Aldi’s ‘Adult Breakfast Club’ shows it truly cares

Aldi is launching a breakfast club to make sure people across the country don’t have to go without breakfast.

Tell me more.

Ahead of the school Easter holidays, Aldi has donated 10 tonnes of cereal and 5,000 gallons of milk to food banks across the country.

New research has found that almost half (44%) of parents from lower-income families are skipping meals to ensure their children have enough food to eat, with breakfast being the most common one to miss.  

That’s awful.

It really is – but that is why initiatives like Aldi’s Adult Breakfast Club are so important, especially during school holidays when parents are under more pressure to feed the whole family.

The supermarket is donating 10 tonnes of healthy cereal and 5,000 gallons of milk and milk alternatives to foodbanks and schools across the country, with the help of charity partner Neighbourly.

It will also be doubling down on its existing donations to local schools during term time, as almost a third (31%) of parents surveyed said that they rely on their children being provided breakfast by their school.  

Anything else?

Kellog’s is another company that has donated breakfast cereal to kids from low-income families – this year, 2023, they are celebrating their 25th year of doing so! To kick off the celebrations, over the last year Kellog’s have donated 25 million bowls of cereal to food banks in the UK.

If you want to help kids get fed over the Easter holidays, contact your local food bank and see if there is anything they are really in need of. 

This article aligns with the UN SDG Zero Hunger.


Europe’s food ‘social security’ scheme

Europe is making waves by experimenting with food ‘social security’.

Tell me more.

At the heart of it is a plan to move away from food as something you purchase and trade for – something you need privilege to buy.

Schemes proposed by France and Belgium suggest a fixed sum of money being given to each person (or parent/guardian for minors), perhaps on a card, that can be redeemed like a bank card. Suggested amounts include around €100-150 ($106-159/£88-133) per month for adults and €50-75 ($53-80/£44-67) for children.

Where does the money come from?

Like socialised healthcare (the NHS, for example) the money would come out of taxes. Belgium has suggested adults earning €3,000 ($3,190/£2,650) per monthly would contribute €150 ($159/£133) every month, and that the amount put into the pot would be adjusted based on how much a person earns – less for less income and so forth.

However, each person would still receive the same amount towards food – effectively helping to redistribute the wealth within the country.

Other suggestions include state funding and more – but one thing is for sure, and that is that the idea of food social security isn’t going away.

If you want to help people in the UK with food security today, you can do so by donating to charities like the Food Foundation.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.


Festability: The disability-inclusive music festival

Music is for everyone – it’s a well-known fact and one that music festivals are built around. People from all walks of life coming together for a passion they all share is a beautiful thing.

Unfortunately, for some, festivals don’t feel all that inclusive. That’s a problem that has effectively been fixed, thanks to three mums from Kent and their brilliant inclusive nonprofit festival – Festability.

Debs, Vanessa and Carrie are all mums to children with extra needs. For Debs the motivation was simple – she wanted all of her children to experience live music in a way that was as equal and inclusive as possible. Each of her three children has extra needs, and all experience the world in very different ways.

“My youngest son is blind [and] we can take him anywhere – his white stick gets him all that ‘ooh, bless him’,” Debs tells Smiley News.

“Usually, we end up backstage because the band want to meet him. And if he rocks when he dances, nobody cares.

“But then my eldest son, he rocks when he dances but he doesn’t have the right stick. You always walk away knowing he’s been judged or somehow made him a point of interest. And I wanted an event where he could just go out and be himself – because he’s fab!”

Debs saw a video on Facebook of a small, inclusive festival that took place elsewhere in England and shared it on her timeline.

Never one to shy away from a challenge (or from something that she knows needs to be done), she asked her Facebook friends if anyone would be interested in doing something similar in Kent.

Festability was born.

Festability is a Community Interest Company (CIC) and takes place in Quex Park, Kent, every year. Aimed at everyone, regardless of ability or impairment, the goal of Festability is to create a safe space for people to enjoy music without having to worry about the issues from traditional festivals that can be uncomfortable, inconvenient, or even dangerous for people with disabilities.

“We have one young boy who comes to us every year,” she explains. “I bump into him in town and he’s so excited when he sees me because I am Festability for him – it’s just so lovely!

