It’s truly been a year like no other, and individuals around the world have been done so many good deeds, with people sewing and baking, creating and donating—to make others smile, to keep them going through difficult times.
Scientists have been busy, of course: and it’s not just successful COVID vaccines they’ve been working on. Researchers have been making diabetes breakthroughs, discovering new cancer therapies, creating green innovations. They’ve been working on how to make the world better—for us all.
It’s also been a great year for animal stories: with sweet, funny, beautiful stories about crows and elephants and very cute puppies emerging from across the globe.
And though this year has hit businesses hard—especially our favorite restaurants and bars—our readers have been helping by buying stock, by volunteering and giving big tips: whatever it takes to keep them going through this rocky year.
You’ve been keeping us all going: With your hilarious and heartbreaking comments, through sharing the stories that touched you the most. From all of us at GNN, thank you.
And now? A look back at 2020’s good news.
1. 89-Year-Old Sews 600 Masks While Listening to The Beatles – WATCH
This hardy senior has been sewing hundreds of homemade face masks for all her friends, family, and community members—all while jamming to The Beatles.
The Oscar award-winning actor hosted several virtual bingo games for the Round Rock Senior Living facility—all while respecting social distancing.
3. ‘Wine Fairies’ Have Been Anonymously Gifting Booze and Treats to Neighbors Who Could Use a Smile
Dozens of Facebook groups for the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Wine” have popped up across America so ‘wine fairies’ can leave gifts for community members.
4. Jimmy Fallon Asks Twitter to Describe Their Quarantine in Six Words—and the Results Are Hilarious
Sheltering in place, Jimmy Fallon is producing a Tonight Show ‘At Home Edition’ for the web, and his Hashtags segment was hilarious #MyQuarantineInSixWords
5. Hotel Stays Open During Lockdowns to House Homeless Locals; And They’re Repaying the Favor With Odd Jobs
The Fownes Hotel in Worcester has been housing 45 rough sleepers during the COVID-19 shutdowns—and now, the homeless are repaying the kindness.
6. Family Cheers Up Neighborhood By Spending 6 Hours Coloring Each Brick of Their House With Rainbow Chalk
Although it took the little English family 6 hours and 40 sticks of jumbo chalk, their brick house has now become a source of cheer for the community.
7. Electrician Comes To Repair Lights For 72-Year-old, Then Enlists Entire Community To Fix Her Crumbling House—For Free
When electrician John Kinney found Gloria Scott living in a house that was falling into disrepair, he rallied their MA. community to help.
8. 17-Year-Old ‘Angel’ Cashier Picks Up $173 Grocery Bill for Senior Shopper Who Found Himself Short on Cash
A senior supermarket customer praised a teenage employee for being “the light of day” after she insisted on paying for his groceries last week.
9. Customer Leaves Entire $1,200 Stimulus Check as Generous Tip for Family-Owned Restaurant
The employees of the Colonial Steakhouse in Pine Bluff, Arkansas were over the moon with gratitude after a customer left them a particularly hefty gratuity.
10. Customers Jump Up to Help Run Restaurant When Chef is Left Alone After Staff Emergency: ‘Beautiful to witness’
Huntly, New Zealand restaurant customers jumped in to help when Thai Food Huntly lost most of its staff on a busy Friday night.
11. IKEA Released Instructions on How to Build the 6 Best Blanket Forts For Your Home Quarantine
This month, the Russian IKEA Instagram page published 6 DIY illustrations on how to build the best blanket forts—from the Cåve to the Wigwåm.
12. JOANN Stores are Handing Out Free Fabric Supplies at Curbside to Anyone Sewing Face Masks at Home
JOANN Fabrics is rallying behind America’s healthcare workers by donating fabric and materials to anyone who wants to sew masks—with curbside pickup option.
13. This Moving Company Helps Women Leave Abusive Homes At No Cost
A California moving company has been donating its time and labor to help victims of domestic violence move safely and quickly.
14. Britain’s Best Gardening Couple Outdo Themselves With Spring Spectacular After Spending Lockdown Tending Their Oasis
The Newtons have created ‘Britain’s best garden’ and grown a spring spectacular bursting with color in Walsall after spending lockdown tending their oasis.
