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Food Truck Owner Donates Meals To People In Need

Sarah Manuel is no ordinary person–this food truck owner donates meals to people in need.

Sarah Manuel, food truck owner of Streatery, has decided to make it her mission to give back to her community by donating meals to people in need due to the government response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Manuel is on her fourth season running Streatery, and one thing that has never sat right with her is the amount of food that gets wasted in the industry. On top of that waste, she saw people suffer and facing hunger due to the government’s response to the pandemic.

The Havre Daily News reports that Manuel made the decision to do something about both issues, beginning her frozen meals program immediately after government lockdowns began. “I started this a year ago, when Covid set in, that was when we launched our line of freezer meals which we now sell at Bear Paw Meats. Some of that [food waste] is through the distributors, some of it’s at grocery stores, a lot of restaurants, and in the home. So I was trying to find a solution.”

The idea to help those in need and preserve food that would have otherwise been wasted started off small. “The way that we distribute is pretty low-key at this point. People just reach out to me, whether it’s an organization that has families, especially around the holidays, that was something we were doing to provide free meals for those families. I’ve also reached out to churches in the area and things of that nature to try to spread the word.”

To Manuel, it was the next logical step to gather support for this idea to help it grow. “I did everything on the GoFundMe platform, individuals who had a little extra money could donate to the GoFundMe. Then those funds were used to provide frozen meals for families who were maybe going through a tougher time financially.”

Food Truck Owner Donates
Sarah Manuel serves up some of her delicious food at Streatery. Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

The frozen meals program that Manuel started hasn’t just assisted struggling individuals and families but also food production businesses. Streatery is now helping support over 20 such businesses in Montana. She found herself with a lot of free time due to the pandemic and was able to use this to build the program up.

Catering is a large portion of her work and the lack of events due to government mandates left a hole in the usual business plan. She still had connections and the ability to acquire great local organic ingredients and used this to help others. While she was able to stay afloat during the peak of the lockdowns, she managed to support others as well through her ingenuity.

The process itself is rather simple while the results are profound. As explained by Manuel: “We have a food truck, but we also have a commercial prep kitchen separate from the food truck, and so we do all of our prep there. I have a lot of freezer space. So we make everything homemade and package it ourselves, freeze it, store it. Right now we’re just doing local delivery. So, we deliver to Bear Paw Meals in Havre and sell there. We also take orders on our website.”

Now with government restrictions on events decreasing, her food truck catering business has been able to build back up. Being able to cater weddings and major events again increases her ability to help others. Manuel is using her passion for food and her Streatery business to continue making her community a better place.

Manuel is running a fundraiser targeting food insecurity to continue addressing hunger and food waste. She is very excited about being able to expand her frozen meals program and enjoy events again.

Sarah Manuel has made a noticeable impact in her community by targeting a need she saw and could assist with. She voluntarily took the time and resources to find out how to best fix what she could for those around her. She and her business at Streatery have no plans to stop helping others anytime soon.

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Man Volunteers to Clean Up The Local Environment

Gus Vandermeeren was inspired to action when he saw an advertisement on TV concerning plastic pollution in the ocean. After seeing the commercial he said, “I sat there and thought ‘What the hell am I doing?’” So the 62 year-old computer engineer decided that there must be something he could do to clean up the local environment.

Since then he’s been spending his free time picking up trash on the side of road around the east Raleigh area. He has also taken the time to log his adventures, as he calls them, to document what he has done and where. He does this in a composition notebook he found while cleaning up the litter. He said, “ Pretty soon it became a passion and obsession. I have always had a feeling that I am not really happy unless I am being useful to society in some way.”

A little over a year later, WRAL reports that Vandermeen has picked up more than 2,000 trash bags of litter that he has come across during his adventures. Vandermeeren takes them all to the dump to be disposed of leaving the roads and earth cleaner. Now he has two dozen plus volunteers who come with him and help in his mission to clean up the absurd amount of litter. They joined him after seeing him in action and hearing about him on the NextDoor app.