“I love watching the parent carers relax. You see them walk in, especially the first time, and they’re not sure. And then you see them go, ‘Hang on this is fine; he can do whatever he wants to – because nobody cares!’”

Debs has families who have been to the festival every single year. “They buy the tickets as soon as they go on sale,” she says. “They’re the first ones there, they come in with deckchairs – it’s something I’m super proud of.”

Along with Carrie and Vanessa, Debs has come up with a bunch of different activities to make the festival more enjoyable, and more accessible, to families who have members with additional needs. From messy play (with staff on clean-up duty!) to a VR gaming station for the older ones, Festability is designed for families who need something for everyone – created by people who understand.

Perhaps one of the most important adjustments made by the Festability team is presence of employees who can cover for parent carers so they can enjoy the festival too.

“Carrie manages a charity called SNAAP that’s all about activities for people with disabilities, so we pay their staff to come in for the day,” explains Debs, who knows the struggle well as a parent carer.

“Plus, the whole venue is barriered off, which not only stops people coming in, but people getting out. So, even if your child is a runner (and sometimes they’re a runner and you’re not!) we’ve made sure that they can’t escape.”

It wasn’t until the night after the first Festability that Debs, Carrie, Vanessa and their families really began to realise the full effect of what they had done. 

“We sat there in the dark, scrolling through our phones – the feedback started to come in and it just blew us away,” she says. “It was people saying things like ‘this is the most fun you can have in a field without alcohol’ … the one that really hit me was a mum who contacted us and said, ‘I hope you know that today. You make dreams come true.'”

Festability 2023 takes place on 10 June at the Quex Park country estate in Thanet, Kent. If you want to buy tickets to Festability, or wish to help them out by volunteering, you can do so on their website. To keep up with everything Festability related you can follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Reduced Inequalities.


Junior in high school sets up nonprofit to diversify learning

Finding ways to make education more interesting and fulfilling is something teachers everywhere grapple with. Take that and all the education lost to the pandemic as students had to learn from home, there has been an educational decline for many.

This was something Sophia Libman took to heart. It was incredibly important to her that people get the education that they need while trying to find an interesting way to do it. So she founded X-Time

“I really wanted to find a way for children to explore and engage in educational activities from their home because it was right in the midst of the pandemic,” Sophia tells Smiley News. “And so we started with free online classes, and have now expanded to in-person classes, summer camps, and explore stations.”

Sophia herself is still incredibly young: only a junior in high school, and she started X-Time just over two years ago. She saw something that was happening around her and wanted to make a difference. 

Put succinctly, her favorite part of everything in her programs is the children and seeing them grow. “I love seeing how excited they are and engaged when working with us,” Sophia says. “So in our summer camps or in-person classes, their excitement is contagious.” 

A lot of the work Sophia does is providing educational accessibility to kids who may not have options otherwise.

“For me, it’s really important that children have access to these fun educational materials,” Sophia says. “We try to reach underserved communities, children in hospital settings, for example. I make sure I’m able to provide that because I had the chance when I was younger to find my passion by trying a lot of different activities.

“I want to be able to provide that for others.”

Since its inception in 2020, X-Time has had more than 300 student registrations for classes taught by professors from the University of Illinois, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, local business owners, published authors, and K-12 teachers. The classes range across the board from standard school subjects like math and science to even things like ballet, hip-hop, and martial arts. 

The educational materials take the form of X-Plore stations that condense the material into entertaining and digestible chunks. And the stations themselves are specialized for different environments depending on the needs of the kid. 

“When at hospitals, it was really important that I communicated closely with a child life specialist, as they know what materials can one be easily sanitized and are good for children to be able to use inside the hospital environment,” Sophia says.

“Where an X-Plore station in a community center looks a little different as a lot of the materials can be touched multiple times, they’re not sanitized after each use, so I think that’s been a really big learning point for me, making sure we’re really meeting the needs of our location and the needs of the community as well.”

Ultimately, Sophia wants to help kids learn in whatever way she can.

“I just want them to be excited to learn, excited to be able to have access to materials, and be able to find their passion,” Sophia says. “I think it’s really important that you’re able to find your spark something that you get excited about and are interested in learning and so being able to provide children with all these different activities, I hope that they can find their passion and take that with them.”

Find out more about getting involved or how you can support X-Time on their website.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partners of the Goals.


