HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new app called Purposity enables donors to meet specific needs of people in their community who could use a helping hand.
The Hawaii Department of Education is using it to assist disadvantaged youth in public schools.
“Purposity comes in to provide some of the extra things that kids need on a day-to-day basis, hygiene supplies for instance, art supplies, things to participate in PE,” said Toby Portner, state coordinator for the education of homeless children and youth.
She estimates about 3,600 Hawaii students are in unstable housing situations. They are homeless, or living in shelters, or living with friends or family because of an economic hardship.
Leeward District Complex Area Superintendent Sean Tajima said the smartphone Purposity app will help many of them.
"Some communities are more needy than others but this could impact all or our schools because every school has families who are in need," he said.
Purposity (a portmanteau of purpose and generosity) allows users to assist students anonymously ― and directly.
“It’s a great opportunity for those who want to give in our community to help those in our school system,” state homeless concerns social worker Brianna Levy said.
This is how the app works: A donor reads a student’s story and then foots the bill for a requested item. Purposity buys it and mails it to the Education Department, which gets it to the student.
Identities and personal information are protected and donations are tax-deductible.
“The app asks you if you want to set a donation goal for the year," Portner said. “You can say I want to meet three needs or 12 needs, that’s optional.”
So far, about 200 people have gotten the free app and specified they’re following Hawaii public schools. The department needs at least 750 people to join so it can activate Purposity.
"That's so we have a robust community that can read the stories as they're posted and determine whether they want to meet a need or not," Portner said.
Purposity is underwritten by mainland businesses so there is no charge for the services and no fees are taken out of a donor’s contribution.
When you download the app and enable notifications, you’ll be alerted to students’ stories as they are posted. For more information on the Purposity app, click here or call 305-9869.