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A LIVABLE TOWN, ANONYMOUS DONORS, & ECO-AGE BIRTHDAYS!

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Papa Zen

Papa Zen

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JIM BICKFORD used to be a police officer. It was a good job, but it seemed like everybody he met was always having a bad day. So in 2002, he retired with his wife Maya to Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, to become an innkeeper. The people he meets today are having good days and all he has to do is keep it that way. ECHOage is a charity-driven and eco-friendly birthday party service where children learn the value of giving and receiving while celebrating. ECHOage has become a movement with kids and parents across North America because it easily brings meaning to the birthday party celebration and puts kids in the driver's seat, giving them the simple tools they need to make change for the environment and for society all while celebrating their birthday. DEBBIE ZINMAN, one of the co-founders joins us from Toronto. . . Their neighbors' generosity inspired LIONEL AND MISHA THOMPSON to found GIVING ANONYMOUSLY. A few years ago, when they were dealing with family and financial difficulties, their neighbors provided an unexpected outpouring of generosity. Donors log on to the organization's website, specify the amount they would like to give, and Giving Anonymously sends a check to the indicated recipient. The service is meant to remove the potential awkwardness that may come when someone tries to give money to a loved one face-to-face, and ensures the recipient will agree to accept the donation. Speaking to NBC News, Misha described how her conflicted feelings about others' kindness provided inspiration for the website. "I remember standing there feeling ashamed that [neighbors] had to bring us groceries, but also thinking, 'When we come through this season, I don't want another mom to feel like how I felt'," she explained. Recipients are encouraged to call a hotline and leave a voicemail to confirm they have received the gift, for the benefit of their anonymous "guardian angel."

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