Get Up Early and Give Back

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

To download these free stories, please enter the newspaper publication you represent with your email address.
We will email you when we add new stories each month. Thanks!

Note: We are committed to keeping your e-mail address confidential. We do not sell, rent, or lease our contact data or lists to third parties.
Please see our privacy policy for details.

Please enter your organization and email above before downloading these articles.

Download PDF Word .doc Download Photo .jpg

Pass It On®

Get Up Early and Give Back

By The Foundation for a Better Life

On a Sunday morning so cold the only people on the streets are the unhoused, the Rev stands, wearing an apron, near the entrance to a warehouse. A line of people gathers outside the Reverend’s ministry. There’s free coffee while they wait. Volunteers inside arrived early to get cooking: Egg casseroles, pasta, hamburgers and hotdogs, French toast, fresh fruit and fresh salad. While the warming stands are being stocked, the Rev offers a brief sermon and prayer. This is his congregation, and he knows what they need: inspiring words about pushing through hard times, asking God to help find a job, a blessing on the nation, a humble ask that all present will find peace.

At some time or another, all of us will experience the anxiety that comes with uncertainty and the heartbreak that comes with tragedy. In these times, a good friend is good medicine. One of the regular volunteers expressed why he has kept showing up every Sunday morning for the past 20 years: “The Rev was there when I needed a friend. I’m just repaying the favor.”

Being there when somebody needs a friend can provide the reassurance they need to keep going. And you don’t have to be an expert at it. There are just a couple of things you need to be good at. Being nonjudgmental is the beginning. You don’t need to solve the person’s problems; simply listening is enough. Sometimes, saying “It’s OK, I’m here with you” is all a person needs.

As the patrons of the Rev’s breakfast ministry file in, they are greeted with smiles, warm food and compliments from folks who will be with them for the next couple of hours. Every volunteer has a story about redemption, about rising above all odds, about a desire now to pay it back. “We don’t turn anybody away,” the Rev says. “Some people need us more than they need the food. And we need them.”

Some of the people serving have lost loved ones to drug addiction or were addicts themselves. There are those who lost jobs and came back when they were on solid ground. What they all have in common is being in a place where they know their morning is going to be a little bit better.

“We got hot food and warm hearts in here!” the Rev shouts out. “Amen,” comes the response. Amen.

Give Back... PassItOn.com®

Copyright ©2021 The Foundation for a Better Life. All rights reserved. Available under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License (international): https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Pass It On®

The Foundation for a Better Life, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, gives your newspaper permission to publish these stories in print and electronic media (excluding audio and video), provided the stories are published in their entirety, without modification and including the copyright notice. For any modification, permission must first be obtained from the Foundation by emailing media-relations@passiton.com. Thank you.

  email

Your Comments
Here are some other inspiring newspaper articles you might like.
Never Give Up.

Never Give Up.
Lessons learned from Preston Tucker, creator of one of the most innovative cars in American history.

The Little Things that Make the Biggest Difference.

The Little Things that Make the Biggest Difference.
How one man created a forest the size of Central Park by planting one tree a day.

The Brotherhood in Sports Goes Beyond the Field.

The Brotherhood in Sports Goes Beyond the Field.
How a men’s rugby team supported one of their own.

Finding a New Family at the Mountain Man Rendezvous.

Finding a New Family at the Mountain Man Rendezvous.
How a Vietnam vet pulled himself out of drug addiction by going back in the past.

How Far Would you go for a Friend?

How Far Would you go for a Friend?
The story of Dindim, the penguin who travels 5,000 miles every year to visit with its rescuer.

The Science of Happiness.

The Science of Happiness.
How a high school senior made sure an entire elementary school got Halloween.

A Diamond in the Making.

A Diamond in the Making.
How an everyday superhero saved the day by taking time to go through the garbage to find a stranger’s wedding ring.

Turning Tough News Into Hope.

Turning Tough News Into Hope.
How 11-year-old Jordan Phillips raised $120,000 to help fund cancer treatment.

Bigger than Life.

Bigger than Life.
How Premier League superstar Sadio Mané is changing the world beyond soccer.

Let the Kids Give it a Try

Let the Kids Give it a Try
How 17-year-old Dasia Taylor developed sutures that detect infection.

When the World Says You Can’t, Listen to the Inner Voice that Says You Can.

