Wandering Aid was born with a simple idea. Two wanderers, Raven and Elm Gray, who had separately traveled the world to work to make the world the place we want to live in, wondered if we could help displaced people closer to home. With that simple idea Wandering Aid was born. Next we had to figure out what we were going to do!
We started by looking for resources already available, starting with shelters and food banks. Our initial idea was to look for gaps in need and figure out how we might be able to meet some of them. The more we looked, the more we discovered three things. First, that the resources are out there - all kinds of resources from lawyers to translators to free cell phones. The second was that they were not easy to find even for us, who knew what we were looking for. The lists we could find either focus on only one need such as shelters or list anything and everything which guarantees some will be dirty, inaccessible to many or worst dangerous. And finally, many organizations seem to be operating completely in isolation of other organizations who may be able to fill gaps in the resources they are providing.
We decided the best way we can help displaced people in New York City (and hopefully other places in time) is by providing one easy to use way to find all of the resources they might need to improve their lives and those of their loved ones. The list would have to be vetted, the places visited and rated for efficacy, safety, cleanliness and other factors. With that, My NY Needs was born - with an online realtime updated map, calendar and list view available, filterable by category and searchable; along with a printed map to be distributed at as many of the locations appearing on the map as possible.