Fundraising campaigns expose deeper problems

Online crowdsourcing, defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group, has the power to do great things.

A recent local crowdsourcing success occurred when Jasmine Crowe-Houston, a parent of a child who attends City Schools of Decatur (CSD), started a GoFundMe campaign to raise thousands of dollars with the goal of wiping out the school district’s lunch debt.

The campaign was an overnight success – literally. Within 48 hours, Crowe-Houston had surpassed her goal and collected more than $85,000 in donations. On the surface, the story is a feel-good tale of a community coming together to support students in need. But isn’t it alarming that a campaign to raise thousands of dollars to ensure something as basic as a hot lunch for students was even needed in the first place?

According to GoFundMe Communications Manager Brian Hill, fundraisers started for lunch debt increased significantly on the fundraising website in 2023 as reported in GoFundMe’s Year in Help annual report.

A quick scroll through the fundraising website shows people desperate to pay medical fees, rent, utilities and groceries. When did online fundraising become the only way, for many people, to come close to paying off that exorbitant hospital bill?

While we at The Champion applaud Crowe-Houston taking action, we also believe it speaks to the sad state of affairs when basic needs are not being met for so many who hope and pray their GoFundMe campaign gets enough clicks and shares to actually be beneficial.

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