In an effort to make sure no student goes back into the classroom hungry and unable to concentrate, many public schools around the country began offering lunches on credit to their students – but to catastrophic results.
Over time, the unpaid lunches added up to some real trouble for their budgets. Among Warwick Public Schools in particular, who had championed the movement against student hunger, the outstanding balances of 1,653 student accounts led to a collective debt of $77,000. The result was that these students wouldn’t be able to buy another lunch until all of the debt was paid off – not exactly feasible overnight.
But when the Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya heard the news, he saw an opportunity to make a big difference.
The yogurt company is volunteering to pay $47,650 of the collective debt off, and keep the students operating the way that they should – regardless of their financial status. Additionally, the company is donating a substantial supply of their own products to the schools around Warwick.
As a father, the situation really hit home for Ulukaya. “For every child, access to naturally nutritious and delicious food should be a right, not a privilege,” he said in an interview. “When our children are strong, our families are stronger. And when our families are strong, our communities are stronger. Business can and must do its part to solve the hunger crisis in America and do its part in the communities they call home.”
After the news reached outside of the district, another man was so inspired by Chobani’s actions that he decided to make a difference of his own.
After a little investigation, he found out that the district closest to him was suffering a similar problem – in fact, many districts around the country are. Palm Beach County’s Andrew Levy isn’t even a father, but he shares the same sentiments as Mr. Chobani himself: “Food is something that you shouldn’t have to think about,” he said, after handing the Jupiter Public School district a check for $944.34.
Today, he has a quarterly fund open with the school that allows him to stay on top of their lunch debt – and allows students to stay on top of their performance.
The reactions on social media went haywire. Hundreds of people commented, asking if they could contribute next time.
Doesn’t it make you think that we could all be doing more?
Back in the ’50s and ’60s, Las Vegas was only beginning its renaissance. Here are some rare photos of the Golden Age of Vegas, before it became the “mega-resort” it is today.
Sign Of The Times
Before animal abuse was seen as problematic, exotic animals were often used for entertainment. In 1966, the Dunes Hotel hosted Tanya the baby elephant, who was trained to pick up cards and “gamble” to the delight of casino patrons. Tanya traveled the world, even performing before the Queen of England.
Las Vegas began to build its reputation as a world-class entertainment capital when hotels and casinos began to book glamorous international acts, taking their establishments up a notch with the allure of exotic performers from faraway lands. This 1958 snapshot shows some beautiful female performers, imported from the famous Lido Nightclub in Paris, staging a larger-than-life show at the Stardust Resort and Casino. Their ethereal beauty attracted patrons from across the country and cemented Las Vegas as an aspirational destination for Americans.
Early Days Of Vegas
In the earliest days of Vegas, the town was just starting to become known as a playground for the rich and famous. In the summer of 1942, these three lovely ladies were busy taking their minds off World War II by taking a dip in the swimming pool at the El Rancho Hotel, attracting the attention of a smooth-looking gentleman who had doubtless come to Vegas to have some fun. Their vintage headwear certainly does make one nostalgic for the adorable fashions of the forties.
Then And Now
Las Vegas is now an epicenter of all things glitz, glamor, and excess, and its reputation as a party destination is world-renowned. But that would have never happened without two pivotal changes in Nevada Law that happened in 1931: casino gambling was legalized, and residency requirements for divorce were reduced to six weeks. This began the transformation of Vegas from a dusty desert town into the world-famous Sin City it is today, filled to the brim with casinos and chapels where you can get married in half an hour.
Vegas had another leading man in Frank Sinatra, the world’s first pop star, who practically made it into the stylish, swinging desert destination during its early days. Starring in his own shows at fabled Vegas venues like the Sands, the Sahara, the Riviera, Caesars Palace, and the Golden Nugget, it’s virtually impossible to tell the story of Las Vagas without Sinatra. In this 1963 photo, he is flanked by the famous Copa Girls. If this image doesn’t encapsulate the atmosphere of 1960s Vegas, nothing does!
Although this photo might look like a movie set, it’s actually a real shot of the Flamingo Hotel, as shown on one of its postcards. Opened in 1946, the Flamingo was the first luxury hotel to open on the Las Vegas Strip. It’s also a look back to Las Vegas’s shadowy beginnings as the enterprise of mobsters; the place was financed by world-famous mobster Bugsy Siegel and his associates. Posing as businessmen, they managed to buy a two-thirds stake in the hotel from the original owner.
