Things That Matter

Both Parents Of 4-Year-Old Texas Boy Die Within Months Of Each Other From Covid

There has been positive news about vaccines for Covid-19. However, the virus is still raging in the U.S. and causing avoidable deaths. A story out of Texas is highlighting the threat of Covid still today after a mother and father dies leaving behind a soon-to-be 5-year-old.

The parents of a 4-year-old boy in San Antonio died from Covid months apart.

Adan and Mariah Gonzalez are two of the more than 240,000 Americans who have died of Covid. The tragic deaths of Adan and Mariah, months apart, left 4-year-old Raiden Gonzalez alone as his birthday and holiday season near.

“Sweet Mariah Gonzalez left the world this morning unexpectedly due to COVID 19  She joins her husband and best friend, Adan Gonzalez who recently passed due to COVID-19,” reads a GoFundMe set up to help Raiden. “They leave behind their beautiful 4-year-old son Raiden who loves his parents more than anything. Mariah’s bubbly personality, amazing teaching and makeup skills, her joy of motherhood, and beautiful smile will be so beyond missed.”

Raiden’s story is highlighting the growing toll of the worsening health crisis.

The U.S. has recorded more than 100,000 cases every day for the past 12 days. These numbers are breaking records for most infections in one day. Texas has seen a recent spike in Covid cases, along with all U.S. states but Texas was the first state to cross the grave milestone of 1 million cases. Despite the increase, Texas officials have not moved to reinstate restrictions to slow the spread of the virus.

“Seeing the good data [in late summer] seemed to send a signal that we were in the right direction and we were in the clear,” Angela Clendenin, an epidemiologist at Texas A&M University told WFAA. “And I think people lost their vigilance.”

This virus is still running rampant in the U.S. and cases are spiking, as predicted.

Experts are urging Americans to be safe and smart this holiday season. The holidays are posing a very real risk of an explosion in new cases if people don’t adhere to guidelines. Health experts have come out strongly against indoor, in-person gatherings for the holidays to get control of the virus.

“My Thanksgiving is going to look very different this year,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS News. “I would love to have it with my children, but my children are in three separate states throughout the country and in order for them to get here, they would all have to go to an airport, get on a plane and travel with public transportation.”

Raiden’s birthday is Nov. 28 and his family wants to give him the best one possible.

The GoFundMe page includes the information for anyone wanting to attend the “Roar and Wave” birthday party. There is also an address included for anyone who wants to help Raiden celebrate with gifts and cards.

“He likes dinosaurs, he likes monster trucks, he likes Hot Wheels,” his grandmother and caretaker Rozie Salinas told NBC News. “But being that he picked the dinosaur theme for his birthday, he really liked it.”

READ: New Covid-19 Lockdowns Are Coming To Parts Of The U.S. And Here’s What You Need To Know

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Hands-Free Cholula Dispensers Have Become a Thing In Restaurants Because of COVID-19

Culture

Hands-Free Cholula Dispensers Have Become a Thing In Restaurants Because of COVID-19

Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

It is a truth universally acknowledged that 2020 has been, well, the year from hell. But, like with any terrible events, there has been a few silver linings. More flexible work schedules. More alone time with family members.

And now, the mother of all silver linings: hands-free Cholula dispensers.

No, we’re not kidding. Earlier this month, the cult-favorite hot sauce brand announced that they have partnered with appliance tech company simplehuman to develop a hands-free dispenser for restaurants. Per Cholula, the invention was made in response to the need for a safer way to dispense hot sauce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When restaurant operators began removing Cholula bottles from tabletops amid the pandemic, we needed to develop a solution that could adapt to their new environment,” said Cholula’s CEO, Maura Mottolese, in a press release. “The collaboration between simplehuman and Cholula combines the best in technology and taste to revolutionize the condiment station to meet the needs of the customer and the foodservice industry in the ever-changing landscape that is 2020.”

The invention is–dare we say–genius.

Various video demonstrations of the gadget show that a user need only to hover the hand over the Cholula dispenser to be gifted with a glorious stream of hot sauce coming out of its little faucet.

Additionally, the company revealed that the Cholula dispensers would be available for private commercial purchase. According to Cholula, the Touch-Free dispensers will be available for a limited time on Cholula’s website–just in time for the holidays.

“Cholula diehard consumers will have a rare opportunity to purchase a limited number of Cholula x simplehuman Touch-Free Dispensers, the essential gift for contactless holiday meals, starting December 1, 2020 at www.Cholula.com/handsfree,” wrote the hot sauce brand in a press release.

“Optimized for the best saucing experience, the flash sale promotion, priced at $130, includes a Cholula x simplehuman Touch-Free Dispenser PLUS a half-gallon jug of Cholula Original and free shipping.”

