a space where influencers and tech bloggers often step in. Third-party apps also have a golden opportunity to target audiences keen on enhancing their smartphone experience.
Owning a smartphone in today’s world is akin to having a supercomputer in your pocket. However, the sheer capabilities can also lead to complexities that hamper user experience. By tweaking settings and employing the right services, you can transform your smartphone from a cacophonous distraction to a harmonious tool of productivity and convenience. The key lies in understanding its capabilities and adjusting them to suit your lifestyle, something advertisers and tech companies should emphasize more in their messaging.
A Global Toast to the Bean: Uniting Coffee Lovers on International Coffee Day
October 1 Marks the Day for Caffeine Aficionados to Explore, Celebrate, and Sip Anew.
October 1, 2023, isn’t just the first blush of autumn or another ordinary day on the calendar; it’s a day that unites millions in their love for a particular beverage: coffee. As International Coffee Day dawns, cafes, roasters, and kitchens around the world will froth with activity. Whether it’s a comforting latte or an intense espresso that gets your motor running, there’s no better time to celebrate the world’s most popular stimulant.
Coffee is much more than just a morning pick-me-up. It’s a social ritual, a conversation starter, and, for many, an art form. What began as an obscure drink in the Ethiopian highlands has evolved into a global phenomenon, experienced in a multitude of ways across continents. From the espresso bars of Italy to the third-wave coffee shops in Portland, every culture has its unique way of enjoying this age-old beverage. Some like it hot and black; others prefer it iced and frothy. But regardless of the preparation, the allure of coffee is universally felt.
International Coffee Day isn’t just for the habitual coffee drinker who sticks to their usual order. It’s an open invitation to explore new avenues in the world of coffee. Why not take this occasion to buy a bag of freshly roasted beans from your local coffee roaster? Or, if you’re more adventurous, how about exploring some of the seasonal specialties that many cafes and restaurants offer? Whether it’s the pumpkin-spiced latte that heralds the fall or the intriguing espresso martinis that are redefining coffee culture, there’s something for everyone.
One of the notable shifts in coffee culture over the past few years has been the increasing focus on local sourcing and sustainability. Many local roasters are now forming direct relationships with coffee growers, ensuring not only the highest quality of beans but also fair practices and sustainability. It’s no longer just about the cup you hold in your hand but the journey those beans have made from farm to grinder to cup.
As we approach October 1, let’s pause to recognize the transformative power of this simple bean. It fuels our mornings, serves as an excuse to catch up with old friends, and even shapes the geography of our cities (how many of us have chosen our homes based on proximity to a beloved coffee shop?). This International Coffee Day, let’s not just sip on something delicious; let’s celebrate the complex and enriching world that coffee has created for all of us.
Warehouse Safety Under the Microscope: OSHA Launches National Emphasis Program
New OSHA Initiative Aims to Combat Hazards in Warehousing and Distribution.
In a pivotal move underscoring the importance of worker safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has rolled out its National Emphasis Program (NEP) with an exclusive focus on warehouses, distribution centers, and specific high-risk retail spaces. The ambition? To bring down the alarmingly high rate of accidents and injuries reported in these sectors.
This novel initiative by OSHA is set to be a beacon of hope for nearly two million workers laboring in the targeted industries. Through the NEP, OSHA plans to ramp up inspections, meticulously assessing the level of adherence to safety protocols and pinpointing hazards that could jeopardize the well-being of employees.
Several core areas have been earmarked for these inspections. They include:
- Powered Industrial Trucks: Considering the ubiquitous use of these trucks in warehouses, any malfunction or mismanagement could have dire consequences.
- Material Handling and Storage: Effective handling and appropriate storage are crucial in preventing unforeseen accidents.
- Walking-Working Surfaces: These must be free from obstacles and slip hazards to ensure smooth, risk-free movement of employees.
- Exits and Fire Protection: Adequate and clear exits, coupled with reliable fire safety measures, are non-negotiable in a safe workspace.
- Heat Exposure: With many warehouses devoid of proper cooling systems, the risk of heat-related ailments is real.
- Ergonomic Factors: Ensuring that the physical workload is optimized to prevent long-term health issues for workers is essential.
Safety and Health Magazine, leveraging data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, underscores the urgency of the NEP’s mission. The publication highlighted that injury and illness rates in warehousing and distribution are not only higher than in the broader private industry but in specific sectors. The numbers are staggering, exceeding twice the national average.
As the world of commerce grows, so does the role of warehouses and distribution centers. With this growth, however, comes an inherent responsibility to ensure that those who keep the wheels turning are not left vulnerable. The NEP is a testament to OSHA’s commitment to uplifting the safety standards in these pivotal industries. As we await the outcomes of this initiative, there’s renewed hope that the future of warehousing will be as much about human safety as it is about efficiency and productivity.