The Bluebell Girl
This picture gives a rare backstage glimpse of one of the Bluebell Girls making some last-second adjustments to her costume. The Bluebell girls were a world-famous troupe from Paris, founded by “Miss Bluebell” Margaret Kelly, who sought out classically trained dancers who were too tall to become ballerinas. This photo gives us an idea of the electric excitement that must have been in the air as the troupe prepared to go on stage for a dazzling performance at the Stardust Hotel.
Practice Makes Perfect
Elvis Presley didn’t become a world-famous icon for no reason – his shows were absolutely electrifying, and that only came from loads of practice. This photo shows him in the midst of one of his notoriously grueling rehearsals, during the first year of his five-year performance contract at the Las Vegas International Hotel. As much as one can imagine that being Elvis Presley was lots of fun, it was also a lot of hard work, and it really shows on his exhausted face.
Wedding Destination Of The Stars
Not all weddings in Vegas were spontaneous and short-lived. In fact, some famously long-lasting marriages began in the town, including that of actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Their love really shines through these wonderful images, taken on their wedding day on January 29, 1958. This long-lasting couple definitely bucked the Hollywood and Vegas divorce trend. Newman and Woodward stayed together until Newman died in 2008 – an incredible 50 years of marriage. Another memorable moment that took place in Las Vegas’s Golden Era!
A Disasterous Stunt
Robert Craig Knievel, otherwise known as Evel Knievel, was the ultimate daredevil of the ’60s, and here he is captured in 1967 while attempting to make a 141-foot jump over the Caesar’s Palace fountains in Las Vegas. That attempt was a famous disaster, landing the stuntman in a coma for 28 days. But the daredevil entertainer survived and the incident solidified his legacy. In the end, Knievel didn’t end up dying in one of his stunts – rather, he passed away due to heart disease in 2007, when he was nearly 70.
Living In Technicolor
This image from a postcard reveals the nostalgically technicolor world that was Fremont street in the 1950s. At this point, developers (as well as the mafia, who were responsible for many establishments in the town) had begun to take notice of the potential to make big money in Sin City, and the famous main drag of Vegas began to take shape. The overabundance of flashy signs was a spectacle to behold back then; it’s quite amazing how today, this scene seems positively quaint.
Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Dinner In Vegas
Audrey Hepburn, pictured here hanging out with her famous friends in Las Vegas in 1956, was one of the most famous actresses in the world at this time. Hepburn was keeping company with some distinguished figures – Mike Romanoff, a renowned Hollywood restauranteur; her husband, Mel Ferrer; and of course, the one and only iconic singer Frank Sinatra, who was a mainstay in Vegas at the time. We can only wonder what such an interesting, eclectic group of people was talking about that night…
They Put the Show In Showgirl
In its early days, Las Vegas became well-known for its showgirls, whose productions grew increasingly lavish and glamorous through the years. The Folies Bergére, a French-style variety show named after the famous hall in Paris, featured singing, dancing, spectacular sets, and beautiful showgirls. The Folies Bergére became the gold standard for the type of entertainment Vegas came to be known for. Here, they were performing at the Tropicana Casino and Hotel in the 1960s. Imagine what it would be like to be in that audience!
Getting Glammed Up
Getting glamorous for a night out in Vegas was an essential part of the whole experience, and considering the complexity of the hairdos popular in the Golden Age of Vegas, you would need to visit a salon to look your very best. Luckily, the Morocco Beauty Salon at the El Morocco motel had you covered, as seen in this charming vintage advertisement from the ’70s. The building underwent a series of changes since its glamorous days, hosting everything from a bank to a Korean restaurant before it was demolished in 2008.
Having a Grand Old Time
Sammy Davis Jr., the multi-talented singer-actor-dancer and member of the Rat Pack, seems to be having the time of his life with his dinner guest, possibly after starring in one of the iconic shows the Rat Pack performed during the Golden Age of Vegas. The Rat Pack frequented the strip’s trendiest bars and restaurants like the Golden Steer restaurant, Casbar Lounge at the Sahara Hotel, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and the city’s oldest bar, Atomic Liquors.
