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Free Website Allows People to Coordinate Help from Friends and Family

Three years ago, Tara Daudani received a much needed helping hand from friends and neighbors when she went through chemo treatment, radiation, and seven surgeries for stage 3 triple negative breast cancer. Now she wants to help others get the help they need.

“My neighbors wanted to help, but it was too cumbersome to organize. I was too consumed with chemo treatments to ask,” says Daudani, whose daughters were six and two at the time of her diagnosis and treatment.

A friend started a meal train and provided meals to the family. “That was incredibly helpful,” Daudani says. “I realized how important it is to accept that help. There were also other things we needed help with as well.”

After each of her surgeries, Daudani says she couldn’t lift or bend. “My husband took on so much. I didn’t want to add to his plate,” she says, noting that asking for outside help with the laundry would have helped her out.

After completing her treatment, she started thinking about a site where people could ask for help for more than just meals – a site that would have been a benefit to her three years ago.

Last year, at the beginning of the pandemic, she contracted a web developer so she could make the site a reality.  She established it up as a nonprofit with no paywalls or fees. “I didn’t want money to be an obstacle if someone is in a time of need,” she says.

Here’s How it Works

Her site, LendThemaHelpingHand.org, launched in March 2021. The help registry allows anyone to conveniently ask their network for meaningful help during a time of need. The site’s pull-down menu offers multiple services including pet care, errands, housework, meals, and childcare.

“You can request to borrow something from someone. If you have a baby, you can borrow a baby item, for example. There is also a place for advice where people can help you find information,” Daudani says. “It’s awkward to approach people directly when you need help. This way is less awkward. People can weigh in with what they are comfortable with doing.”

Users create a help list by registering under their email then using a pull-down menu of suggestions to request a task. There is also a custom field to make requests for any unique needs. The help list can be shared with friends, family and neighbors who can then choose a convenient way to show their support.

Privacy is of utmost concern to Daudani. “In order to create the help list you have to have an email. The people that are helping you will search for your help list using your email,” she says. “We don’t want anyone to be taken advantage of in their time of need. We want to keep it safe for our users.”

Since March, the site has nearly a hundred user accounts. “People that help don’t have to have a user account,” Daudani says. “Each month, we get more and more accounts. Our goal now is to make sure people know about this resource.”

Learn about Tara Daudani’s health journey in the article she wrote for RFM.

Joan Tupponce

An award-winning writer based in Richmond, Joan Tupponce is a parent, grandparent, and self-admitted Disney freak. She writes about anything and everything and enjoys meeting inspiring people and telling their stories. Joan’s work has appeared in RFM since the magazine’s first issue in October 2009. Look for original and exclusive online articles about Richmond-area people, places, and ideas at Just Joan: RVA Storyteller.

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