Hermosa Beach’s Wicked+ recently launched NextMealOnUs, a micro-funding platform that allows people who want to aid those in need during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"Our team was heartbroken hearing the stories of people losing jobs, taking dramatic pay cuts, and having steep medical bills for themselves or their families," said Brian Cooley, co-founder and president of Wicked+, a Hermosa Beach marketing agency.
“So they did what a team of creatives does best," said Cooley, '"they came together and collaborated on a way to catalyze human connection and help those in need.”
NextMealOnUs allows donors to give what they can afford, even a few dollars, through Venmo to someone who needs help with meals to paying the bills.
“In times like this, even the simplest of gestures can put a smile on someone's face. We want those who are struggling to know they aren't alone,” said Wicked+’s lead designer Kathryn Reina.
The NextMealOnUs homepage offers the opportunity to “Give Support” or “Get Support.”
A donor selects “Give Support” and then a city from the list. From there, they can choose “Random Select” to reveal the name and story of someone in need. The donor can then select “Venmo” to pay them any amount or “Random Select” to reveal a different person. Participants must have a verified Venmo account.
All applicants are vetted for legitimacy by Wicked+ before being added to the site and each person can only sign up one time in one city.
Currently NextMealOnUs has almost 100 sign-ups across more than 30 cities.
“We’ve gone from the Wicked+ team first adding friends and friends of friends locally across Los Angeles and then marketing NextMealOnUs through Instagram,” Cooley said. “Immediately we heard from friends receiving $20 from a stranger saying, ‘Wow, thank you!’ One Hermosa Beach donor was excited to give to a stranger in her hometown in Chicago. We continued to encourage those who have used it to pass it along to those who could use a few extra dollars and those with means.”
For more information, visit https://nextmealonus.com/.