A Madison widow with newborn twins is among those who have turned to crowdsourcing in times of need, while others have used it for fundraising.

In the Madison metro-area alone, there are over 3,600 current crowdsourcing campaigns on the popular site GoFundMe.

Goals include expensive surgery, modifications to disabled people’s homes and vehicles and a projector for a classroom.

Madison County District 2 Election Commissioner Julia Hodges set up a page for her friend Kim Kroeze, the previous owner of the City Grille, after doctors found esophageal cancer right at the junction of her esophagus and stomach.

Hodges said she had used crowdfunding in the past for a small personal project, but saw this an opportunity to raise money for Kim’s deductible and living expenses as she seeks treatment in Jacksonville, Fla.

“She is not in danger at this time but she is in discomfort. She has been in the hospital for about three weeks and we understand someone has a condo where she can stay but she will probably have to be in Jacksonville for another month or so while she recovers,” Hodges said.

“She was always so supportive of anyone in the community back when she had the restaurant. She was always doing things for people and we saw this as an opportunity to give back to her and show her how much it all meant to us.”

The family recently sold City Grille, in part because of the cancer diagnosis, so Hodges and friends are trying to rally and help offset the financial gap.  

In less than 20 days over $5,800 of the $15,000 goal Hodges set up had been raised.

Lindsey Beckham, a local nurse and mother of two newborn twins and two young girls, has seen an outpouring from the community since her husband, Brad, unexpectedly passed away in October. The twins, including a son for Brad, came later in December.  

They had not signed over her husband’s life insurance money in time and a disagreement with some of his family members means Beckham and her girls will likely not see any of the money, she said.

A friend from her church, Vertical Church on Gluckstadt Road, has set up a website that organizes people in the community to bring the family diapers and meals and directs people to a youcaring.com page.

“In a blink of an eye it was just me with four children and everything was just upside down. You can’t plan for that,” Beckham said. “I can tell you this though, I am so proud to say I live in Madison County. I am just so grateful. People in the community have been so supportive, people I have never even met have brought us meals and sent us envelopes and kept us in their prayers and that is what has gotten me through this tough time.”

She added that the teachers and staff at Mannsdale Elementary, where she has a second and third grader, have been really helpful as well.

Hodges said that seeing the comments and donations come in have given her something to report to her friend.

“She sees the community support and it really lifts her spirit,” Hodges said.

Beckham works as a nurse and said that they have worked closely with her schedule. She was left with payments on a car and house that she is struggling to keep up with, but her youcaring.com page has raised $10,365 of a $35,000 goal from 130 donors, many anonymous.  

Hodges said the difficulty of running a crowdfunding page is keeping people’s interest.

“The hardest thing about crowdfunding is staying in the public eye,” Hodges said. “We got a lot in very quickly and we are at least half way to where we would like to be, but the momentum has definitely slowed down.”

Beckham said that her family’s future is uncertain after the donations stop coming in.  

“I just don’t know what the future holds,” Beckham said.

Beckham said that she has learned the importance of being prepared and taking care of the little things.

“This is something I would like to advocate for one day. It is not always the first thing you think of but I would encourage all young couple to make sure they have everything in order. The life insurance would likely cover most of the house and car and we had the documents signed on our kitchen table, but we did not file them in time. It is just so important to make sure you have a will and everything in place because you never know,” Beckham said.

For more information on how to offer support to Kroeze go to www.gofundme.com /kims-care-fund. To learn more about Beckham and her children visit www.helpthebeckhams.com.