ALLIANCE, Ohio — It all started with a simple idea on social media and has transformed into a community movement of kindness.
A few weeks ago, Kimberly Carli, 27, of Alliance, started a Facebook group called Alliance: Neighbors helping neighbors.
The idea was to provide a place a spot where people could offer up items to folks in need.
The page was launched on Jan. 27 and the interest keeps growing. As of Friday evening, there were more than 500 members. The outpouring of support has surprised Carli and warmed her heart.
"It has been insane. I was not expecting type of response," Carli said.
Some of the items that have been offered include food, clothing, toys, diapers, gift cards, household items and appliances.
Carli, a married stay-at-home-mother, got the idea after realizing how much food she was throwing away during a time when many are struggling during the pandemic.
"A lot of negativity, a lot of worrying, a lot of people are scared and this is just one positive thing that I could do," she said.
In Carli's living room, donations of food, kids clothing, money and gift cards were piled up. The items will be given to a family in need this weekend.
Donations are being accepted from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Silver Park in Alliance.
Carli said an effort is also underway to help a Stark County family that lost everything in a January house fire.
"It only takes one traumatic experience for your whole trajectory of life to change."
Carli understands that type of heartache. In 2012, her brother, Jesse, was killed in a car accident in Stark County. After the tragedy, Carli struggled with alcohol addiction.
"I was unraveling for a few years there," she said.
Carli believes help from family and friends during that difficult period saved her. She has been sober for more than three years.
"To think if I didn't have that support, where I could be today is a little scary," Carli said.
She feels the Neighbors helping neighbors group is her way of paying it forward.
"It might not change their whole life, but it could change it for a few months and help them out," she said.
While she is surprised at how much the page has taken off, she also hopes it inspires others to do something good and make a difference in the community.
"I want everybody to be kind to one another and to not judge and to be tolerant and loving because the world needs more of it."
To visit Carli's Facebook page, click here.