B.C. service aims to connect those in need with volunteers amid COVID-19 crisis

Purposely helps volunteers find people to help

Are you looking to help people in your community during these uncertain times? Perhaps you’re looking for a place to ask for help.

That’s where Purposely comes in.

The B.C.-based online platform pairs those who need help with those who can help them. Co-founder Alex McGowan said originally, Purposely paired volunteers with community organizations in their areas, helping people work on the various issued they cared about in their communities. Launched in 2018, he said they’ve seen people, communities, and organizations successfully work together.

But over the last two days, he said they started to see a large number of people needing help who have been affected by the pandemic in some way, so they repurposed the platform to focus on COVID-19 efforts.

“So what we did is we built some simple tools that allow people to post asks and post offers and find each other,” he said.

“With the pandemic going on and lots of organizations winding down a bit and everything has been put on pause, we went back to our roots and built a tool that will allow people to take action on things they care about.”

Purposely is available throughout Canada and anywhere in the world. Whether you’re looking for help or you’re looking to help, all you need to do is put in your postal code and the platform will give you a list of asks or offers closest to you.

A built-in chat will pop up so individuals can figure out details of what is needed and where to drop off items, among other things.

The repurposed platform launched on March 26, and McGowan said there has been a surge of users already, but he said they want to make sure those who are in need know about the platform.

“So many people want to help and that’s good, but we want to make sure the people who are in need get that help,” he said.

“We’re open to working with food banks, with other non-profits that have a lot of people they serve. Anyone is totally welcome to contact us if they want to collaborate with us.”

In the end, McGowan said they want to see people mobilize and turn the current situation into something positive.

“This is a hugely challenging time for a lot of people. There’s a lot of people in need… it’s a scary time. I think that for us, this is going to be a huge moment for our generation and we want this crisis to show what’s good about people.”

If you are seeking help or want to help, you can visit Purposely online. If you’re part of a community organization looking to help residents, you can you can contact co-founder Alex McGowan.

If you know others who are giving back and helping those in need during this critical time, send us an email and let us know!

READ MORE: Big White chef brings fresh produce to Central Okanagan Food Bank

READ MORE: Kelowna philanthropist hosts contest for healthcare tuition at Okanagan College


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

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