Trent Parson is one of those who was inspired by Gus Vandermeeren and his work saying, “We all have to have a little bit of Gus inside of us.” Parson, 29, wishes that more people in his peer group and generation would develop the desire to help clean up that Gus has, specifically calling for Millenials to answer the call and do more to make the earth a cleaner and better place. “It’s really hard to get other people to be less of themselves. We have to make this world a better place for all of us.”

Gus Vandermeeren has now adopted two state roads in North Carolina through its Department of Transportation. He continues to do his work in the community knowing that its impact may not seem large but it truly makes a difference. “This is not a job for a perfectionist. Even if it gets really dirty again, it doesn’t change the fact that every piece of plastic I just picked up and put in my bag is never going to go in the creek somewhere [and] is never going to float out into the ocean somewhere.”

It’s amazing the impact just one man can have on his world and in their community. He saw an issue that he could take steps to correct and did so of his own accord, and in the process inspired dozens of others to do the same. Gus Vandermeeren and his accomplishment of collecting over 2,000 trash bags of litter is a nice story about how much you can do by leading by example and stepping up to the plate to address an issue rather than wait around for others to do so.

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8-Year-Old Donates Money to Children’s Hospital and Animal Rescue

8-year-old Kendall Manuel found herself stuck in the house with a lot of time on her hands once her dad was diagnosed with Covid-19. It started with a school assignment that had her making potholders from cotton loops. Her teacher would come by their home to drop off the supplies she needed. Kendall didn’t stop with the assignment and just kept on making the potholders. She has made over 150 of them at a rate of about 3 per day. She told CNYCentral, “I wanted to keep going because they are fun.”

8-Year-Old Donates Money to Children’s Hospital and Animal Rescue

She began to sell them online and started to make a little bit of money. Kendall’s mother figured that she was going to use the profits to purchase a video game console she had her eyes on. But much to her mother’s surprise she donated the money she had made—over $1,300—rather than spend the money on something for herself. She donated the money to Golisano Children’s Hospital and to the Home Stretch Dog Haven in Moravia. Her mom was overcome with emotion and teared up when she heard what she was doing with the money, “When she told me I instantly started crying because I was so proud, at her age I never would have thought of that.” Indeed, how many of us as 8-year-olds would have thought to donate money to a children’s hospital and animal rescue charities?

Kendall is currently still making the potholders and continues to donate her profits rather than keep them for herself. Once word spread about what she was doing the orders just kept on coming in. She also likes to add a personal “Thank You” note with each potholder. She has no plans on stopping even with school picking back up saying, “I love making potholders, so I wanted to keep doing it for other people.”

8-Year-Old Donates Money to Children’s Hospital and Animal Rescue

No one told her what to do with the sudden incoming money she was making, and this 8-year-old took it upon herself to voluntarily donate the money she was making—making lives better for others in her area and setting an amazing example for those around her as well as impressing her very proud parents. A quote from a post from her product’s Facebook page probably sums up this caring child best: “Along with doing her schoolwork and making potholders, Kendall is still doing chores to earn enough money to buy the Nintendo Switch that she gave up so she could donate the money that she has made from Potholders! This 8-year-old is AMAZING!” We really couldn’t say it better our self. It’s a touching story and a shining example of what people, even young children, can do to make the world a little brighter.

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IRS Rewarding Charity Efforts by Stealing $16,000

When the government began its destructive response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Louis Goffinet determined to help his neighbors weather the storm. But no good deed goes unpunished, and now the IRS is demanding that Goffinet pay more than $16,000 in taxes for helping the needy.

As the Hartford Courant reports, in April 2020 Goffinet started a fundraiser on Facebook, asking his friends to chip in a few dollars to help buy food for struggling neighbors that the government put out of work. By the time summer hit, more than $30,000 had poured in. Goffinet, a middle-school teacher who was stuck at home doing Zoom classes, used the money to buy and deliver food, help with rent, and buy gasoline for over 100 families in Connecticut.

