Good News Thursday: Social post helps the hungry during Ramadan, 88-year-old’s daily doodles donate to charity

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Facebook post helps feed others during Ramadan

Mariam Yehia prepares to distribute food during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Yehia has a Ramadan tradition of buying hot meals and driving around to hand them out to the needy in Cairo so they can break their fast during the Muslim holy month. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

Mariam Yehia has a tradition with her mom and friend to donate food during Ramadan so that people can break their fasts. This year a Facebook post about a chef, Mahmoud Kamal, needing financial help sparked more ways for Yehia to help. Instead of making the meals themselves, Yehia, her mom and friend bought 60 meals from the chef to support him and feed those in need. She then made a post of her own encouraging others to buy from the chef and other chefs who need support, which received about a thousand shares. 

Jana El Daour, Yehia’s friend who made the original post, doesn’t think much of the act. She’s only glad that people are helping each other during such a sacred time. But to Kamal the post has been a huge benefit to his business, with new customers calling and ordering food every day. “Often we have this negative outlook on life and on people,” El Daour said. “But this just proved that people are still good, still share, still support and still help each other.”

88-year-old finishes year of daily doodles

Artist Robert Seaman holds up the 365th daily doodle sketch in his room at an assisted living facility. He moved into the facility weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown his outside world in 2020. Seaman recently completed his 365th daily sketch, or what he calls his “Covid Doodles”, since being isolated due to the virus outbreak. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

88-year-old artist Robert Seaman just completed his full year of daily doodles, which began at the start of the pandemic. The initiative was a way to regenerate his passion for illustrating while stuck inside his assisted living facility. Seaman had moved into the facility just two weeks before COVID-19 restrictions were put into place. When the restriction began, residents were kept in their rooms with no interaction for months. So Seaman decided to rekindle his passion for sketching by deciding to do a daily sketch, which he calls his “COVID Doodles,” in order to lighten his mood. 

At first the sketches featured somber tones of isolation. Seaman would send the works to his daughter and other friends and family. But as his daily doodles became more popular, he began selling his work on Etsy and giving half of the proceeds to charities. As the days passed, the tone of the drawings became lighter and more whimsical. His 365th drawing titled “Potpourri” features a cat, a man on horse, various trinkets and even a man in an aviator hat and glasses. Even though 2020 is long over, Seaman has no plans to stop. “It’s selfish. It keeps me occupied, and I love doing it, but it also does help some other people, which is kind of nice,” he told the Associated Press. “Maybe I’ll get so shaky I can’t do anything, but as long as I can, I will.”

98-year-old holds virtual women’s group

Trudy Berlin looks at a book during her weekly Zoom session at the Levis Jewish Community Center. She’s grown a steady audience of about 50 women from the U.S. and Canada who have come to view the class as a support group. (AP Photo/Cody Jackson)

Trudy Berlin held her women’s group “The Ladies Room” at the Levis Jewish Community Center before the pandemic. But last year when quarantine began, the weekly meetings were put on a halt. So with the help of Stephanie Owitz, the center’s director of arts, culture and learning, the group went virtual. The 98-year-old leads the group in discussions covering everything from grief to politics. 

The group loves Berlin, some even calling her “Jewish Oprah.” There are over 50 women who meet, mostly 70 years old and older. Berlin encourages the women to speak on difficult topics and express their opinions. She now hosts the virtual meeting from the Community Center. Marilyn Snider attends the meetings and loves the discussions. “She challenges us, she makes us think,” Snider told the Associated Press. “Her energy is absolutely unbelievable. She brings out thoughts that you never thought you would ever express.”

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