Monday, October 22, 2007

Wings Across the World

Here's a pitch for an idea, but I need some feedback.

I'm dreaming of the development of a website called Wings Across the World were individuals can go to find addresses near distressed zones in order to ship basic necessities via the postal service. The idea is that it enables person to person aide, heart to heart if you will. It's a personal way to tell people that you're thinking of them, that their situation has you worried. It's a way to connect.

The Wings web design team works with a group of researchers who find addresses. Wings may even need diplomatic contacts in embassies around the world. Wings also provides information about what is needed. It may, sometimes, utilize the services of the Red Cross or another international volunteer organization for distribution services, but, in theory, the website enables gift-giving via individuals, not financial gifts to third parties.

Scenario: a tsunami hits an island, Wings finds out the Red Cross has set up aide services in a particular city. Wings gets the address and posts it. Wings might also post suggestions for items in need: blankets, cans of beans, rice in air-tight containers, seeds, socks, etc. If Wings creates relationships with individuals of a particular area, it may utilize a library, a university or a elementary school as the postal destination to publish. Not just Americans, but people all over the world could access the Wings website. It would be necessary to recruit volunteers who speak languages other than English.

If elementary schools had access to particular places, their students might send paper wing cut outs with collected supplies as a goodwill gesture. Schools, families, religious institutions might find it a fulfilling way to directly aide people in distress.

Wings might have a paypal account where individuals could donate in order to cover administration costs.

When Major Steve Danyluk published an article in the NY Times about the conditions in Iraq after the invasion in 2002, I saw an opportunity to try out this idea. I wrote him requesting an address that I could send to my friends and family in order to ship supplies into Baghdad. I had the idea for Wings but had not put together a site yet. Never before had I sent out an email to all of my contacts in my computer. But I did. And, I requested that everyone forward the email to everyone they knew. A month later, Steve sent me a picture of a storeroom in Baghdad filled with boxes from families all over America. It was a very gratifying moment.

Then, I got busy, and I forgot about the idea. Plus, I'm not a web designer. I just have this good idea that, I think, would really work.

What does one do when one is sitting on a good idea but unable to see it through?

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