Viva Las Vegas
It wouldn’t have been Vegas in the ’60s without Elvis Presley, perhaps the most iconic performer in American history. In 1969, Vegas hotels had become so prosperous that they could afford to invite some of the biggest acts in the world, not just for one-time concerts, but months-long residencies. The International Hotel had booked Presley for a month to the tune of approximately half a million dollars, and he was so popular that they signed him to a five-year performance contract, paying $1 million per year – which would be $6.5 million today!
A Vegas Wedding
What would you do if you bumped into Brigitte Bardot walking down the street? When it was time for the screen siren to tie the knot for the third time to wealthy German industrialist and playboy Gunther Sachs Von Opel, they decided to forgo the traditional ceremony and jet off to Vegas for a quick spontaneous wedding instead. The spontaneous stars of Vegas’s Golden Era are what made the “instant weddings” at small chapels a glamorous institution that still holds to this day.
Time For Change
Las Vegas casino “Change Girls” are definitely symbolic of a bygone era. They would circulate the floor, ensuring nobody playing the slots would run out of coins at an inopportune moment. But the expression on this woman’s face highlights another side of the Las Vegas lifestyle – beyond the glitz and glamor, there were also employees working long hours surrounded by blinding bright lights and machine sounds, watching as the wealthier people around them gambled their money away.
Twisting The Night Away
Thanks to the likes of Sinatra and his crew of cool cats, Las Vegas was on the map as the capital of cool in the 1950s. This glitzy dance show at the Sands Hotel in December 1952 showcased one of the most popular dance styles of the era, the Twist. The Sands played host to some of the biggest performers of the time, and Frank Sinatra had so much influence there, that he would eventually become one of its co-owners.
Gabor = Glamor
As Las Vegas established itself as the stomping ground for the world’s most famous performers, stars from far and wide were drawn to its glamorous reputation. The renowned Gabor sisters were a trio of beautiful actresses and socialites who came from Hungary and made names for themselves in Hollywood. Here are Zsa Zsa, Magda, and Eva pictured at the Last Frontier Hotel in 1955. One would be hard-pressed to find a better example of classic ’50s glamor on show in Vegas.
Losing Big Time
At first glance, it’s easy to overlook this shot as just a random group of people playing a game. But this picture actually has a great story behind it. The man in the center is none other than Jake Freedman, owner of the legendary club, The Sands. In order to get the upper hand on the Sands’ biggest rival, The Dunes, Freedman headed over to the casino to scope out the competition. On this night in 1955, Freedman ended up losing $10,000 to his rival club, the equivalent of $92,000 today.
The Sands Express
Guests of the Sands Hotel flocked there to get a glimpse into the high life of the rich and famous. And boy, did the fabled club provide, carting its rather conservative-looking patrons around its premises on branded shuttle busses with a driver and attendant who looked like they just stepped off the stage. Since its opening in 1956, The Sands Hotel and Casino became the heart of the Las Vegas scene, and remained an institution in the town until it was demolished in 1999.
The Miracle In The Desert
Opened on May 23, 1955, The Dunes was The Sands’ rival club during Las Vegas’s glory days. The resort, which was modeled with an “Arabian Nights” theme, included 200 hotel rooms, a 90-foot V-shaped swimming pool, and a 150-foot lagoon. The hotel’s slogan was “The Miracle in the Desert,” and it became instantly recognized for the 35-foot-tall fiberglass sultan statue that towered over its main entrance. Dean Martin, Liberace, Judy Garland, and Frank Sinatra all frequented this shrine to Vegas kitsch.
The Rat Pack
The Rat Pack lives in the American canon as the embodiment of that brand of classic Vegas cool from the late ’50s and early ’60s. Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Joey Bishop made up this group of charming crooners and comedians, whose history is inseparable from the development of Vegas from a dusty desert town to a glamorous mega-resort. The happy smiles lighting up their faces hearken back to simpler times when jazz standards and sharp tuxedos reigned supreme.
Setting The Trends
Long before a fast and cheap Vegas wedding was a well-known cultural mainstay, there were the stars who made it that way. Back in the 1940s, getting hitched in Vegas was a daring and glamorous move, highlighted by the fact that the era’s biggest stars were beginning to make a habit of doing it. Screen siren Betty Grable and bandleader Harry James married on July 14, 1943. They were one of the first celebrity couples to marry in Vegas. It’s easy to see how the glamorous couple made it look romantic and exciting.