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This Organization Lets You Pay the Water Bill for a Family in Need

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It’s usually not until water stops flowing from domestic faucets that we realize how much we take it for granted. Sometimes, that’s due to a temporary plumbing emergency. But for a large number of low-income households, it’s because past due bills have forced the hand of utility companies.

A lack of running water can have a huge effect on a person's quality of life, which is why The Human Utility—formerly known as the Detroit Water Project—has stepped in to help. The organization addresses delinquent water bill accounts piling up in Detroit and Baltimore and uses a donated pool of funds to pay them off.

Families in those areas with overdue bills fill out an application and provide proof of income; funds are then dispersed so their water can be turned back on. Since debuting in 2014, the project has helped nearly 1000 families, some of whom were so affected by the loss of the utility that they were drinking from neighbors' water hoses.

You can make your own (tax-deductible) donation to help a family in need on The Human Utility's website. The organization also accepts donations of time and skill from professionals like plumbers and lawyers. We may soon see similar programs spring up in other areas, especially as aging infrastructure continues to wear and water rates continue to climb, rising 41 percent in many major U.S. cities between 2010 and 2015.

[h/t Fast Company]

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Animals
Atlanta Shelters Give Pups a Temporary Home for the Holidays
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The holidays are looking a little brighter for adoptable dogs from two animal shelters in Atlanta, Georgia. As ABC News reports, a new program called Home for the Pawlidays is providing temporary homes to longer-term residents of Fulton County Animal Services and DeKalb County Animal Services for the week of Thanksgiving.

The initiative was organized by Atlanta's LifeLine Animal Project, a local group dedicated to providing healthcare and homes to shelter dogs. The dogs that were chosen for the project may be older, have special health needs, or other issues that make it more difficult to find them forever homes.

But from November 18 to 25, the dogs are getting to spend time away from the shelter and in the homes of loving foster families.

“We were thinking, everyone gets a break from work, and they should get a break from the shelter,” LifeLine’s public relations director Karen Hirsch told ABC News.

Some caretakers have already fallen in love with their four-legged house guests. Foster Heather Koth told ABC that she hadn’t been considering adoption, but after meeting Missy the shelter dog, she now plans to foster her until she has a permanent home or possibly adopt the dog herself.

And for the dogs that can’t be kept by their temporary owners, just a week of quality playtime and sleeping in a real bed can make a huge impact. You can check out photos of the pets who are benefiting from the program this week below.

[h/t ABC News]

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This Just In
Kentucky City Lets Residents Pay Parking Tickets With Canned Goods
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Racking up parking fines? If you live in Lexington, Kentucky, you can pay off your tickets with canned food donations.

ABC 36 reports that, for the fourth year in a row, the city's “Food for Fines” program will help stock the shelves of God’s Pantry Food Bank—a member of Feeding America—throughout the holiday season. Beginning today, the city’s local parking authority is allowing residents with outstanding citations to donate preserved goods in lieu of cash through December 15.

Ten cans will get residents a $15 credit on any parking citation. And for drivers with a drawer-full of tickets, they can bring as many cans as they can carry to earn a $15 credit per 10-can donation. (Yes, even past due citations are eligible.)

"During the previous three years we have collected 24,500 cans of food, which is the equivalent of 12 tons or 16,000 meals,” Parking Authority executive director Gary Means said in a press release.

If you're planning on donating, make sure to check the date: Expired items won't be accepted.

[h/t ABC 36]  

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