NJ Startup Has Found a New Way to Feed Local Victims of Hurricane Sandy

YouGiveGoods is a socially conscious New Jersey startup that has brought food drives online. A recent winner of the 2012 IT, Telecom & Mobile Innovation Competition at NYI Bridgewater, YouGiveGoods has partnered with the Salvation Army and a number of other charities to help local victims of Hurricane Sandy.  NJTC TechWire recently interviewed Patrick O’Neill, CEO, YouGiveGoods, via email.   

NJTC: What is the latest is areas hardest hit by the storm?

Patrick O’Neill: A number of these areas are still in early disaster recovery mode.  People are safe but are not allowed to return to their homes or what’s left of them.  It’s very sad.  People are in shock and the people helping out are exhausted.  For most areas, however, attention is starting to shift to the long recovery process.

NJTC: How did your relationship with the Salvation Army happen?

O’Neill:  We introduced them to what we do earlier this year and they really liked it.  With the weak economy, their resources have been stretched these past few years and they viewed our website’s service as a great way to leverage technology to increase donations to them.

NJTC: How does YouGiveGoods work?

O’Neill:  Anyone or any organization can set up an online food drive on our site.  It only takes a few minutes to do and there’s no cost to do it.  People who want to support the drive come to our site and buy the food online to donate to the drive.  When the drive is over, we deliver the food directly to the food pantry, soup kitchen or shelter the drive is supporting. 

NJTC: Have donations increased in the past few weeks?

O’Neill:  They’ve increased dramatically.  We’ve had over 150 Hurricane Sandy relief drives set up since the storm struck.  Many of these drives have been setup by people and groups from around the country.  Seeing the donations to all of these drives has been inspiring.  It’s been awesome to see how many people want to help out.

NJTC: Did you ever envision a situation like the one we’re in now when you started YouGiveGoods?

O’Neill:  Not really.  We’ve known from the start that our platform had the capability of being used to facilitate people helping out in a disaster.  But we didn’t contemplate a disaster that we were a part of.  Our office and most of our team is located in NJ.   While our website operated continuously during and after the storm, our team members were dealing with the same things as many New Jersey residents – no power, no internet, no gas.   We were able to get the whole team up and running virtually the day after the Hurricane hit as we started to see our website activity leap upwards. 

NJTC: What is the best way for people to get involved?

O’Neill:  Simple.  Take a few minutes to visit www.YouGiveGoods.com/SANDY – from there people can find the whole list of Sandy Relief drives is they want to donate some food or they can easily set up their own relief drive.  We know that the recovery from Sandy is going to take a long time and that the people displaced by Sandy are going to need food assistance (and other things) for a long time to come. 

 

 

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Categories: Non-Profit

Author:NJ Tech Council

The New Jersey Tech Council helps companies grow and supports the tech, innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems in the state and region.

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