This organization helps young girls get dresses for school dances

School dances like homecoming and prom are some of the most significant moments in young kids’ lives, but not every kid gets to live the dance of their dreams.

Unless you get creative or find a hand-me-down, prom dresses can run a few hundred dollars, a figure that’s unattainable for many families in the US, so Believe in Yourself helps provide them to underprivileged girls.

The organization goes into community centers, after-school programs, and low-income housing centers and provides designer dresses for the girls. 

“At the same time, we promote positive body image through mentoring and speakers,” they write on their website.

The program was founded by Sam Sisakhti, who also founded UsTrendy. They just want to help young, underprivileged women and girls have the opportunity to be happy with themselves.

“Many teen girls are up against unobtainable social standards placed upon them-which are not just unhealthy, but often times unaffordable,” they write.

“In an effort to close this gap, The Believe In Yourself Project is dedicated to the gainful advancement and empowerment of young women with a gift of confidence.”

Find out how you can support the project on their website.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partners of the Goals.


New San Diego policies to promote racial inclusion

Redlining was a federally endorsed policy in the US in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, where banks and mortgage lenders rejected and approved home loans based on race, income, and neighborhood.

This practice dominated many US cities and many neighborhoods and their racial makeup today is the direct result of those segregation tactics. 

Officials in San Diego, California, say redlining is the main reason majority-White neighborhoods dominate the northern and coastal parts of the city, while Black and Hispanic neighborhoods are mostly confined to southern parts of the city. 

Those same officials are trying to do something about it.

They recently voted to adopt new housing policies that incentivize racial integration with the goal of taking steps to undo the results of redlining. 

The new policies are things like allowing taller apartment buildings and more backyard units when a property is near mass transit, softening previous rules already in place.

The policies also extend those softer rules to mostly suburban areas deemed “high-resource” by the state because of the presence of high-paying jobs and strong educational opportunities.

“We are tasked with overcoming past discrimination where people of certain races and incomes were not allowed to live in certain areas,” said Seth Litchney, the city’s housing policy program manager. “Providing affordable housing in those areas helps overcome that pattern of discrimination.”

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partners of the Goals.


LA company repurposes empty hotels into affordable housing

When people talk about the housing crisis in the US, they often point to empty real estate like empty homes and hotels as potential solutions. One company is making use of that idea. 

The Los Angeles-based company Repvblik converts empty commercial spaces into affordable housing units. 

“By repurposing existing structures, we reduce the cost of building housing, and as a consequence, rents are lower than for new construction,” they say.

The price was chosen to target renters who might be struggling to afford an apartment in the area but wouldn’t necessarily qualify for subsidized housing. Since Repvblic buys the buildings at steep discounts they can keep rent and conversion prices low.

“It is increasingly difficult for middle-income workers to live in the cities in which they work. Stagnant wages, ever-increasing living expenses, and a limited inventory of affordable housing options have forced many workers to move to cities’ outskirts or seek temporary and seasonal housing solutions,” they write.

“Our goal is to create safe and accessible affordable housing options across the country.”

They have one completed project called Plato’s Cave and another coming up called Plato’s Sterling Heights.

This article aligns with the UN SDG No Poverty.


Female social impact entrepreneurs recognised for trailblazing work

Four female social impact entrepreneurs from the Middle East and North Africa had their work recognised in The Bicester Collection’s inaugural edition of the Unlock Her Future Prize

Eight finalists representing Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine,  Saudi Arabia and the UAE attended a pitch day in London to compete to become the winners of the start-up competition, which aims to identify and support women leveraging innovation as a force for good. 

The winners’ ceremony was held on International Women’s Day, hosted by author and women’s activist Lina AbiRafeh

Each will receive a business grant of up to $100,000, bespoke mentorship from international  experts and an education programme from presenting partner New York University Abu Dhabi. 

So who were the winners?

1. Noor Jaber, from Lebanon, with Nawat. Noor hopes to enhance women’s sexual and reproductive health (SRHR) through a safe and accessible digital space providing SRSH knowledge in Arabic via educational content and consultations with qualified experts, offering confidentiality, privacy and convenience. 