IRS Rewarding Charity Efforts by Stealing
Louis Goffinet, right, a middle school teacher from Mansfield, started shopping for some elderly friends who were nervous about going to the grocery store. (Mark Mirko / Hartford Courant)

The University of Connecticut hailed Goffinet as a “local hero”. A local Dominos Pizza began chipping in with pizzas for the recipients of the donated funds. Goffinet started a second fundraiser, which gathered another $10,000 in donations. 

Everything seemed to be going great for Goffinet’s charity efforts—until he got a letter from Facebook telling him that he owed about $16,000 in taxes on the donated money. The IRS requires third-party transaction sites like Facebook to issue a 1099-K form on transactions greater that $20,000. And unlike ordinary people, the IRS is evil and does not care that Goffinet spent the money on needy families.

Louis Goffinet ready to deliver groceries to struggling families in his area. (Louis Goffinet)

Goffinet told the Hartford Courant that he was “shocked” to receive the bill. “It’s such a big amount. It’s not like I can say, ‘Oh, for the next month or two, I’ll dial down my expenses and I’ll save $16,000.’”

Yet, unless he can get enough new donations to help cover the amount demanded, that’s exactly what he’ll have to do—or face confiscation of his property by the IRS. Registration as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization could conceivably have helped Goffinet avoid the tax bill, but that’s no small task.

At Voluntaryism In Action, many hours every month are devoted to filling out paperwork to keep our tax-exempt status. This isn’t reasonable for anyone, let alone a 27-year-old science teacher who’s just trying to help his neighbors. And this isn’t the first time that the government has tried to hurt people who’ve helped others during the pandemic. But this is yet another way that the government victimizes people: by punishing those who are efficient at providing aid to others—when they do not follow the government’s arbitrary rules.

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Dizzy Gastro Sports Pub feeds people in wake of Covid-19

A small town pub did what they could in the face of government restrictions to alleviate the extra stress brought on by the pandemic during the holiday season. Chris Murie, owner of The Dizzy Gastro Sports Pub in Toronto has been in “The Biz” for about 30 years, starting in the back of the house and as a chef. As an owner, he saw profits declining and employees struggling to get by due to the pandemic and the forced government lockdowns. In his frustration, he realized he was better off than many in his community. Many of the businesses local to him are now up for lease as the lockdowns continued.

When asked during an interview with CBC what the process was of deciding who they were handing out meals to, he replied: “No questions asked. Just call the pub. You tell us where you work or where you worked, give us your dietary restrictions, your food allergies, and we’ll have a hot meal ready for you.” As word spread around the tight-knit community The Dizzy Gastro Sports Pub received offers to partner with breweries. The breweries who loved his idea wanted to find a way to help as well. They lent a hand by offering drinks to go with the meals.

Dizzy Gastro Sports Pub
Chris Murie, owner of The Dizzy Gastro Sports Pub.

Murie got the idea after posting a long Faceboook “rant” centered around his frustration in seeing his community struggle. The expanded and increased lockdowns recently announced were causing further harm to small businesses in the area, forcing many to close. But what really got the ball rolling were the comments under his post. Particularly the ones describing their personal experience. Paraphrasing the general sentiment, he described the comments that led him to change his mindset, “You know Chris at least you still have the business. At least you still have a way of making a living and supporting your family. And if you apply yourself you’ll get through this.” Murie went on to say, “For some of these folks they have zero. Like, they have nothing. And it made me feel real selfish, especially at this time of year. It’s not a time to be selfish. It’s a time to give, and that’s sorta how it all went down.”

The owner of the locally loved Dizzy Gastro Pub could not be prouder of the way the community has come together. “This is an amazing neighborhood. I’ve been here for 15 years. We went through construction down here about 12 years ago and this neighborhood supported us through all of that. And I couldn’t be luckier to be in the neighborhood that we’re in. We are getting a ton of phone calls. The breweries are kicking in beer here. People are bringing free pop today. It’s just, it’s an incredible neighborhood, it really is, it’s like a little village.”