Inspired by his grandma’s love of gardening, England’s Tony Le-Britton has been growing rare house plants worth $15,000 per leaf.
16. Engineer Makes a DIY Cell Phone With Rotary Dial So She Doesn’t Have to Use a Smartphone
Rather than learn to live with a smartphone, this engineer designed her own cell phone with a rotary dial—and she is helping others to make their own.
17. After Noticing Lack of Good Sticks At Park, Dad Turns Old Tree Branches into ‘Stick Library’ for Neighborhood Dogs
Since bringing the nifty little “Stick Library” to his local park, more than 50 dogs have delighted in the stash of sticks.
18. Isolated Art Lovers Are Recreating Masterpieces Using Everyday Objects—and the Results Are Amazing
Several social media pages are asking their followers to combat quarantine boredom by recreating iconic paintings using just three objects from their house.
19. Dave Grohl Accepted This 10-Year-Old Girl’s Virtual Drum-Off Challenge–And It Wasn’t As Easy As it Sounds
When Nandi Bushell gives you a drum-off challenge to play your hit Foo Fighters song “Everlong,” if you’re Dave Grohl, you say yes.
The activities director for a London nursing home, Robert Speker, shot photos of seniors recreating classic album covers while in lockdown for a fundraiser.
21. The Guys Who Sell Ocean Plastic Bracelets Are Closing in on 8 Million Pounds of Waste Pulled From the Sea
The company that has been selling $20 plastic bracelets made of ocean plastic are expanding their operations into Guatemala and Central America.
22. For First Time Ever, Scientists Identify How Many Trees to Plant and Where to Plant Them to Stop Climate Crisis
Researchers have identified exactly where we can plant a certain amount of trees in order to stop the climate crisis in its tracks.
23. A Giant Fusion Reactor Hotter than the Sun to Provide Unlimited Clean Energy Without Waste Marks Milestone
The assembly phase of one of humanity’s most-complex engineering projects—a giant nuclear fusion reactor called ITER—launched in France.
24. Hawaii Group Sets Record For Largest Haul of Plastic Removed From The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Ocean Voyages Institute made history this week, removing 103 tons of fishing nets and consumer plastics from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
25. Clint Eastwood Donates Oceanfront Land to Preserve Open Space for Public
Clint Eastwood had donated 79 acres of coastal land to a trust set up to rehabilitate a flood plain and preserve natural areas.
26. Dutch Guy Famous for Cleaning Up Pacific Garbage Patch is Now Clearing the World’s Rivers Too
Young Dutch scientist Boyan Slat is responsible for cleaning up the worlds oceans—and he is now cleaning up rivers with his new invention: The Interceptor
27. As Earth’s Ozone Layer Continues to Repair Itself, Scientists Happily Report Good News on Global Wind Trends
It has been 35 years since the world passed legislation to protect the ozone layer—and new research says that it has been a happy success.
28. This California Highway Has Just Become the First State Road Made From Recycled Plastic in the US
Not only is the process used by Caltrans more eco-friendly that traditional methods, the material lasts 3 times longer than normal asphalt.
29. These New Solar-Pavement Driveways Made of Plastic Bottles Can Power the Average Household
You’ve already heard about solar-paneled rooftops, but now, a company from Hungary is powering residential homes with solar driveways.
Dutch biodesigner Bob Hendrikx has designed a coffin made of mushroom—a “living cocoon” that will turn corpses into super compost.
31. Breakthrough 3D Solar Panel Design Increases Light Absorption By 125% – A Potential Game-Changer
The University of York has increased the ability of solar panels to absorb light by a stunning 125 percent using a checkerboard design.
32. Student Who Grew Her Own Canoe Out of Mushroom Thinks Fungus is Our Best Ally in Climate Change
Katy Ayers has succeeded in growing her own canoe out of mycelium—and the student believes it’s a perfect example of how mushrooms can save the world.
33. Company Collects 80% of City’s Recyclable Plastics and Turns It All into Lumber
More than 80% of the municipal plastic recyclables of Halifax are being processed by a brilliant local company that turns it all into lumber.