When the World Says You Can’t, Listen to the Inner Voice that Says You Can.
The legacy of Susan La Flesche, the first Native American to earn a medical degree.

Courage in a New World.

Courage in a New World.
The story of Stagecoach Mary, the first Black woman to deliver mail in the Wild West.

Living Alone doesn’t Mean you Have to be Lonely.

Living Alone doesn’t Mean you Have to be Lonely.
How a community in Maine supports those who want to be left alone.

A Most Unlikely Friendship.

A Most Unlikely Friendship.
How the war in Ukraine brought two families together from opposite sides.

A Hero for Accessibility.

A Hero for Accessibility.
How an 8-year-old girl captured the attention of the nation and motivated Congress.

An Impossible Journey.

An Impossible Journey.
How John Wesley Powell navigated the Colorado River and Grand Canyon in wooden boats.

Stay Curious.

Stay Curious.
The remarkable underwater life of Jacques Cousteau.

The Future Belongs to Kids.

The Future Belongs to Kids.
So far, things look pretty bright.

Including Everybody Means Everybody.

Including Everybody Means Everybody.
How Inclusion Films is making movies using crew with developmental disabilities.

Born to Make a Difference.

Born to Make a Difference.
Kids who are changing their world.

You’re Never Too Old to Make a Difference.

You’re Never Too Old to Make a Difference.
British WWll veteran Captain Tom Moore raised over $45 million for charity at age 100.

Everybody Can Be a Hero.

Everybody Can Be a Hero.
How window cleaners brightened the day at a children’s hospital.

The History of Us.

The History of Us.
How a football coach develops young men by teaching them their own history.

The Last Person you Think of Should Probably be the First.

The Last Person you Think of Should Probably be the First.
How a group of high school boys practiced the art of inclusion.

No Strings Attached.

No Strings Attached.
How a 7-year-old girl brings joy to neighbors with her violin.

Education is for Everyone.

Education is for Everyone.
Reading and writing are the basics of an education. See why a 90-year-old Kenyan great-grandmother went back to primary school.

Beyond the Moon with an Eye on Mars.

Beyond the Moon with an Eye on Mars.
The story of a young woman who dreamed of pushing the boundaries and now designs launch systems for NASA.

Laughter is the Best Teacher.

Laughter is the Best Teacher.
How humor and history go together in this classroom.

Give Peace a Chance.

Give Peace a Chance.
How a Mexican-American Marine negotiated peace speaking Japanese during WWll.

No Matter Who You Are, You Can Always Help.

No Matter Who You Are, You Can Always Help.
The day Muhammad Ali rushed to save a stranger who was about to take his own life.

Don’t Let a Bad Day Trick You Into Believing You Have a Bad Life.

Don’t Let a Bad Day Trick You Into Believing You Have a Bad Life.
Allie Newman not only survived cancer but also helps hospitals better meet the needs of teenage cancer patients.

Never, Ever Give Up.

Never, Ever Give Up.
The incredible story of the 12-year-old cancer patient who brings joy to half a million children fighting cancer.

Fix it Yourself.

Fix it Yourself.
How one couple moved hundreds of miles from home to run a center for pregnant teenage girls.

Being a Mother…

Being a Mother…
The roundabout journey to a dream fulfilled.

Reach for the Stars…

Reach for the Stars…
No Matter How Long it Takes.

Beatrice Shilling

Beatrice Shilling
The motorcycle daredevil who became a mechanical engineer and saved the lives of countless pilots in WWll.

For Soccer Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Every Day is Mother’s Day.

For Soccer Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Every Day is Mother’s Day.
Fortune and fame have allowed the soccer great to take care of his mother after all she has done for him.

Taking Care of the Most Vulnerable.

Taking Care of the Most Vulnerable.
Pam Tully dedicates 6 months a year to rescuing baby flying foxes alongside the volunteers who help her.

To Stay or Run?

To Stay or Run?
The courageous story of a collegiate wrestler who fought a grizzly bear to save a friend. With thanks to the Cowboy State Daily.

Recognizing the Need.

Recognizing the Need.
How a neighbor took a disaffected young man under his wing and taught him how to be a man

A Custom of Respect.

A Custom of Respect.
How the Japanese soccer team brings sportsmanship to the game.

Going the Distance.

Going the Distance.
Why top collegiate and professional athlete Dillon Shije will never stop running for his people.

