One of the most inspiring sites following Sandy’s devastation has been the thousands of people volunteering in the cleanup. In the wake of the storm’s destruction, New Yorkers are coming together to help their communities recover. But there’s still a lot more work to be done. And it can be a challenge to match volunteers with resources to the families who need them.
So Mobile Commons is proud to partner with OccupySMS. They’re using mobile technology to connect people in need with the people who want to help. New Yorkers in the Rockaways, Coney Island, and Staten Island can text in their needs – such as clean-up, pumping, or supplies. Then good Samaritans nearby can lend their services to help out.
Here’s how it works:
People in need (or volunteers on their behalf) text SANDY to 69866. They’ll then be prompted to indicate their location and need —pumping, cleanup, supplies, food, etc. This need is entered into our database.
People providing aid text MUTUAL AID to 69866. They’ll then be prompted to indicate their location and resource. The system will find the address of someone in the area who needs their particular resource. If the volunteer chooses to accept responsibility for this need request, it will be taken out of the SMS database. Contact information between the volunteer and person in need will be shared so they can communicate further.
By using SMS, OccupySMS lets people without Internet access or smart phones get connected with citizens who want to help. It also connects volunteers with more remote enclaves. While central, affluent areas can be well-trafficked by aid groups, people living in out-of-the-way areas have more trouble getting their needs met. Now, with OccupySMS’s campaign, they can finally get the help they require.
The service is also a great way for community relief organizations to be sure they’re not reduplicating each others’ efforts. Because the system works on one-to-one matching, help gets distributed as efficiently as possible.
Check out the samples of how it works below. Then, if you have any questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.