Help fund local needs with click on new giving app

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A Beaufort County family recently lost their home in a fire, but, thanks to a mobile app and generous donors, the mother did not have to stress about buying school uniforms or new shoes for her children.

The Beaufort County School District has partnered with Purposity, a mobile app that connects the needs of a community with people willing to fulfill those needs.

"The mom has had some other help," said Lakinsha Swinton, the district's director of student services. "But it's a big burden lifted when she doesn't have to worry about trying to get uniforms."

With school back in session, Swinton said uniforms and shoes have been the biggest need across the county.

There are many people in Beaufort County who want to help families in need, Swinton said, but they don't know how to go about doing that. She said Purposity bridges that gap, providing donors with reliable information about verifiable needs.

The name "Purposity" is a combination of the words "purpose" and "generosity," and is based on the philosophy that "humanity finds purpose through generosity," according to the Purposity website.

Nonprofit organizations, school systems and government agencies can partner with Purposity to share the needs of their clients and students. People who would like to help the cause can simply download the app, register and donate funds for need that are posted.

School social workers and parent liaisons in Beaufort County will send requests to the school district's Office of Student Services, where the needs will be reviewed and sent to Purposity to be put in a database. Swinton said the needs must be valued at $250 or less.

Donors will receive weekly emails with links to items on Amazon.com that specific community members need. Donors are able to select a need and click "Meet the Need" to pay for the item. The item will be sent directly to the appropriate school for distribution to the students in need.

The Beaufort County School District has posted more than 30 needs on the app since signing on. Swinton said most of those needs have been met. A major need that remains is an air conditioning unit for a local family.

To help students and families in Beaufort County, download the app from either App Store or Google Play, enter contact information and "Beaufort County" as the location, look under "Organizations," then select and follow "Beaufort County Schools." For more information, visit purposity.com.

"Our role is to try to ease that burden and remove as many barriers to education as possible," Swinton said. "And this is just one more tool that we'll be able to use to do that. It allows our community to help get involved in meeting the needs of our children."

Amy Coyne Bredeson of Bluffton is a freelance writer, a mother of two and a volunteer with the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.

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