Many are feeling the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the past several days many people have turned to social fundraising to get help.

The GoFundMe page to help support the Margaret Murphy Centers For Children during the pandemic. The page was set up by Michelle Hathaway. Screenshot

Michelle Hathaway has started a GoFundMe page — www.gofundme.com/f/stock-our-food-pantrycommunity-supplies — for Margaret Murphy Centers For Children’s food pantry. As of Thursday afternoon $1,985 of the $20,000 goal has been reached.

According to the GoFundMe page, the centers provide educational and therapeutic services to 250 children with autism, developmental disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders. Children ages birth to 20 years old attend centers in Lewiston, Auburn, Saco and Randolph.

According to Hathaway’s pitch: “We anticipate that our food pantry, open to any family we serve, will be needed by even more families in the next months, due to the expected fiscal devastation caused by the coronavirus. Our own staff are experiencing financial hardships and we can’t allow our students or our employees families to go hungry at this time. We are raising money to stock our pantry with food,  supplies and cards for groceries, gas and other necessities.”

With schools ramping up remote learning, many families are struggling without the necessary computer equipment or internet access for at-home learning.

Simone Wheeler of Norway has children, but doesn’t have internet access. Wheeler would like to take advantage of Spectrum’s offer of two months of free service so his children don’t fall behind in their studies, but has to pay for installation.

While Spectrum is willing to pay close to $3,000 of the estimated $4,200 cost to run a line from the closest juncture to Wheeler’s house, the remaining cost must be paid by the family, so they’ve also turned to GoFundMe for help (www.gofundme.com/f/kids-need-internet-to-do-school-work).

Henry Wild in Farmington is one of the many college students now learning remotely and he’s looking for a computer that can support video streaming for class and video editing for digital projects.

According to his request: “I am one of those students who is now separated from my friends and classes that used to be a short walk away. Now I’m expected to attend classes and socialize with friends in a digital medium. However, I do not have the same accessibility to the digital mediums as other students.

He hopes to raise $1,000 (www.gofundme.com/f/corona-virus-computer-support).

Nick Beauchesne would like to connect community organizations and small businesses in the Lewiston-Auburn area, including buying gift certificates from local businesses to donate to struggling families. According to his fundraising request, buying gift certificates will help people, but it will also provide an injection of cash to essential local businesses to help them stay solvent through the crisis.

Beauchesne intends to buy gift cards and hold weekly giveaway drawings. Any donations he receives over $100 will go directly to YWCA Central Maine, the YMCA of Lewiston-Auburn and The Root Cellar in Lewiston (www.gofundme.com/f/crossroads-connecting-people-and-resources).

Kristin Reynolds and her family in South Paris are being evicted and need to relocate quickly. They have a month-to-month lease and the landlords want the house back by May 1.

Reynolds is a mother to five children, two of whom have special needs. In her emotional request, she writes she needs help “because we have special needs kids, myself and two of them are immuno-compromised. Because we have devoted service animal pets. Because we are scared.”

And, she wrote: “I just cannot even think about this, because we’re so stressed about getting sick AND about being homeless AND about my husband losing his job AND about literally everything. It’s just been too much.”

As of Thursday, the family’s GoFundMe page has raised $5,859 of the $6,000 needed to find a new place to rent, preferably close to the children’s school (www.gofundme.com/f/evicted-during-pandemic-temp-housing-fund).

Timothy Reed of Oxford recently started a small e-commerce business, The Natural One, which makes printed apparel for proud geeks — according to its site. The site offers the only income for Reed and his wife, so they have also turned to social fundraising for help. He has a goal of raising $1,500, but hasn’t had much luck yet (www.gofundme.com/f/my-ecommerce-site-has-suddenly-become-my-only-job).

Like so many others, Robert Longacre and his wife both recently lost their jobs and are also looking for financial support. They hope to raise $2,000 for what Longacre describes as “a small but strong family of three, with a little one to care for.”

He is sure, he writes, that “things will work out in the end, but in the short-term we are looking for ways to make do. Any amount, however small, would give us some financial assurance to be able to stay in our home and move through this difficult time.

As of Thursday afternoon, they had raised $815 toward their $2,000 goal (www.gofundme.com/f/tswuh5-hard-times).

Ashley Jardine of Poland created a GoFundMe page to help with her father’s medical expenses. He is in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator.

“At this moment,” according to her post, “we are very uncertain of what is to come, and we are, of course, deeply fearful — but we are doing our best to hold onto hope.”

Although she’s asking for financial help, Jardine is also asking “for your positive vibes, healing energy and prayers during this incomprehensible time.” A time when “my dad is alone. And my family and I are separately quarantined, unable to be there to hold his hand, and unable to physically be there for one another. This is what helplessness feels like.”

As of Thursday afternoon, 167 donors had answered her plea and she had raised $12,080 toward her $50,000 goal (www.gofundme.com/f/xjyf2d-pete039s-fight).

“Please. Please take this pandemic seriously,” Jardine said. “Please overreact. Please be overly cautious. Please stop thinking this couldn’t possibly happen to you or your family, because I was in denial, too, and now this is our reality.”


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