When Scot Campbell lost his job as a golf course builder in 2010, he began volunteering as a hospital parking valet for patients undergoing cancer treatments.
“When I got into people’s vehicles, there were inspirational notes, like ‘Jesus loves you,’” Campbell said. “The cancer patients were teaching me how to love. Cards that were meant for them actually inspired me and gave me hope. No matter what they were going through they made time for you.”
Campbell, a 45-year-old Mint Hill resident, started asking some of the patients what they needed. He said the consistent answer he got was a need for transportation.
So he developed the idea of a website to meet people’s needs.
“There’s got to be something bigger than myself,” Campbell said.
A website could connect drivers with passengers needing transportation. He developed a national campaign, not just for local help and not just transportation, but all needs, and stretching beyond local boundaries. Campbell contacted Ken Vuncannon, chief architect at Fame Foundry, a Charlotte web development company and pitched his idea.
“We were excited to build the site for Scot knowing that there was nothing centered on the web to help people…growing strong communities,” Vuncannon said. “When we conceived this idea, we were excited…kind of a currency of good will.”
The site was developed over three years, launched in Charlotte in October 2015 and according to Campbell, it has a heartbeat.
Help Your Neighbor is a social networking volunteer website. The site allows an individual or a group to seek help or to offer help in the community.
“They can help people in their own neighborhoods, in their own towns,” Campbell said. “It’s absolutely free. It’s just pure good will.”
Campbell said the site has grown quickly and now reaches more than 30,000 cities across the country.
Needs posted on the site include: transportation, taking Christmas lights down, moving, help to find a lost dog, and tutoring.
On the profile page, an individual can earn a heart for each hour of volunteer service. Recommendations are also included. Nonprofit groups like Loaves and Fishes, Friendship Trays and International House have used the site for volunteers, Campbell said.
“There’s a spectrum of people who want to help,” Vuncannon said. “We want them to plug into a community. This allows someone to donate their time to help someone.”
The site matches an individual’s strengths with what someone needs.
Campbell and his wife, Judi, have financed the effort. Other volunteers have donated time.
Kim Becknell Williams is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.