How Crypto Helps to Provide Disaster Relief

Last fall, not long before Hurricane Florence ravaged North Carolina, our team at NeedsList was scheming with folks over at MakerDAO on how to allow the deployment of cryptocurrency to support local response to rapid-onset disasters. We launched a fund through which individuals and companies could donate Dai, MakerDAO’s stablecoin soft-pegged to the U.S. Dollar, to aid in disaster relief and preparedness efforts in the U.S. and abroad.

Thousands of Dai Raised, Thousands of Dollars Deployed

To date, thousands of Dai — meaning thousands of dollars — have been raised, half of which was used to purchase items for immediate relief in October. The rest is being set aside to be used as needed for recovery and preparedness efforts for next season. Anyone who has suffered through a natural disaster knows the importance of long-term aid; help is needed long after a hurricane dissipates and the media goes home.

NeedsList and MakerDAO, a Perfect Match

MakerDAO’s contribution to our partnership didn’t just take the form of technology. The organization also committed to matching funds raised, almost 2,000 DAI to date — here’s where their funding went:

Hana Wilder, Partnership Manager at All Hands and Hearts, distributes clean-up bags in North Carolina.

Removing Debris Across North Carolina

All Hands All Hearts a volunteer-powered disaster relief organization that addresses both the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters, still has boots on the ground in North Carolina. “It’s been six months since Hurricane Florence hit,” said Hana Wilder, Partnership Manager.

“State-funded debris pickup has ended, but we are still mucking and gutting homes in NC. It takes a lot of contractor bags to remove debris from people’s homes to help them get back to their safe space.”,

Thanks to MakerDAO and other Dai donors, NeedsList facilitated the purchase of hundreds cleanup bags for All Hands, All Hearts.

Resources for the Youngest

Hope Heroes is a grassroots non-profit organization committed to long-term disaster relief. Their philosophy epitomizes the values common to NeedsList partners — dignity, resilience, efficiency.

“When other organizations fall short, the news cameras leave, the coverage stops, and the aid stops coming in, we are there to continue to help recovery efforts, More than just a bottle of water and a blanket, we work to help rebuild strong communities.”

DAI donations through NeedsList made it possible for volunteers with the organization to provide diapers and formula after Hurricane Florence to single mothers in Robeson County, North Carolina.

Diapers purchased through NeedsList being unloaded into the Hope Heroes warehouse.

Crypto Provides Freedom of Choice When it’s Needed Most

When disaster strikes, it’s often the most vulnerable communities that are hardest hit. In North Carolina, migrant workers not only suffered severe damage to their housing as a result of Hurricane Florence, but were also left without food and supplies. In this case, crypto donations were used to purchase Walmart gift cards that were distributed to the farmworkers in need. Gift cards allow disaster victims to purchase what they need, affording them both dignity and choice in rebuilding their lives.

Hundreds of giftcards for migrant workers were purchased through NeedsList

Laritza Garcón, Director of the Episcopal FarmWorker Ministry in Newton Grove, explains the importance of gift cards to the organization.

“Giftcards allow us to offset the cost of participation for low-income community members who would otherwise not be able to help us with child care, sorting donations, setting up for events, or maintaining our building. Everyone wins when members of the community are the ones organizing and leading our programs!”

How You Can Help

We can only transform aid and disaster relief with your help. At NeedsList, organizations can contribute not just with crypto, not just with dollars, but with their talent, products, services, and networks.

If you’re interested in joining our network of private sector and nonprofit partners committed to simple, transparent, and direct crisis aid, reach out to become a member of the NeedsList community. We’ll provide your organization or business with the tools you need to make your work easier and direct access to opportunities to help local communities worldwide. (And if you want to donate in Dai or ether, you can do that as well!)