A Lesson We Should Never Forget.

A Lesson We Should Never Forget.
The incredible story of American POWs smuggling rations to Russian prisoners at Stalag-B.

The Least Likely to Help.

The Least Likely to Help.
How a bedridden attorney still fights for the rights of others.

Teamwork that Saves Lives.

Teamwork that Saves Lives.
How a high school baseball team lifted a car off one of their classmates pinned underneath.

Everybody Gets on Base.

Everybody Gets on Base.
Measuring the victories of life, one single at a time.

Finding Our Way.

Finding Our Way.
Using the natural elements around her, Kala Baybayan Tanaka navigates the ocean in a canoe for up to three weeks using nothing but observations of the natural elements around her.

Our Local Heroes in Scrubs.

Our Local Heroes in Scrubs.
How health care workers saved the day.

Let the Music Move You.

Let the Music Move You.
Bob Geldof has spent a lifetime seeking harmony in the world.

Taking Responsibility.

Taking Responsibility.
How one high school student supported her family during the pandemic.

It’s Not Your Lifespan, it’s Your Wingspan.

It’s Not Your Lifespan, it’s Your Wingspan.
How one girl’s 16 years of life impacts thousands.

Are You Smarter Than a Seventh-Grade Business Owner?

Are You Smarter Than a Seventh-Grade Business Owner?
How Kidpreneur Alejandro Buxton is making money for college and helping others.

Listening to the Music Inside.

Listening to the Music Inside.
The long journey of Maria Tallchief from the Osage Nation in Oklahoma to prima ballerina in New York City.

More Than Just Dancing

More Than Just Dancing
How inclusion helps overcome mental illness.

Going Deep to Deliver Kindness.

Going Deep to Deliver Kindness.
Free-dive record holder Enzo Maiorca rescues a trapped dolphin, then watches as it gives birth.

The World Awaits You.

The World Awaits You.
The story of the first woman to circumnavigate the world.

Taking Care.

Taking Care.
How one woman turned a life of neglect into a lifetime of taking care of people.

Overcoming Our Own Worst Mistakes.

Overcoming Our Own Worst Mistakes.
Kaelin Clay made an unpardonable error in football. And he owned it.

Something Healthy for All of Us

Something Healthy for All of Us
How 17-year-old Barron Prize Winners Annie and Shirley Zhu provide fresh food for 1,400 people a year.

Photographs that Changed the World.

Photographs that Changed the World.
How the searing photographs of Walker Evans’ America during the Depression created a national change in attitude toward the poor.

Bringing the Moon to your Living Room.

Bringing the Moon to your Living Room.
How 14-year-old Philo Farnsworth tinkered his way to the technology that broadcast the moon landing.

For the Cost of a Box of Cereal.

For the Cost of a Box of Cereal.
How just noticing makes all the difference in the world.

Using the Write Words

Using the Write Words
How an African American Woman Wrote her Way to Freedom.

The Curse of Texting and Driving.

The Curse of Texting and Driving.
How one father turned personal tragedy into triumph for thousands of teenagers by creating the Honor Connor Scholarship Fund.

If You Love Dogs, You’ll Love this Story.

If You Love Dogs, You’ll Love this Story.
A German shepherd slept at his owner’s gravesite.

The Art of Pitching.

The Art of Pitching.
A little confidence at the right time goes a long way.

Billy Mills

Billy Mills
The story behind America’s first and only 10,000-meter Olympic champion.

Ramping Up to Help those in Need.

Ramping Up to Help those in Need.
How a community came together in a time of tragedy.

Cross Safely.

Cross Safely.
How one man made sure his retirement years were spent helping kids move safely through life.

The Legacy of Dorothy Vaughan.

The Legacy of Dorothy Vaughan.
The Hidden Figure who Helped Put a man on the Moon.

Sometimes the Wrong Direction is the Right Way.

Sometimes the Wrong Direction is the Right Way.
How a wrong number, a wrong text and a mix-up led to long-lasting friendships.

Road Trip Across America.

Road Trip Across America.
A discovery of what unites us.

Playtime is for Everybody.

Playtime is for Everybody.
A dad sells off his business and builds a theme park for disabled kids.

How to Honor Your Mother.

How to Honor Your Mother.
Warrick Dunn played in the NFL for 12 seasons. His most impressive stat: He’s built 200 homes for single mothers. And he’s not done.