Giving Good Directions

While talking about iFinditChicago and sharing what it does, the reactions we come across are similar:

Listener: Wow that sounds really cool.

iFinditFolks: It is!  You can sort by…. and it brings up ALL….. and it’s so easy to use…. and we’re really excited about it.

(Eyebrows raise and then, a pause and a hesitancy to speak)

Listener:  I… uh…. don’t want to sound insensitive… but how can someone who needs food assistance, afford a smartphone?

Listen, listener, you aren’t insensitive.  It’s a question we come across A LOT.  That’s why we did our research.  That’s why we wrote this blog post. 

Basically, mobile phones are becoming a population’s primary access to the internet.  And what does the internet provide?  A: EVERYTHING.  (Except for hugs, but I’m sure there will be an app for that.)  Without having to buy the hardware of a computer, the software that makes it worth owning and the internet provider, you could get all of that in a hand-held mobile device.  Especially with no-contract providers making it more affordable, people have access to information that they may not have had before.

For Example: Popular-in-growth companies like Virgin Mobile, BoostMobile and Cricket, known for their pre-paid and contract-free services, have an average charge of $35-$50 a month compared to more expensive plans with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon that charge anywhere from $120-$350 a month for mobile data and text plans (www.phonestatistics.com).  In fact, mobile services like M-PESA have been helping people in low-income populations as far as Kenya, find a way to empower their lives through hand-held devices.  If you’re going by the odds alone, according to Mobiledia, “the number of cell phones in U.S. now outnumbers its population.”  Therefore, how could this medium be anything other than the perfect portal to reach people in need?

Even for someone who has the luxury of time and unlimited access to information, searching through mounds of data can be frustrating.  That’s why we are excited to do what we are doing — to take the struggle out of searching and put the power back into finding.  The tools of empowerment are out there, we are just putting up the road signs to give people better direction.

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