Share Some Care: Family Effort Helps Match Donors and Needs
Town Topics Newspaper, Princeton, NJ
By Wendy Greenberg
SHARING THEIR CARE: Hopewell siblings, from left, Alexander Huang-Menders, Celeste Huang-Menders, and Christian Huaung are the team behind ShareSomeCare.com, a website they developed to match supplies needed in the COVID-19 crisis with organizations that need them.(Photo courtesy of the family)
What started with a family discussion on how to help during the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a website that connects local resources to needs in any part of the country. Supplies and materials like disposable gloves, N95 face masks, and personal protective equipment, in addition to food for food banks, can find a home through the project, Share Some Care.
Hopewell siblings Alexander Huang-Menders, 16, Celeste Huang-Menders, 15, and Christian Huang, 16, launched the ShareSomeCare.com website in late March as a response to the current pandemic, which has left so many on the front lines scrambling for supplies.
“We realized individuals and businesses have available resources that could be donated immediately,” said Celeste Huang-Menders. “It’s a site to connect donors like nail salons and restaurants, which can give their resources to hospitals and first responders.”
“People know they want to help but they may not know how, where, or what is needed,” added Christian Huang. “This helps direct supplies to where they are needed most.”
The siblings are excited that the project has taken off so quickly, generating traffic nationally. A family effort, it also includes their mom, Theresa Menders, who serves on the advisory board. The board, comprised of individuals with expertise in health care, innovation, and related issues, helps give the initiative a post-crisis direction.
“As more attention is brought to Share Some Care, there will be greater awareness of the site,” said Christian, “and, more information on where resources are locally. It started on a small scale and we quickly realized that donors around the country would benefit from information on which of their local responders need support.”
The project works like this: People or organizations who need supplies register on the website, stating what type of organization they are and what they need (face masks, cleaning wipes, canned or boxed food, for example). Donors can go to the website to learn what needs they can address in their community, and they can deliver their supplies directly. Share Some Care uses social media to raise awareness of specific requests from responders or offers from donors, to match needs to resources.
Requests have come from hospitals and other responders across New Jersey and as far as Wisconsin and Mississippi, and the numbers grow daily. Donors from around the country have included individuals with smaller amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE) and businesses with hundreds or thousands of items, said the three organizers.
Share Some Care users have conveyed their thanks and appreciation, such as a representative of a New Jersey urgent care facility who thanked the team as she sought supplies such as disposable masks, gloves, shoe covers, isolation gowns, hand sanitizer, soap, disinfectants and cleaners, rubbing alcohol, and cleaning wipes.
Donations are delivered directly by the donors. The online database allows the website user to locate fire stations, food banks, hospitals and police stations in their area that are accepting donations. Share Some Care requests “only new or gently-used supplies and equipment that can be used by the recipient organizations.”
The site is not asking for cash donations. It suggests that if an individual wants to donate money, they should go directly to an organization’s website and donate through those channels. They offer donation guidelines, such as “Review your target organization’s requested drop off details, including preferred days and times, to allow their operations to continue as smoothly as possible.”
Being involved is not new for the teens. Alexander, who attends The Pennington School, raises awareness of the global refugee crisis as a member of The Power of Faces, a global refugee portrait project, and was awarded a Make Magazine Editors’ Choice Award for designing a holographic prototype at World Maker Faire 2016.
Celeste’s artwork has been exhibited, and her mural projects include installations at Trenton’s Roberto Clemente Park and at the Tijuana – U.S. border wall to raise awareness of issues facing displaced individuals. She was awarded a Make Magazine Editors’ Choice Award for designing visual stage effects at the World Maker Faire 2017 and also serves on The Power of Faces. She attends George School in Newtown, Pa.
Christian, a student at Notre Dame High School in Lawrence, plays several instruments and sings in his school’s choir. Formerly a student at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Ga., he was president of the National Junior Honor Society in his freshman year and earned the highest number of military merits in his grade, as well as several varsity letters and Army JROTC badges.
Share Some Care is intended to provide longer term support to frontline responders and social services organizations beyond the current crisis. As Alexander put it, “This is a long-term project. It will take years for us to recover from the coronavirus, and we believe many communities will continue to want to help those in need, including individuals and families who already depend on many different health care and social services.”
So far, the care shown through Share Some Care has been gratifying. “It’s great to see how much people are trying to help one another,” said Christian. “A lot of people realize we’re going to have to solve this crisis together.”