Samantha Balaban

Food banks have seen demand climb dramatically this year. Eric Cooper of the San Antonio Food Bank talks about how additional federal dollars could make a difference to his clients.

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SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

It's a regular, old, chain link fence circling a parking lot in a residential community in Maryland.

Except that attached to the fence are seven wooden boxes. They look like elaborate dioramas.

It's all part of an art exhibit called Community Lost and Found — and it asks residents to consider the question: What have you lost, and what have you found in 2020?

One box is decorated with a bird's nest and a pacifier suspended in a translucent globe — representing the baby girl that Megan Abbot and Gary Hall had in May.

Imagining your place in the universe can make you feel pretty small and insignificant, and in the midst of a global pandemic? Well, even more so.

"I think this moment that we are living through reminds us how fragile our species is, living on this small rock in the vastness of the cosmos," says astrophysicist Ray Jayawardhana. But he doesn't think that the universe should necessarily make you feel alone. It's inspiring, he says, to remember the "intimate and enduring connections that we have with the rest of the cosmos."

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Animal shelters around the country say that they're seeing more interest than usual during the pandemic. Are you perhaps thinking of adopting a dog? Or B.J. Leiderman, who writes our theme music? NPR's Samantha Balaban worked with our Life Kit podcast to assemble advice on where to start and how to prepare.

JILLIAN MOLINA: If possible, I'd love to just see your yard to make sure it's, like, dog proof.

Sarah Knight has built a career on saying no.

Her latest book, simply titled F*ck No! is a 300+ page book about how to say a single, two-letter, one-syllable word.

It's tongue-in-cheek self-help that offers advice on how to do what Knight calls mental decluttering, in order to pare down life to the essentials.

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