Carla Crotty is the founder of the Facebook group “Need something? Got something?”
The Facebook group “Need something? Got something?” is celebrating its second anniversary.
The purpose of the group is to help others in need. Members post photos of items that they no longer have use for, and others can comment if they are interested.
Group founder Carla Crotty told The Telegram she was inspired to start the group after she lost her job in the oil and gas industry.
“My job had a lot to do with community engagement,” said Crotty. “So I had a good sense of the need that was out there.
“At first, the goal of the group was to put a couple of at-risk mothers in touch with individuals who were able to help them.”
One mother who recently benefited from the group is Maggie Carr.
“Without that group, I don’t know what would have happened to us last week,” said Carr.
Carr is a new mother in St. John’s going through a difficult financial time.
“I just went from getting about $1,500 a month, to zero dollars a month, with no warning,” said Carr.
Carr told The Telegram her landlords terminated her lease early, and as a result she was forced to move back in with her mother for a month. Due to that move, her income support and baby bonus were cut.
Carr has tried contacting the Canada Revenue Agency to release emergency funds.
“You can call all you want, but it doesn’t make a difference,” said Carr. “I needed to feed my five-month-old baby. I didn’t have time to wait.”
That’s when Carr turned to the Facebook group Need something? Got something? to ask for help.
She posted in the group, asking for formula, diapers and baby wipes. Within hours she received the help she needed.
“By lunchtime, people had dropped off everything I asked for,” said Carr. “I even received two e-transfers. Somebody sent me $60 to go out and buy the formula I needed. I was shocked.”
The group has helped Carr get back on her feet, but she says there is no sign of her receiving income any time soon.
“A convenience store around the corner from my house is looking for a cashier,” said Carr. “ But if I went to work there, I would be making enough just to pay for daycare. We still wouldn’t have enough money to eat or pay rent.”
Carr said she is normally the one offering items in the group, not asking for them.
“Having to turn around and be the one asking for help was tough for me,” said Carr. “It feels a lot better being able to give to others.”
Crotty told The Telegram she knows how difficult it is to ask for help.
“My children and I lost everything we had in a fire several years ago,” said Crotty. “We relied heavily on the community to help us rebuild our lives.”
With more than 12,000 members, the group has grown larger than expected. Crotty learned early on that she wouldn’t be able to manage the group on her own.
There are six admins for the group — Chrissie Byrne, Charlene Eason, Suzanna Fisher, Jennifer Folkes, Heather Neville and Julia Price.
Their roles include monitoring posts, approving or not approving certain posts, and communicating with members.
“We probably don’t allow just as many posts as we do allow,” said Crotty. “People often treat our group like a buy and sell group. The purpose of this group is to help others in need, free of charge.”
Another part of the administrators’ job is to monitor different local buy and sell groups for suspicious activity.
“Unfortunately, we have had instances where someone will see an item that they gave away for free up for sale on another site,” said Crotty. “We rely on our members to tell us if they ever see this kind of activity happening.”
The group has provided Christmas gifts for families and prom dresses for high school students, and now members are working on a back-to-school drive.
“This type of donation can be very interactive,” said Crotty. “When you give a donation in a store, you don’t really know where it’s going. But in this case, you get to meet the family, and you know you’re making a difference in their lives.
“This group is an indication of the need that’s out there. But it’s also an indication of the number of people who want to give back.”