Cholula revealed that 100% of the proceeds will go towards the Independent Restaurant Coalition, which is a “nonprofit formed by notable chefs like Tom Colicchio to save independent restaurants affected by COVID-19.”

Naturally, people are hyped that Cholula is selling the hands-free hot sauce dispenser to customers.

This is the type of gift that keeps on giving.

Honestly, “hot sauce innovation” is exactly the type of innovation we need coming out of 2020.

TBH, we deserve good things right now. Thank you Cholula.

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That Grandma Who Accidentally Invited A Teen Stranger To Thanksgiving Hosted Him Again This Year Despite The Loss Of Her Husband To COVID-19

Things That Matter

That Grandma Who Accidentally Invited A Teen Stranger To Thanksgiving Hosted Him Again This Year Despite The Loss Of Her Husband To COVID-19

Jamal Hinton / Twitter

Four years ago, the feel-good story of how a grandmother accidentally texted a stranger an invite to Thanksgiving dinner went viral. In the years since Wanda Dench (the grandmother) and Jamal Hinton (the teen stranger) have celebrated each Thanksgiving together.

This year has, despite the pandemic and terrible heartaches, been no exception.

For a fifth year, Wanda and Jamal gathered around a table for a bittersweet Thanksgiving this past Friday in Mesa, Arizona.

For their fifth Thanksgiving together, Wanda and Jamal sat down at the dinner table, this time without Wanda’s husband. Lonnie Dench, who Wanda had been married to for 43 years, passed away in April from complications induced by Covid-19. According to Wanda, he suffered from double pneumonia brought on by the virus.

“I didn’t believe I would have to go home without him,” Wanda revealed to CNN. “Even when he was in the hospital, I thought he would get better and come back to me. He was my soul mate. He was my biggest cheerleader.”

“I wasn’t looking forward to it at first because Lonnie wasn’t going to be there. The past seven months have been so difficult, but this was really important to me,” Wanda explained. “I can’t even explain how much joy I had, having good food with my favorite company. We laughed, we had a great time, we reminisced about the past. It was so good for all of us.”

Dench, her daughter, and grandson gathered together with Jamal and his girlfriend a little earlier this year. They decided on a Friday Thanksgiving celebration so that they could all receive coronavirus tests before sitting down with their own families. They wanted to avoid spreading the virus.

“At first it was sad. We had a photo of Lonnie at the table with a candlelit, and we were all shaky in the beginning but it lasted five minutes before we were back to ourselves,” Jamal told CNN. “We just told jokes and stories and shared our memories of Lonnie, so it was amazing.”

Four years ago, a misfired text brought Jamal and Wanda together.

Twitter

In 2016, Wanda who is the grandmother to six children meant to text her grandson an invite to her family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, she accidentally sent a message to Jamal, who was 17 at the time. Confused that someone claiming to be his grandmother had texted him, Jamal asked for proof. Wanda replied with a selfie of herself at work. And even though she wasn’t his grandmother, Jamal asked if he could still have a plate. “Of course you can,” Wanda replied. “That’s what grandmas do … feed everyone!”

Jamal kept Wanda to her word, showed up at the family thanksgiving and the two became fast friens.

According to Jamal he and his girlfriend went on regular double dates with Wanda and Lonnie.

“It all has to do with this feeling. There’s just this connection. It feels like we’ve known each other in past lives,” Wanda explained. “There’s absolutely no generational gap between us. The conversation just flows, we never run out of things to talk about.”

Jamal explained to CNN the obvious concern of having an awkward encounter with Wanda and her family at their first Thanksgiving. The opposite was true. “Whenever we met, we would spend four or five hours, just talking and talking. It was never awkward, Wanda and Lonnie became two close best friends to me,” he said.”There’s nothing about her that is mean, or uncaring. It feels like I have told her my whole life story, and she always listens and shares her own story. She’s just the most loving person. She’s pretty much perfect.”

Their gatherings have become so important that Wanda and Jamal say they hope to never stop their tradition. Even with Lonnie gone.

“Lonnie was missing this year, and he was a big part of the Thanksgiving story and a big part of our lives, but that’s one thing Wanda and I know for sure. Lonnie would have been very angry if we didn’t have Thanksgiving together,” Jamal explained “Lonnie was never the quiet guy. Right when I walked in the door the first time I met him, he didn’t even reach out for a handshake. He just immediately pulled me in for a hug… He was the kind of guy to always bring your hopes up whenever you felt down. Losing him was losing a best friend.”

While still mourning their great loss, Wanda wants people to continue to have hope. “Just have patience,” she told CNN. “I know it isn’t easy, and everyone is frustrated and just wants to get back to normal. But we need to have hope and always care about other people.”

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