You want to give away your old stuff to deserving people, but don’t know how. Let Bridge the Gap lend you a hand.
Maheedhar Raman straddles two worlds that are complete opposites. From Monday to Friday, the 25-year-old crunches big numbers as a chartered accountant at a multi-national accounting firm. Come Saturday and Sunday, he coordinates between donors and dozens of charities, NGOs and homes in the city.
As the founder of Bridge the Gap, Maheedhar offers services to those who wish to donate but, as is often the case, don’t have the time. Devoting his weekends to picking up furniture, books, clothes, toys or home appliances from the donor’s doorstep to dropping it off at the charity, Maheedhar ensures that donations go where they are most needed, sometimes even carrying out background checks if necessary.
So, how did this chartered accountant develop such a fierce philanthropic streak? “I can’t really explain. But it’s something that I always wanted to do. I’ve been a volunteer with Bhumi and Chennai Volunteers and my experience there was probably the first step. Moreover, from my interaction with friends and acquaintances, I felt that there was a need for such a service.
Most people have a strong desire to donate but insignificant details like time and logistics keep them away. This is where I bridge the gap,” he says.
After firming up the concept in his mind, Maheedhar started Bridge the Gap earlier this year. Initially beginning with friends and family, Bridge the Gap slowly gained popularity through word-of-mouth to finally become a service that can be sought on its website.
Donors can contact Maheedhar through the form on the website, specifying what they’d like to donate. He comes around on the weekend to pick up the stuff. The donation is handed over to the end recipient and a receipt handed to the donor.
Maheedhar has just started receiving cash donations and realises that the nature of the service is one built on trust.
“Sometimes I like to take a picture of the donation being made and send an e-mail immediately to the donor acknowledging their contribution,” he says, while adding that he makes all his runs personally, free-of-cost.
If you’re a donor looking for advice on picking the right charity, Bridge the Gap also offers information services on finding the right place to donate.
With a schedule packed as tight as this, I wonder if he misses out on weekend fun. Surprisingly, he says that he manages to strike a balance. “I find time to spend with my friends but this is definitely a priority. It also helps that office is strictly five days a week.”
However, with the number of deliveries set to grow, Maheedhar plans to rope in friends to carry out a few runs. “Friends, who once cautioned me from starting this, are now volunteering to help,” he grins. He reveals that even strangers have come forward with offers to carry out the runs.
But it’s his mother who is most happy. “She encouraged me to start this, even taking the initiative to print my visiting card,” he says handing out his card that has a picture of a bridge that immediately reminds me of the Golden Gate.
To contact Maheedhar, log on to www.bridgethegap.co.in or mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +91 97890 40473 (only on weekends)