Facebook announces feature that allows people to help their neighbors

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A few days ago, I got an automated phone call from my apartment complex notifying me that management has set up a (carefully engineered) food pantry at the complex so that people can bring extra canned and boxed goods to give to other residents. I have somehow ended up with 2126 jars of tomato sauce, so I am probably going to donate a few. One of the points made by the Contagion cast in their PSAs was to check on neighbors who might be in need of help. After he emerged from isolation while recovering, Prince Charles spoke about the difficulties being faced by older individuals during this long period of isolation, including loneliness.

Facebook wants to do something about these problems and facilitate people safely helping others in their community as we’re all social-distancing:

Facebook is introducing its newest feature…

On Tuesday, the social networking site announced a new page called Community Help, where users can go to help their neighbors who are struggling due to the pandemic.

The new feature, which was built after Facebook saw an increase in posts about helping others, allows people to set a filter that specifies their location and mile radius, within 50 miles or less.

They also have the option of choosing the ability to give or receive help, and the category in which they’re looking to contribute, including baby supplies, business support, food, information, toiletries, transportation, and volunteer work.

From there, users can create new posts stating what they’re searching for or looking to do. Those wanting to help can also respond to already-existing requests to offer their services.

Since its launch, Facebook has seen posts from people offering to deliver groceries and run errands, provide mental health support, financial assistance, and specific supplies, volunteer to distribute food through local food banks, and even donate blood to those in need.

[From People]

The Community Help Page also has information about fundraisers: the COVID-19 Fundraiser for WHO by the United Nations Foundation, and the Combat Coronavirus with the CDC Foundation, by the CDC Foundation. Facebook pledged to match donations to each fundraiser up to $10 million, and they’ve already surpassed that goal.

One of the most devastating aspects of living during this pandemic is everything that is unknown and uncertain, something that Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, mentioned when discussing his brother Chris Cuomo’s coronavirus diagnosis. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless right now. Andrew talked about knowing that there isn’t anything that he could do for Chris, and how frightening that is, alongside all of these other unknowns. This effort by Facebook allows people to safely come together to help each other in ways that are doable, and I hope that it makes tangible, positive differences for everyone who uses this opportunity to connect with people in their communities.

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Photos credit: Anna Shvets, NTWRK and Christina Morillo from Pexels

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5 Responses to “Facebook announces feature that allows people to help their neighbors”

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  1. FHMom says:

    My town’s moms Facebook page is raising money to feed our Emts and some local hospitals where some of our group’s members work as nurses. It makes me feel like I’m doing something. Also, our local uni has a food bank for student where my son has volunteered a few times. I don’t know how those students are eating. So many things to worry about.

  2. pottymouth pup says:

    NextDoor also has a feature where you can add yourself as someone who can help someone nearby. This will be helpful for people in need who don’t have a support network nearby (or at all)

    https://nextdoor.com/help_map

  3. lizzieb says:

    This is good. Glad that sm to be used for helping

  4. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    Say prayers, and if you can, donate, to all those homeless whose already desperately-precarious existence is made hellish by this terrible virus. I do not think I would have survived if I had been without shelter while infected with it. Any voluntary kitchens (only if you’re not at risk), food banks, clean clothes, basic medical supplies and clean water would be of so much help to them. I’m not a religious sort, but it’s a ‘for the least of my brethren’ time.

  5. lucy2 says:

    Thanks for sharing this. My state has a job board with easy applications for any company hiring right now (mostly delivery and grocery) and I posted the link to my area’s Help page.