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CNN  — 

We’ve gotten to a point where fresh air is a luxury, where just being able to buy food is cause for thankfulness. Isn’t it strange that the hardest times seem to command our deepest gratitude? It’s not that we take good health, security and our neighborhood parks for granted. It’s just that, when our worlds are turned upside down, these simple things become even more precious. Everything else seems to matter so much less. What will your gratitude inspire you to do? When all of this is over, will you live differently? Will you keep caring for those who are hurting, for those who can’t step into the sunshine or put food on the table? Yes, the world is upside down right now. It’s the least we can do to make it a better place when it comes upright.

Our favorites this week

Get going with some of our most popular good news stories of the week

Picture perfect

Let’s start off a little silly, shall we? Art institutions are closed around the world, but the J. Paul Getty Museum, based in Los Angeles, managed to curate an exhibit full of masterpieces. They asked art lovers on Twitter to recreate their favorite works of art using only items from around their house and wow, did people deliver. The Birth of Venus on a pizza? Delicious. A French bulldog as a Byzantine-style baby Jesus? Unholy, but adorable. It’s a perfect example of how, even when our cultural lifelines are cut off, creativity can still thrive — even if it does involve a Swiffer and or a can of tuna.

IYW Detroit Chefs2

Special delivery

Food workers are facing lost wages and even lost jobs, yet they’re still managing to brighten lives and fill bellies in their communities. After citywide restrictions closed restaurants in Detroit, five chefs from local eateries took stock of their kitchens, pooled their perishables and started cooking up creations for the city’s homeless and food insecure. They call their program Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen for Good, and with additional food donations, they are preparing meals for three homeless shelters that are desperately trying to keep the city’s homeless citizens safe. “The healthy meals are boosting the morale of the population, as well as lifting a financial burden from the mission,” a representative from one of the shelters said. Meanwhile, Cliff “Cooks” restaurant in Barneveld, Wisconsin, is offering their food via carryout or drive-thru — for free. Barneveld is a rural town, and owner Clifford Hooks says he wants to make sure struggling neighbors know there’s a meal for them if they need one.

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What a doll!

Who wants to hear a bedtime story from Dolly Parton? Well, who doesn’t? Starting Tuesday, April 9, the country queen will read bedtime stories selected from the Imagination Library, her book gifting program which mails free books to children. Parton says it’s something she’s always wanted to do. “I think it is pretty clear that now is the time to share a story and to share some love,” she said in a release. “Goodnight with Dolly” will stream every week for the next 10 weeks. Oh, and one minor detail — Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University’s coronavirus research. Another celebrity story that made us smile this week: The Italian football team AS Roma is sending emergency care packages to its most vulnerable supporters over the age of 75. The boxes include pasta, biscuits, a bottle of beer, 10 surgical face masks, 10 pairs of protective gloves and five bottles of hand sanitizer, and, of course, a copy of the day’s sports paper.

Raise a glass to…


Keanon Lowe, a high school track and football coach who disarmed a distraught student gunman last May and then hugged him close, averting a possible tragedy and displaying compassion in one gesture. Lowe will be honored for his bravery with the Congressional Medal of Honor Citizen Honor by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. The Medal of Honor is only awarded to members of the US military, but the society that gives out the awards said Lowe and the other citizen honorees “exemplify the values embodied in the Medal of Honor: courage, sacrifice, commitment, integrity, citizenship, and patriotism.”

You gotta see this

People's Choice

These creative, chilly souls are some of the winners of this year’s Hair Freezing Contest, which ran this winter at the Takhini Hot Pools in Canada’s Yukon Territory. Creating such elaborate icy ‘dos takes more than a cool head: First, dip your head in the hot springs and wet your hair completely. Then, let the cold air slowly freeze it all, taking care to wet your ears and other vulnerable parts with hot water (because an ear freezing contest would be much less fun). Et voila! A ‘do Jack Frost would be proud of.

Heroes among us

CNN Hero Michelle Christie No Limits Theater Group child

Social distancing can be especially difficult for those with hearing loss, who benefit from vital cues provided by face-to-face communication and are all too often already isolated in their social circles. CNN Hero Michelle Christie and her foundation No Limits for Deaf Children have moved their classes, therapy, and tutoring online, and have also created “Friday Friend Day” to help kids with hearing loss socialize remotely. Christie is one of several CNN Heroes sharing messages of encouragement and inspiration to people looking to do good during the coronavirus crisis. As food for thought, she invokes the immortal words of Helen Keller: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Wanna get away?

Cape Clear A scenic view of Cape Clear in Co. Cork 18

It seems odd to share pictures of beautiful places since the world is so closed off right now, but the CNN Travel team has an excellent idea if you’re feeling some melancholy wanderlust: Organize photos from past trips! Scanning, uploading, organizing and curating photo collections to print or share online can bring back that favorite trip feeling while reminding you of all the beauty there is to see in the world. Here, get started with a perfectly serene picture from the banks of Cape Clear in County Cork, Ireland.

Who knew?

short mice

Mice can make different facial expressions based on how they feel. While they’re probably not going to win any Academy Awards for the emoting, the teeny facial changes they make, like pricked ears or a drooped nose, could impact how we treat mood disorders. Studying how and when mice make different expressions, and what parts of the brain are triggered when they do, could help scientists understand the neurological origins of human emotions like anxiety, fear and depression.

Impact your world

01 marine life study

So we’ve all agreed to try and leave this world a little better than we found it. Let’s start with the oceans. An international team of scientists has found that, if we all commit to serious action, the world’s marine populations could be restored by as soon as 2050. The team found marine life to be “remarkably resilient” despite damage caused by human activity and interference. With conservation measures like habitat restoration, responsible harvesting and pollution reduction, countless species could get a huge boost over the next few decades. “We have a narrow window of opportunity to deliver a healthy ocean to our grandchildren’s generation, and we have the knowledge and tools to do so,” the paper’s lead author wrote.

Shameless animal video

There’s always time for cute animal videos. That time is now.

Cute animal videos can’t fix everything, but they can ensure at least a small part of your day is filled with squeaky, wriggling otters. And that’s certainly something. (Click here to view)