Here to Help:
Websites and apps to make helping friends and family a breeze!
by Kelly Hunter
One of the strongest things a woman can do is to ask for help when she needs it. No one should have to go through struggles or fight battles alone. For those who want to help, it can be difficult to know how. Luckily, there’s a website for that. Whether what’s needed is financial, emotional or nutritional, helpers and those in need can get connected via some terrific bits of tech.
If you want or need to raise money for personal reasons or your favorite charity, the go-to website is GoFundMe®. The best news is that it’s practically free! There’s no fee to start a fundraiser. Since donations are made through credit or debit cards, GoFundMe® automatically deducts 2.9% and 30 cents from each donation to cover processing charges. If 30 donors gave a total of $1,500 dollars, the person who started the fundraiser would get $1447.50, with the $52.50 in processing fees automatically deducted. Granted, giving a check or cash directly to the person who needs it, or through a church or other group, would save that processing fee, but if you want to take credit or debit cards and reach a wider pool of donors, you’ll want to go with GoFundMe®: www.gofundme.com.
Fighting an illness or healing from an injury is one of the most demanding and isolating experiences people face. Family and friends want to offer support, but it can be draining to a patient’s already stressed emotional reserves to try to keep everyone updated. CaringBridge®, a non-profit organization, offers a free, easy-to-use communication platform to keep people informed. For nearly 25 years, this website has helped folks create sites where they can navigate their health journeys and get support from friends and family near and far. The journal feature keeps everyone up to date with written entries, photos and more. The CaringBridge® Planner makes it easy for hosts to ask for help, by listing to-dos and allowing visitors to choose what they can do to lighten the load. If you know someone battling illness or injury, you can search the CaringBridge® website to see if they’ve set up a portal. If you can’t find one, you might suggest that they try it: www.caringbridge.org.
Feed the Need:
For generations, communities have responded to trauma with food. When my father died, we were literally overwhelmed with food. When people want to help, the instinct to feed kicks in. Unfortunately, when all the food arrives at once, it can end up adding stress, and some of it is bound to go to waste. Fortunately, Meal Train® was founded 12 years ago to help communities organize delivery of meals through their website. Participants can visit a Meal Train® page of a friend or family member to find out food preferences, allergies and what dates are available. They can even see what meals have been given recently, so the recipient isn’t eating chicken noodle soup five days in a row (unless they really like soup!). Friends and family who don’t live nearby, or aren’t the best cooks, can donate gift cards or money to cover a meal, too. It’s all kept very private, only accessible via a private link. Like with CaringBridge®, recipients can share photos and updates to keep people informed and show their gratitude. Even the most joyful events can be overwhelming. Meal Train® is a great way to help out new parents or welcome a new neighbor: www.mealtrain.com.
Knowing that someone you care about is struggling can make even the strongest person feel helpless. While social media is the way we often find out about major life events, clicking the care reaction sometimes doesn’t feel like enough. If you or someone you love is overwhelmed by need, illness or other life changes, consider these websites to help manage the process of getting help and support. We are strong, powerful creatures, but we do not have to go through life’s trials and tribulations alone. If you want to help, ask your friend or family member if they are using one of these sites. They are a great way to reach out and show you care.