Dizzy Gastro Sports Pub

When asked about the future of The Dizzy Gastro Pub during the lockdowns and pandemic he replied, “Well, we don’t know. The truth is we don’t know what’s gonna happen. We have a good landlord who is working with us, as we’ve been here for so long. So, we’re fortunate there. It just depends on what happens with our takeout and delivery, and if it’s enough to meet our fixed costs every month.” Despite the uncertain future he gladly lent a helping hand to the people in their small town.

 Murie decided to be generous in a time of personal need to help his community. Even though he was also hurting from the pandemic and lockdowns, he was fortunate enough to be in a position to help others. And he voluntarily did just that. The following quote he gave during the interview pretty much summed up his mentality behind offering to feed those struggling saying, “I can’t do a lot. I’m just a little guy, but we can give them a positive experience and offer them a hot meal.”

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Barristers Sponsor Food Bank Renovation

Barristers sponsor food bank renovation in honor of Joe Burke at Debra Dynes Family House.

An Ottawa-based food bank was in desperate need of some much-needed renovations. Barristers for a Better Bytown, a charity that operates by raising funds to help support other charitable organizations, took on the $17,000 project for the food bank at Debra Dynes Family House. They decided to dedicate this particular project to Joe Burke, an Ottawa criminal defense lawyer.

In Joe’s time as a lawyer he often took on cases with little to no pay and dedicated his time and craft defending marginalized groups who ended up in the criminal justice system. He was particularly known for defending the rights of Indigenous people. He became interested in spending his time helping those who were caught up in the criminal justice system when he went to Queen’s University and became a member of the Correctional Law Project. This project focused on working with inmates, where his interest in assisting Indigenous people began. He would often meet with elders in prison sweat lodges.

barristers sponsor food bank renovation
Joe Burke. PHOTO BY WAYNE HIEBERT /Postmedia files

During his time working with inmates and Indigenous people he became close friends with fellow defense lawyer Mark Ertel. According to the Ottowa Citizen, Ertel says the charity is dedicated to assist the Debra Dynes Family House whenever possible. Burke passed away nearly 20 years ago but his legacy of helping others still lives on. Barristers for a Better Bytown thought it would be an excellent opportunity to pay their respects to a man who dedicated his life to helping those whose in need. He’s even honored annually at the Joe Burke Wolfe Island Literary Festival, which was started by locally adored musician David Bidini of the Rhestatics. Joe Burke was an excellent example of the kind of impact one man can voluntarily have on so many, by living a life lead by loving and caring for others.

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Volunteer Rescues 100 Pounds of Food

Sometimes, helping people is just a matter of keeping your eyes open. This was the case with one of our volunteers who was on the lookout for opportunities to help at his local hospital. He discovered that the hospital was tossing out almost 100 pounds of a nutritional supplement that was slightly over the best-buy date. He also knew that the local food bank accepts non-perishable items up to a year after their best-buy date. It was a simple matter to politely ask if he could take the supplements to the food bank. The hospital staff cheerfully agreed, and even helped him carry the boxes to his car.

volunteer rescues 100 pounds of food
Our friendly volunteer dropping off the rescued food at the food bank.

Because one person was on the lookout for ways to help, the food bank got 100 pounds of food that otherwise would have been wasted. “I’m just glad I was able to help,” the volunteer said. “It just cost me a quick drive, and this food could really help people.” Voluntary giving doesn’t have to be a matter of money. Sometimes all that’s necessary is keeping a lookout for opportunities and having the will to take advantage of them.

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FDA Tried To Punish Distilleries for Helping During the Pandemic

One good turn deserves a hefty slap on the wrist. That seems to be the sentiment at the FDA. In the early days of the pandemic, distilleries started producing hand sanitizer to meet a hugely increased demand. But the FDA tried to punish distilleries for helping during the pandemic.

