From the Forum – PoPville gives back?


PoPville gives back?

“I’ve thought of this as my “what I would do if I won the lottery” idea, but the discussion earlier about replacing the stolen can got me thinking.

What if PoPville adopted a family for a year?

We could have readers nominate families in their neighborhood that are trying their hardest but can’t seem to catch a break. Readers could vote on the family to select, or a panel of readers could pick.

What would adopting a family look like?
– Thanksgiving meal, Christmas gifts, Easter baskets, back to school backpacks and clothes, etc.
– Tickets to Boo at the Zoo, movies, interesting and educational events
– piano lessons for a kid who was interested if someone in PoPville is inclined to offer (or photography, golf, dog training, balloon shape artist, whatever)
– tutoring?
– anything else we could think of

We could set up a page where readers could donate (I imagine even $5-$10 from each reader would get us pretty far). A group of readers could volunteer to track what is done with the money and provide regular updates and/or stories.

What do people think? We talk all the time in the comments about all the antagonism in DC between old/new, haves/have nots, black/white, etc. What if we did something to make a small dent in those arguments?

It could be a lot of work, but it could be pretty rewarding. Thoughts?”

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28 Comment

  • This idea is either brilliant or horrendous – I can’t quite decide.

    • I think a lot of people would be enthusiastic about the idea initially but there wouldn’t be enough momentum to carry it through to fruition.

  • What was the stolen can discussion? I would love it if a good Samaritan replaced my stolen recycling can!

  • i think it’s a good idea as long as it’s done with tact. i guess by that i mainly mean keeping the receipients anonymous… not too many personal details etc so it’s not a case of putting someone’s misfortune on display. also — select carefully — sometimes misplaced help can cause harm too. but don’t let that dissuade you. generosity of spirit and act are good things.

  • I would love to see this happen and go well but it reminds me of something that occurred in DC years ago. A family was selected to get a new house. It made everyone feel great, the family had really bad circumstances and they said all the right things. Just warm fuzziness everywhere. Then a news crew went back one year later. The house was complete mess, the stove ,that was a year old ,was sitting on the front lawn. They had a lot of excuses for why the house looked the way it did but they were all pretty lame. Just saying that sometimes things like this are done to make others feel good and your not really helping if you don’t get to the core of the issue

  • I agree with Tom.

    Here’s another thought. How about a weekly post that focuses on a local charity? Have a local charity to love and support? Write up a piece about them and what they do and maybe it will appear on PoP?

    Just a thought…

  • I don’t like this idea for two general reasons. First, there are already many many ways to “give back” if that is something you want to do. If you’re thinking of creating another one I think you need to think carefully about why. Second, charity is a noble sentiment but this sounds like a lot of work and I think once you get into the details there are a lot of ways it could go wrong.

  • I think what would be really cool is to have a Beautiful Fund, where perhaps a portion of advertising, donations, t-shirt sales, HH fundraisers…could be gathered and then projects nominated via PoPville for a vote/discussion and then dispersed to worthy projects (big and small) to help make the PoPville life a bit more beautiful.

    • I like this idea better.

      • I second the idea posed by andy2! The process of even vetting the right family is too daunting to think of. I think that choosing a charity and having fundraisers is a much better thing to do – and we’d be making PoPville even more beautiful!

  • Blithe

    I think your heart is in the right place — but the logistics of pulling this off could be staggering. Not to mention what it would feel like to be a member of a family with challenges that is publicly put on display for a vote — win or lose. Maybe a way to do this would be to find an organization that is already about the work of helping families — and supporting them. Or “adopting” a school — perhaps a particular class for a school year, could be a good way to go.
    I think many of us would be up for a Popville effort to make our city a better place. Another possibility would be to have — and publicize — a “wish list” as part of the site — where someone needing tutoring or help with shoveling snow could post, and available volunteers could respond. Are there already community resources that do this? And, if there are, is it likely that the people who might want such resources would have easy access to them?

    • I was the one who posted the original idea – but I like your idea of adopting a class even better. It would be a way to see how many people really participate too. It could range from donating books to paper cups (had a friend at one charter school whose teachers said they had kids share cups because they couldn’t afford to buy enough. Talk about spreading colds!) or school supplies, etc. There are bound to be teachers on PoP who might want help and who could tell us if there are particular needs that we could help with for their students (clothes or food even).

      • That idea I LOVE! (I am anon from 3:16). I think adopting a class is an adorable idea, it really supports a community, and helps us make this a better place to potentially stay and raise kids (because isn’t that what we 20 somethings want, to make DC a great place to have a family?)

        • *cough*
          Ahem, not all of us are twentysomethings! If anything, it seems like there are more thirtysomethings than twentysomethings here.

        • Blithe

          Lol! I THINK I remember twenty-something…… I actually grew up in Petworth, and went to school at Park View. And it has, indeed, been a great place to have and be a family.

      • Blithe

        Another possibility — which might be just as welcome — but a way to ease into something like this — could be a commitment to a specialty resource class at a school. I’d bet that most music teachers and art teachers could use supplies — ranging from big-budget items like instruments — and secure cabinets where they could be stored — and kilns, to basics like crayons.

  • clevelanddave

    Seems like a lot of favoritism might be involved. Who is to decide one family or another is worse off or needs more help than another? Focus on what you do best, which is reporting on the news of the people and places of PoPville…

  • subsidizing a families’ rent for 6 mos. to a year to help them move out of a homeless shelter.

  • I have to agree with commenters. This is an awesome idea and I love where it is coming from, but I feel like a lot of families in that situation who really want to do better will not want a years worth of charity from yuppies who comment on a local blog….

    • I think this is a bad idea, agree this sounds like a bunch of yuppies feeling guilty for pushing low income families out of DC. I think it would be much better to raise money for a charity selected by readers.

      One thought too, is perhaps during the holidays to select a family(ies) in need from a charity that is seeking help. My old office used to adopt a family each Christmas and everyone would buy stuff off their wish list, but the family was already vetted and selected by a well know organization.

  • My workplace in Alexandria did this. But just for Xmas. They went through some organization.

    I thought it was a little weird because there were five kids with three under the age of five, and it was 2012. So they were born after 2008, so why would you have kids if you didn’t have savings during a recession bordering on depression?

    • Recessions do not have nearly as great an impact on people who *already* don’t have jobs, savings, financial investments, and/or homes that they own. You may as well be asking why poor people ever have children. It’s not always a calculated financial decision.

  • I recall one (or more) PoPville beautification projects – a group of PoPvillagers got together to do a neighborhood cleanup in Petworth, or Columbia Heights or ?

    Doing a volunteer project as a group is an option,

  • Sorry for the random question, but where is this tree? It is the tree from the PoPville tshirts, right? As a frequent reader, I think I should make a pilgrimage to this iconic evergreen! As for the idea, I like it but would be in favor of partnering with an existing charitable organization for the execution end of it. Local organizations like SOME (So Others Might Eat) and Martha’s Table could probably connect us with a few familes and a list of things they need, plus we could organize a couple PoPville days to volunteer and meet each other face-to-face for once.

  • Please no voting on a family. There’s no need to exploit someone’s tough situation and pit them against someone else in a tough spot. There’s a way to help people and yet allow them to maintain their dignity.

  • This is the most patronizing idea I have ever heard. Like literally patronizing. Please don’t do this, it is in horrible taste. Nominating people and voting? I hope this is a joke, seriously. Struggling parents are not children, they don’t want to be ‘adopted’ by a bunch of privileged, mostly white online commentators.

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