Finding volunteers via Craigslist

Craigslist became a source of volunteers this Christmas according to The Washington Post:

In Craigslist’s random ocean of housing swaps, motorcycles for sale and vegan discussion forums, a tiny tide began a few days ago with these words: “Want to volunteer with me on Christmas in D.C.?”

With that, Sally Smith, a 27-year-old Texan who this year for the first time couldn’t afford to go home for the holidays, found herself unexpectedly commanding a little holiday army of do-gooders.

An African immigrant and his family. A young veteran. A couple on a date. By the time they converged in the lobby of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center near Catholic University in Northwest Washington at 10 a.m. yesterday, there were nearly 70 people, shocking the Santa-outfitted coordinator who organizes volunteers on Christmas.

“Usually, I’m lucky to get eight or 10 people,” Rich Landon said.

The story of Smith’s group is one of a volatile economy, a shaken-up political climate and a culture in which people sometimes feel more comfortable with the anonymity of the Internet than with the church soup kitchen next door. Their backgrounds were wide-ranging, but the reasons people joined Smith’s volunteer project — which included six events Christmas Eve and yesterday — were variations on the same theme: Something feels different this year.

Read it all here.

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