Craig D. Lindsey, a former staff writer and movie critic for the Raleigh News & Observer in North Carolina, is having a much better start to 2014 than he ever expected. Just two days ago he was broke and desperate, on the verge of becoming homeless. All of that changed in an instant, thanks to generous donors and the crowd funding website Indiegogo.
Lindsey had lost his regular job in 2011 and has been relying on freelance work for the past 3 years, as he searches for a new job. On New Year Eve's, with his bank account near empty and his rent several months overdue, it seemed like life in a homeless shelter was in the near future.
Lindsey reflected on his dire situation via Tumblr:
I try not to feel like a failure but, considering my age and where I am at right now, it’s often difficult not to think that. Jesus, I can’t even get a job as a security guard or a stadium parking-lot attendant. (I’m not exaggerating; I applied for both those jobs this year.)
With time running out, Lindsey decided to put up an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign and offer to give away some movie memorabilia he had laying around as incentives. His goal with the campaign was to raise $900, enough to buy some more time with his landlord and delay his imminent eviction.
The campaign went live on December 31, and clearly struck a chord with people.
Within 4 hours, Lindsey had raised the full $900. But Indiegogo doesn't allow a campaign to be closed until the full time has expired, and people kept donating. Soon his pot had reached $3,000 and then $4,000. His back rent was paid off completely.
"Is it OK to admit that I'm having a difficult time processing ALL OF THIS?!" he tweeted earlier today.
Lindsey's outlook on life has changed in a big way, as he wrote in a new post on his Tumblr page:
"There are several things I've learned during this whole thing. For one, I've learned that people aren't awful. (As I just recently told a mentor on the phone, “People just gave me $3000 – I can’t say the world sucks anymore.”) Secondly, while no one wants to be seen as a pitiful charity case, sometimes you need help. And, if you can get past your ego and your pride and just ask, people are more than willing to come to your aid. Finally, it made me realize that I should be more giving and charitable as well. I often dream of having enough money and resources to help out those in need. This outpouring has showed me I don’t have to wait until then. From those donating $5 to $200, every bit of it helped. No donation is ever small.
Writers from publications like Slate and the New York Times have begun to tweet about the campaign, resulting in a fresh wave of giving. Now, with just over 24 hours remaining to donate, the campaign has topped $6,000 and Lindsey has become a social media sensation.
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