Web Site to Connect Needy Families With Those Who Wish to Help

by Dhiram Shah

The Adopt-a-Katrina Family Project today announced the launch of its new Web site, the nation’s first online database that instantaneously matches a donor’s goodwill with a family that needs immediate help. The concept for is simple: one family helps one family. The Web site directly connects people in need with people who are ready to help through the Internet. Those who wish to offer assistance simply register on the site which matches the pre-selected needs of Katrina victims with a provider’s pre-selected offer of goods or services. The Web site then facilitates contact between the two families.

Century City Businessman Mark McLaughlin commissioned and funded the Adopt-a-Katrina Family Project because, like most Americans, he was frustrated by the sight of help not reaching those who need it most. He was particularly disturbed by an episode of ABC’s Nightline that related an incident in which a proud, but displaced family was donated a barren apartment. Reluctantly, they went to the Red Cross who ironically refused to help them, saying they weren’t living in a shelter and recommended they move back to a shelter to receive assistance.
Unlike other bulletin-board-style posting Web sites, provides users with a sophisticated computer program that matches donors with families whose lives have been affected by the recent disaster. For example, if a family or individual has a certain item or service they wish to donate, such as household goods, they simply enter the information in to the Web site and then are promptly matched with a family that needs the particular item. When a match has been made, the provider is notified via email with the option to accept an entire or partial list of needs. If they choose only selected needs, the requestor’s unselected needs will return to the open list in search of another match.
The Adopt-a-Katrina Family Project also follows-up electronically with both parties to ensure the match is working and the needs are being met. If desired, a provider may adopt more than one family at a time. The site will support in excess of a million families. does not handle money or goods — its sole purpose is to get people in contact with each other.
Those who register on the Web site may provide any item or service, such as clothing, household items, furniture, school supplies, fuel cards, cell phones, calling cards, transportation, housing, jobs, shipping, computers or internet access. And while the site will match families based on predetermined needs, the donation possibilities are endless and only limited by the resources of compassionate registered providers. A list of online suppliers is posted on the website to assist providers in easily filling a family’s needs. In the likely event that displaced families do not have a permanent address to receive packages, FedEx and UPS will hold packages at their facilities for pickup. Only those who register online through the Web site may participate.
Via PRnewswire