When the mainstream news told people to panic about the coronavirus, they happily obliged. PPE and hand sanitizer were soon sold out everywhere. But as we knew, people still wanted to help others voluntarily. Distilleries decided that since they produce alcohol for drinking, switching to alcohol for sanitizing would be an easy way to help their communities.

Many distilleries, especially community-minded local craft distilleries, started producing hand sanitizer. Aaron Bergh, president and distiller at Calwise Spirits in Paso Robles, California, was one example. “Some of my hand sanitizer was donated,” he said in a statement to Reason.com. “The rest was sold at a fraction of the market price.”

FDA Tried To Punish distilleries for helping during the pandemic
(Calwise Spirits)

This served a dual role of helping the community by providing sanitizer and jobs—jobs which were nearly lost due to the government’s lockdowns. Bergh said “My goal was to get as much [sanitizer] out as I could, at as low of a price as I could, while being able to bring my furloughed employees back to work. The hand sanitizer business saved me from bankruptcy—but I didn’t make an enormous profit.”

But a nasty surprise awaited the generous entrepreneurs: because they made hand sanitizer, the CARES act classifies them as “over-the-counter drug monograph facilities.” This means that FDA is punishing distilleries for helping during the pandemic with a $14,060 fine. Many of these distilleries are small businesses—already struggling financially due to government regulations and lockdowns.

FDA Tried To Punish distilleries for helping during the pandemic
Robby Verheyen of 4 Hands Brewing Company loads gallon jugs of hand sanitizer into a van for delivery in St. Louis on Friday, March 27, 2020. (BILL GREENBLATT/UPI/Newscom)

“We want to push back on this,” said Becky Harris, president of the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) and of Catoctin Creek Distilling in Purcellville, Virginia. The distilleries only produced hand sanitizer for a short time, in a public-spirited response to a crisis. “If you were making sanitizer for your community at a limited capacity, this should not be something you have to deal with,” says Harris. “It will be a slap in the face to make it through all of this and then get hit with this bill.”

Fortunately, thanks to a huge public outcry, the Department of Health and Human Services stepped in to cancel the fines on these do-gooder distilleries. But the punishment for helping during a pandemic, simply to gather more money for the government, should never have been considered. It’s ironic that the CARES Act—the government’s alleged effort to help people during the COVID pandemic—would have hurt the very people who voluntarily stepped up to help, as when the FDA tried to punish distilleries for helping during the pandemic. But that’s the nature of government intervention—someone is always hurt. And it strengthens our case that voluntary charity is more effective than government welfare—and that voluntaryism is the only moral way to organize a society.

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Alpenglow Sports: A Ski Shop that Gives Back

On Tahoe City’s main street exists a ski and climbing shop that is more than what it appears. With a consistent base of local customers and visitors, Alpenglow Sports has been a city staple since its opening in 1979. Its wooden cozy interior and friendly atmosphere has attracted a lot of thrill seekers who are drawn to taking on the mountains. With the current COVID pandemic, the shop has had to adjust their policies to correspond with social distancing measures and took a hit on sales badly during the onset of stay-at-home orders issued by the government—like many other small businesses who have suffered during lockdowns. But after some help from the Tahoe community, Alpenglow has continued to have lines out the door onto the sidewalks of Main Street. While Alpenglow is mainly a ski shop utilized for gear and other like necessities, it is also a ski shop that gives back, thanks to the efforts of the generous owner Brenden Madigan and their successful fundraising for local non-profits.  

Ski Shop that Gives Back
The inside of Alpenglow ski shop. Looks warm and inviting, doesn't it? Photo by Scott Rokis/Courtesy of Alpenglow

This fall, Alpenglow sports raised over $300,000 for local NPOs while they hosted an event called the Alpenglow Winter Speaker Series. This is an annual event is centered around sharing stories, and photos of adventures had in the mountains while paying it forward through inspiration and charity. Alpenglow has hosted slideshows for many figures of outdoor sports including American rock climber Tommy Caldwell and ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson.

