Oakland Homeless Couple Buys Van With Money Via New Crowdfunding Site - NBC Bay Area
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Oakland Homeless Couple Buys Van With Money Via New Crowdfunding Site

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    A homeless couple in Oakland appears to be getting back on their feet slowly thanks in part to a new crowdfunding site called Supportful.

    Supportful's founders Jordana Yellin and Nicholas Emerson Mazzone said their site allows people to do more than simply fundraise.

    They said people in need can raise money, request help with errands and tasks, and create a list of items of immediate need.

    "Things that you can actually use," Mazzone said.

    Group communication is also part of the site's functionality, Yellin said.

    The site was born out of a crisis Mazzone went through when his father died of cancer. Many people wanted to help him and his family, and he needed the help, but communicating with potential caregivers and donors was challenging.

    For Kymberli Wilson and her husband Lenton in Oakland, the site has helped them buy a van as they wait to obtain permanent housing through Kaiser Permanente. The homeless couple lives in East Oakland.

    They do yard work and until they bought the van they traveled to jobs on bikes with the tools on trailers, Kymberli said. They've had the van for less than a month now.

    "I'm very grateful," Kymberli said by phone.

    The couple, who are in their 50s, bought a black 2000 Dodge Dakota with four seats. Their previous van broke down. Yellin said Supportful wants to transform the giving experience so recipients feel empowered by their community.

    "It's about creating a sense of unity in your community," Yellin said.

    Supportful's founders said they hope to create a less lonely experience around asking for support.

    The Supportful page for Kymberli and Lenton can be found at www.supportful.com/kymberlihunterwilson.

    Mazzone said recipients receive 100 percent of the monetary donations. Credit card processing fees are not taken out of the money donated, Mazzone said.

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