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People are creatively using sites like Etsy and Airbnb to get money directly to Ukrainians
Photo by Artem Zhukov on Unsplash; screenshot via @renebelew/Instagram

People are using person-to-person purchases to get money to Ukrainians in the war.

As we watch the war in Ukraine from half a world away, many Americans wonder what they can do to help the Ukrainian people.

There are standard NGOs and nonprofits, such as the Red Cross, Amnesty International and the International Rescue Committee, that are organizing aid to refugees inside and outside the country, of course. But not everyone feels good about putting their donation money into a big, pooled pot. Some people want to know exactly where their money is going and who it is helping.

And some people are figuring out creative ways to do that via person-to-person "gig economy" platforms like Etsy and Airbnb.


Here's how they're doing it:

For one, people are booking Airbnb stays in Ukraine for the coming days, which they obviously won't be using, and telling the hosts to keep the money. When you book an Airbnb you can read the profiles and reviews of the hosts to get a sense of who they are, if they have children, etc. Some people rent out private rooms in their own homes, while others own property that they rent out, but it's easy to see who you are renting from. When you book, you are also directly connected to the host so you can message each other.

The responses from people who have done this are both heartbreaking and beautiful.

@renebelew/Instagram

The Quentin Quarantino Instagram account, which has been used for huge crowdfunding efforts, shared the idea and the responses some followers have gotten from Ukrainians when they've done this. It also shared some tips, such as booking dates that are coming up soon since payments only go through to the host once the booking date arrives.

You can click the right arrow to scroll through all of the the screenshots, but here are a few of them:

Screenshot via quentin.quarantino/Instagram

Worth noting that Airbnb has waived the fees for hosts in Ukraine and its nonprofit arm, Airbnb.org, is coordinating stays for 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.

In addition to Airbnb, people are also using Etsy to give to Ukrainian people directly by buying from Ukrainian sellers. Some people have pointed out that sellers who sell digital files—educational or decorative printables, sewing or knitting patterns, and so on—can benefit from getting sales without having any confusion over whether someone wants something shipped.

Here's how you do it:

1. Go to Esty.com and type “digital files” in the search box

2. Click "All Filters" and scroll down to "Country"

3. Under "Custom," type "Ukraine"

You can use the country filter for any item sold on Etsy, but you do have to put something into the search bar before the filter option shows up. If you place an order for a physical item, just let the seller know upfront that you aren't expecting them to ship anything, you just want to send them some financial and moral support.

This is a good opportunity to personalize your giving in more ways than just a personal message. If you have a crocheting hobby, for instance, you could search "crochet" and then filter for Ukraine to support a fellow crocheter. It might sound silly, but those simple human connections are meaningful, especially when people are facing down inhumanity.

The situation in Ukraine is dire, and while it's important to support large-scale aid programs that have experience with getting people the assistance they need in a crisis, there's more than one way to help. Sometimes putting cash directly into the pockets of people who have just lost their livelihoods to war, who might need funds to get out of the country or to get supplies that help them stay safe can make a significant difference.

The beauty of sites like Airbnb and Etsy is that they allow us to connect with and help people on the ground directly, in a way that reminds all of us of the humanity at the heart of it all.


All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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