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Doing Good With Technology This Thanksgiving

Sarah is the Project Administrator at the Family Online Safety Institute.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! And, to celebrate the spirit of giving, we wanted to share two wonderful stories about people using technology to help others.

The first story comes from Long Island, NY where in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy one woman, Lauren Foreman, used the Internet to help rebuild an entire town. Because of rain, winds and flooding, 80% of homes on nearby Fire Island – Lauren’s favorite childhood vacation spot – were destroyed.

Devastated, Lauren took to the web to raise money for the town’s volunteer fire department. Just days after the storm she launched her campaign on a popular fundraising platform called Causes, raising $11,000 in less than a week! Lauren’s campaign was the largest grossing campaign of its kind on Causes this year. Not only did she raise money on Causes, she used Facebook to raise awareness about the damage the storm had wrecked on the small town.

About her efforts Lauren thanked everyone for their support and said, “In less than a week, we have raised over $11,000 for the Ocean Beach Volunteer Fire Department! Amazing…This campaign was proof that social media makes things happen!”

The second story comes from Morris Country, NJ, where last year Patrick O’Neill and Michael Connell launched a website called You Give Goods. Their site hosts online food drives, helping to aggregate the kinds of supplies needed in emergency situations and making getting involved as simple as the click of a mouse.

To participate in an online drive through You Give Goods, donors can simply purchase items like food or supplies through the website at retail prices. Then, donations are counted and the site buys donated items at wholesale prices from a goods distributor. Additionally, visitors can start their own drive in their community to support a cause close to them! 

With a website that allows visitors to choose causes that are important to them and makes it easy to get involved, You Give Goods is marrying technology with volunteerism in a very simple way.  "Nobody’s going to send their kid into school with three big bags of groceries for the food drive box and you probably won’t want to carry that much into the office," said O’Neill, CEO of You Give Goods. "But people will really help as much as they can, provided that it’s convenient for them to do it."

From creating a virtual campaign to donating online, we hope these two stories will help inspire you to do some good with technology this holiday season.

Have a happy (and safe) Thanksgiving everyone!

 

Image courtesy of The Star Ledger


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