34. Breakthrough Solar System Uses Recycled Aluminum to Store Energy—Without Batteries
Swedish startup Azelio is deploying solar systems that use recycled aluminum to store and generate power using thermal energy—without batteries.
Scientists Have Been Making Huge Advances in 2020…
35. 100 Years After First Diabetes Breakthrough, Canadian Scientists Believe They’ve Found a Cure
Edmonton’s Dr. James Shapiro has cured diabetes in mice, raising hopes for a cure in humans if funding and more research is permitted.
36. Accidental Discovery of New T-Cell Hailed as Major Breakthrough for ‘Universal’ Cancer Therapy
Once the researchers determine the mechanism of the revolutionary new T-cell, they hope to trial the treatment by the end of the year.
37. Scientists Discover a Complete Protein Found Nowhere on Earth That Fell From Space, May Hint at Planet’s Origin
On a meteorite, scientists believe they have discovered the first complete extraterrestrial protein that could define life’s origins on earth.
38. Hawking’s 50-Year Mystery About Falling into Black Holes Has Finally Been Solved
Solving Hawking’s black hole information paradox, scientists end a 50-year contradicton of what happens to things that fall in a black hole.
39. Rather Than Slip into Depression, Man Quits Job, Sells Possessions, and Travels the World With a Ferret
After enduring three heartbreaking losses in the same year, this former airman quit his job so he could find happiness on the road with his pet ferret.
40. Watch Family’s Dachshund and Speedy Tortoise Playing Football Together
Jaguar the tortoise named for his speed, loves playing soccer with the family’s Dachshund, which is usually an unfair fight.
41. Watch Dog ‘Talk’ to His Owner in English Using a Sound Board With Dozens of Spoken Phrases
Bunny the dog may only be 11 months old, but he has already learned to communicate with his owners using a 45-button sound board.
42. After Years of Helping Crow Family, Man Was Left ‘Mind-Blown’ Over Their Homemade Gifts in Return
An amateur Seattle bird watcher was stunned to discover that the neighborly crow family in his front yard had left him two “mind-blowing” gifts.
43. Australian Woman Finds Koala Hanging Out in Her Christmas Tree – And the Photos are Adorable
An Australian woman found that her Christmas tree had a new ornament after a live koala wandered inside and snuggled up the branches.
44. Shaq Repays Fan’s Kindness in Best Buy By Offering to Pay for ‘Nicest Laptop’ in the Store
When a random basketball fan approached Shaquille O’Neal to express his condolences, the NBA legend repaid the kindness by buying the guy a laptop.
45. Woman Who Fostered 600 Kids in 50 Years Took in Anyone—Regardless of Age or Medical Condition
Over the course of the last 50 years, Linda Herring has fostered more than 600 children of every age, gender, race, and medical category.
46. Businessman Needing a Warehouse Stumbles Upon World’s Largest Train Set—And Refuses to Simply Tear it Down
Rather than tear down the elaborate model train display in this New Jersey warehouse, a businessman paid a quarter-million to renovate it for the public.
47. Single Mom Donates Lottery Win Anonymously to Wounded Policeman, But Officers Track Her Down to Reciprocate
Shetara Sims won $100, but even though she needed it, she donated it to a Kansas City officer, but the police department then raised $145k for her kindness.
48. Love in the Time of Corona: NYC Man is Now Dating His Neighbor After He Creatively Woos Her in Quarantine
Jeremy Cohen has become internet-famous since he published a series of videos on how he won the heart of his neighborhood “quarantine cutie.”
49. Two Surfers Save a ‘Starving, Cold’ Dog From Sea Cave After It Had Been Missing For 3 Months
Zach Regan and Matty Johnson were camping on Vancouver Island when they found a lost dog stuck in a sea cliff cave.
50. When Black Man Was Afraid to Walk in His Upscale Community, 75 Neighbors Walked With Him
When African-American Shawn Dromgoole was afraid to walk in his gentrified community, he expressed his fear and 75 neighbors walked with him.
Here’s to 2021, where we’re wishing you—and the world—all the good news possible.
LET us Know your Favorite Stories of 2020 in the Comments—and Don’t Forget to Share!