Technology has huge community donations

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Technology has huge community donations

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Growing up in Bloomfield in the 1950s and 1960s, I remember seeing empty coffee cans next to the cash register at Ollie O’Briant’s drugstores, Bill Tews’ coffee shops, Isham Pottorff’s gas stations. increase.

A handwritten signature was taped to the side of the can. This was a common fundraising technique at the time.

These simple solicitations were the go-to vehicle for local families to solicit donations to help cover the costs of serious medical setbacks or help victims of home fires. could be used for uniforms for a new high school band or give a local Little League team a financial boost.

For years, Brian Burnham placed an “Angel Tree” in his family’s supermarket every Christmas. It connected families in need with shoppers who might make a donation.

Coffee tins and gift trees were an easy way to connect beneficiaries with the heartfelt charity of those in the community. The spirit of helping others, be it friends, neighbors, or even strangers, is one of his rural Iowa intangibles.

But technology seems to have pushed the coffee can aside. But in the process, this change has broadened the scope of its helping ethos.

All of this comes to mind as people across the country reacted to the Des Moines Pieper Lewis tragedy last week. The homeless teenager was 15 when he fatally stabbed a 37-year-old man in 2020.

Lewis pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Last week, she was placed on her five-year probation and ordered to pay her $150,000 in compensation to the family of the deceased man.

Especially for Lewis’ victims as adopted children who were kicked out of their last home and abused in sex trafficking, the return obligation angered her former teacher.

Teacher Leland Shipper didn’t reach for an empty coffee can. Instead, he set up an account on her GoFundMe website and posted a note explaining Lewis’ abuse and her current legal predicament.

“Iowa created a law that does not give judges discretion over how it is applied, so Piper does not deserve the financial burden for the rest of her life.” I am.”

Fifteen thousand people in Iowa and across the United States heard Shipper’s plea. By Sunday he had $541,700 donated. This is enough to cover her debt repayments and the cost of her college education.

The success of this GoFundMe initiative is no fluke.

Every day in cities large and small, people are setting up similar fundraising accounts in hopes of connecting with like-minded souls who can help make difficult tasks a little easier to bear.

Unlike the coffee can method, which establishes a connection only when a potential donor walks past the checkout counter, GoFundMe solicitations can span 24 hours or more a day, from border to border.

This is what it looked like last March 5, when an early freak tornado ripped a strip between Winterset and Chariton. Tragically, seven people were killed, homes and vehicles were extensively damaged, and dozens of lives were claimed.

One of Storm Toll’s unforgettable images was the charming family portrait of Michael and Cli Bolger and their three young children. The photo shows a couple sitting in the bed of an old pickup his truck, with their children peering out of the truck’s rear window.

The family in Blue Springs, Missouri, were visiting Kuri’s parents in Winterset when the tornado hit. Everyone takes refuge in the house’s pantry, but Michael, Kinley, and Owen are killed, along with Kuri’s mother, Melissa Basley.

Friends quickly created a GoFundMe account to help Kuri and her family. It took a truckload of coffee cans to meet the donation. Donations came from her 10,000 donors across the United States, ultimately bringing her to $567,600.

The reaction to the death of another family member in the same storm also brought tears to my eyes. His Jesse Theron Fisher of Chariton was camping with his uncle Garold Smith at Red Haw State Park when a 170 mph wind blew. They were staying in a campervan as their home was damaged in a recent fire.

The two friends huddled in their camper as a tornado passed overhead. Smith then crawled out of the rubble and called out to his nephew.

“Then I found him lying on the ground,” Smith told KCCI a few days later. did you?”

Friends jumped to a GoFundMe account that raised $26,400 to provide money for Fisher’s funeral payments and Smith’s moving forward needs.

Bloomfield’s Ann Morgan is one of the unsung heroes all communities are blessed with. The former educator has raised tens of thousands of dollars for college scholarships and countless other sums, sometimes for those in need.

She had always gravitated toward traditional funding methods — until a friend encouraged her to try GoFundMe when her family needed financial help for a long-overdue home renovation project.

“It took some convincing to set up a GoFundMe page,” she later posted. “I was told this was a better way to reach people and younger generations away from Davis County. In one day, she received $955 towards her goal.”

Save those coffee cans for other uses. We cannot discuss success or the kindness of friends and strangers in times of adversity or special needs.