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UNC students create gift-giving website to help needy families

Posted December 11, 2013

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— It's exam week at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But that's not the only thing sophomores Taylor Sharp and Thomas Doochin are thinking about.

The pair and another friend just launched a website called Communigift, and it works like a digital “angel tree.” Charity groups give them wish-lists from needy families, and the lists are posted on the site. Gift-givers can browse the lists and buy the items directly for the families through Amazon.

“There's people out there who can't experience the same kind of holiday we had growing up, so let's try to provide that holiday for them,” Doochin said.

“You check out, and (the gift) goes directly to the doorstep of the nonprofit,” Sharp said.

Some of the families' stories are especially moving.

“A single mother with four kids, one with autism and the mom is terminally ill with cancer. And they don't know if it's their last Christmas together,” Sharp said.

The students hope to help up to 30 needy families in the Triangle, connecting them with people who want to give.

“The response has been overwhelming,” Doochin said. “We've been so blessed to have so many people willing to help.

Added Sharp, “It's been really inspirational there just to see the families, their stories and how we can help.”

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