More Than 187,000 People Are Helping Out on a New Website for Volunteers

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“Pandemic of Love” might be the least-subtle name for a volunteer website of its kind, but you can’t argue with $25 million in contributions and 187,000-plus success stories since the site’s launch a few months ago. As the pandemic stretches on, a wave of generosity is growing, thanks to the site, which connects people who need help with those who can give help. The idea was born when Shelly Tygielski of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, decided “to create connection [and] community and strengthen the bonds of love between us.” She posted a launch video and signup links, and when she “woke up the next morning, there were already 400 requests to get help and 500 to give help,” Tygielski said.

A hashtag spread the word—wouldn’t you notice #PandemicofLove?—and “within the first 24 hours I received an email offering to start a Pandemic of Love community for San Francisco, and within two to three days I got messages to create communities in Portugal and Barcelona,” she said. “Now I get at least 20 emails a day from folks who want to create micro-communities from all over the world.”

People have signed up in more than a dozen countries, including Chile, Australia, Mexico, and Iceland, mainly in search of help with food and supplies for children.

If you’ve volunteered or appreciated the help of people who have, send your stories to recharge@motherjones.com.

This article has been updated to reflect the quickly growing number of volunteers and contributions.

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