“I’m so thrilled to have been selected as a winner of the Unlock Her Future Prize, this initiative brings validation to my passion and to my mission to bring the importance of women’s reproductive health out into the open and to empower women to care for their well-being and  take informed decisions about their bodies,” she said.

2. Sara Llalla, from Iraq, with EcoCentric. EcoCentric is an online marketplace and circular economy system designed to mitigate microplastic food contamination and eliminate plastic waste.

Winning this prestigious prize validates the need of EcoCentric’s services in our society,” she said. “We’re introducing the only truly sustainable food packaging system, which should be normalised as  part of our everyday and now is the perfect time to launch this in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the host of COP 28.

Inspired by the power of product invention, the judges decided to allocate the third prize between two finalists who are at different stages of the development of their invention.  

3. Fella Bouti, from Algeria, with Ecodalle. Fella provides ecological construction and homogeneous, economical and integrated irrigation solutions to improve large cities’ air quality and urban temperature. 

Unlock Her Future stands for the power of women, this is an incredible opportunity, it will be life changing for me!” said Fella.

4. Nuhayr Zein, from UAE, with Leukeather. This is a sustainable and ethical vegetal material alternative to exotic leathers made from dried plant pods, and a by-product of existing agriculture which minimises  its carbon footprint and provides an additional source of income for farming communities. 

“The Unlock Her Future Prize will allow Leukeather to develop, so that we may all take a step  forward towards a more eco-friendly and responsible world by collaborating with nature and  completely eliminating the unethical and wasteful killing of exotic species,” she said.

Commenting on the winners, Chantal Khoueiry, Chief Culture Officer, The Bicester Collection, said: “Empowering women social entrepreneurs is not just about recognising their achievements – it’s about creating a ripple effect of positive change that impacts entire communities.

“These women are leading the way towards a brighter future for us all.”  

Open to women of any age with an inspiring not-for-profit business idea, or a business where  their for-profit goals generate a positive return to society; the Unlock Her Future Prize identifies ventures that will drive sustainable positive social, cultural and environmental  impact for generations to come, as defined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The inaugural edition of the prize celebrated the women of the Middle East and North Africa. In 2024, it will travel around the world to celebrate women from another geographical region.  

Find out more at

#DoGood #UnlockHerFuture 

Equality Wellbeing

Among record-breaking anti-trans laws, Minnesota codifies trans health care

Anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is being introduced in the United States at a record pace. The anti-trans legislation includes preventing access to healthcare, name and ID changes, public accommodations like bathroom usage, and much more. 

According to the ACLU, at the time of writing, there have been 399 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in 2023 alone. To put that in perspective, there were 41 bills in 2018, and 238 bills in 2022. 

Organizations like the Human Rights Campaign are fighting to defeat these bills, many of which directly infringe on people’s rights to autonomy.

“Last year we came together to defeat 91% of the anti-LGBTQ+ bills,” said HRC President Kelley Robinson. “This year we are going to do it again. We see how hateful rhetoric and misinformation about who we are and what we stand for ultimately can translate into real-world violence, real-world harm for our people.”

Many state legislatures are ramping up protections for queer people as well, including states like Minnesota that recently protected trans healthcare when Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order protecting and supporting access to gender-affirming health care for LGBTQ people in the state.

“Minnesota strives to be a welcoming and supportive place for LGBTQIA+ community members,” the executive order read. “We uphold the essential values of One Minnesota when all people, including members of the LGBTQIA+ community, are safe, celebrated, and able to live lives full of dignity and joy.”

Studies show that providing gender-affirming care is essential to the health and wellness of gender-diverse people. Studies show that gender-affirming care can be life-saving for transgender and nonbinary children and adolescents.

All this to say, check on your queer friends in the US.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Gender Equality.


It’s a fact: gender equality helps people live longer

Research shows that, where there is gender equality, people live longer.

What? Tell me more!

According to a global study, in countries where there is more gender equality, both men and women appear to live longer. 

The results of the study suggest that though gender equality may initially widen the gender gap in life expectancy, as it ultimately helps women more, there is a ripple effect that will benefit men, too.

The study found that education was the most important aspect of gender equality, followed by political and economic.

If you’re interested in reading the results of the study, you can do so by following this link. If you want to donate to charities to help support gender equality, you can support organisations like Action Aid.

This article aligns with the UN SDGs Gender Equality and Good Health and Wellbeing.