Raleigh, N.C. — Three Raleigh roommates, inspired by the generosity of their neighbors, are paying it forward in a big way, using digital media to connect people with community needs.
The trio was burned out of their rental on Boylan Avenue in January, and then good things started to happen.
"The Hampton Inn on Glenwood South took us in for a week, and they said stay as long as you need to," Sarah Styron said. Then a couple they had never met before took them in.
Gift cards for food and clothing seemed to fall from the sky. Sarah Styron and her roommates gathered with friend Will Hardison to celebrate this shower of kindness.
"We just started talking about how great the Raleigh community had been to us," she said. "It is really cool. Raleigh is cool."
Hardison, a marketing expert, liked the concept and loved the name. He decided to spread the word.
"It was really just one of those light bulb, a-ha moments," he said.
He purchased the domain name RaleighisCool.com and is using it to help other local individuals and businesses with their struggles.
"I have been blown away by how much people want to help you out," Hardison said.
"Emails have flooded in saying, 'How can I help?' and 'How can I get in on the next thing that you do?'"
RaleighisCool.com is selling T-shirts with 70 percent of the proceeds to benefit Nation Hahn, a politically connected young man whose wife was murdered last week. The money raised will help pay for medical treatments for injuries Hahn suffered in the attack that killed his wife.
Hardison wrote on the website, "Nation and Jamie were both heavily involved in the Raleigh community and were seen as a 'power couple' at the young ages of 29 and 27. When I found out the news that he and his wife were the victims, my heart just sank."
So far, Raleigh is Cool has sold 350 shirts, raising almost $5000 for Hahn.