Spark in the Dark: Bridging Northern Michigan’s Givers and Receivers Through Social Media
“When I first came here all I had was a vehicle and that was it,” says Leah Hart, a woman who in year’s past was struggling to make ends meet.
“I was facing eviction and it was such a horrible feeling because when I first moved here 5 years ago I was homeless. I wanted to get my life back together and it was just huge that someone was able to reach out and help me,” says Hart.
An organization called Spark in the Dark was quite literally the spark Leah needed during these dark times – helping her pay the bills and get back on her feet. Now that she is in a better place, she is able to give back this Christmas by donating 33 gifts to other families in need.
“I promised myself that when I was in a position I wanted to pay it forward” says Hart.
Abby Byar, the Executive Director and founder of this growing non-profit says, “There are a lot of great people still in the world. I know that it doesn’t always feel like it with the news and the things that are going on in the world but there are so many people that want to do good.”
“Spark in the Dark is an online program that works to connect people in need directly to people who can help. I mean a one-on-one neighbors helping neighbor basis. There are 9,000 members right now and that number is growing exponentially in the Northern Michigan region.”
Byar wanted to build a bridge locally, bringing together those in need with people who want to help. This space has created meaningful connections and helped more than 12,000 people this year alone.
Hart ultimately wanted to give families the Christmas she always wanted growing up. “I want to do this because it’s bigger than me and it would help so many families. It might not be a lot but it will be a lot to someone who doesn’t have a Christmas otherwise,” says Hart.
“It never ceases to amaze me the things that happen in that group,” says Byar who is planning on expanding this program outside of Northern Michigan in the next six months.
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