During the fifteen years of the Winter Speaker Series history, over half a million dollars in total has been raised and given to various non-profits like the Sierra Avalanche Center and the Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe. This event is a special time for the local residents and visitors to experience togetherness and show their support for improving their community. It is a free event, but all proceeds from raffles and bar sales go to non-profits. The Alpenglow Winter Speaker Series is just one of the experiential events that Brendan Madigan, the owner of Alpenglow, has created in North Lake Tahoe. There is also the Broken Arrow Skyrace and the Alpenglow Mountain Festival.

ski shop that gives back
The Donor Party, established in 2018, is the philanthropic arm of the Alpenglow Winter Speaker Series. Photo courtesy of Alpenglow

“Alpenglow has always been an influential part of the Tahoe and greater-than-Tahoe Community,” expresses Dave Nettle, who has also had a slideshow featured in the Winter Speaker Series about his experiences as a mountain guide and skier.

The owner of Alpenglow Sports is Brenden Madigan, who has been working at Alpenglow since 2003. He purchased the shop in 2011, and since then has made it a personal mission to center the shop’s importance around reciprocating the love the long standing community has that has kept Alpenglow alive in its forty year life span. “I think people derive happiness not from things, but from experiences and relationships. Our whole business centers arounds giving back to the community,” says Madigan.

Madigan’s efforts have created a centerpiece for events and fundraising, and during the current pandemic, he stresses that the need has never been greater saying, “People are struggling. My goal is to move the needle in the community by making direct impact in people’s lives.”


It was during the initial COVID lockdowns that Madigan reached out to his community for Alpenglow. Its future was looking grim. The response was overwhelming, and they were able to sell over $100,000 worth of gift cards to keep going. But since then – business hasn’t stopped and Madigan plans to keep his doors open for a long time.

And truly, what a perfect example of the power of giving individuals who stop at nothing to help improve the place where they live by exercising voluntaryism and kindness. North Lake Tahoe, you have wonderful residents and small business owners whose tireless work allows the wheel to keep turning.

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Chef is Offering Free Meals to Jobless

One of the only good things about the tyrannical reaction to the pandemic has been the outpouring of support for people the government has hurt. Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs due to state restrictions and lockdowns. But people are stepping up to help where the government inevitably hurts. For example, one chef is offering free meals to jobless individuals at his restaurants.

Chef Andrew Gruel (his food is better than his name) is a judge on the Food Network and the co-host of the SoCal Restaurant Show. He also owns Slapfish Seafood—a restaurant chain with 27 locations in the US—and the Big Parm pizzeria. On 3 December, Chef Gruel took to Twitter to remind everyone that people who had lost their jobs could get a free meal at his restaurants.

Chef is Offering Free Meals to Jobless

Hundreds of commenters raved about not only the Chef’s food, but about his kindness and generosity, and his willingness to assist those whom the state had harmed. Some people even offered to pay for the meals of jobless folks who take Chef Gruel up on his offer.

Chef is Offering Free Meals to Jobless

Predictably, not everyone was happy about people helping other people. The propaganda put out by the government and mainstream media has warped many people’s sense of right and wrong, even to the point where voluntarily helping people in distress is denounced as “selfishness.”

Chef is Offering Free Meals to Jobless
Fortunately, most negative comments were few and far between.

Another common criticism of charity such as Chef Gruel’s is that greedy people will take advantage of his generosity, nobody will pay for meals, and he’ll lose money and go out of business. On the contrary, over the weekend the restaurants pulled in double the usual business as people flocked in to support Chef Gruel. And that money, Chef Gruel said, would be used to give his employees a holiday bonus.

The general condition of humanity is that people feel empathy for each other and want to help. This is why voluntary charity works—as the example of Chef Gruel and many more like him demonstrate.

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