Mr. Bok Ki Oh on a recent trip to Humboldt County. His sister, Ky Oh, claims he was murdered.
If you’re looking for evidence of Humboldt’s generosity, anecdotes alone usually suffice. We have an abundance of local non-profits, volunteer organizations and do-gooders, both in and out of the limelight. Every weekend, offers a dozen different opportunities to dance, pun, sculpt or drink for a good cause.
But what about those of us who don’t want to leave the comforting glow of our laptops? Well, the digital age has brought philanthropy to you, in the form of crowdfunding websites like Go Fund Me. Here people plead their case to strangers, neighbors and friends to help meet their funding goals for a variety of causes. We were curious about what kinds of requests would tug at Humboldt’s heartstrings, so we typed a couple of local zipcodes into Go Fund Me’s search function. Below are our findings, which include petty bills, major accidents and at least one murder mystery.
Top Photos: Busted cars and busted people. Leaving aside one campaign featuring a pensive man with a neck tattoo who needed help with his phone bill, the majority of Go Fund Me campaigns are pleas for help with pictures of people in hospital beds and badly damaged cars. The high cost of traveling out of Humboldt County for medical care is often cited as factor.
Poor Earners: Single moms and disabled vets. Success on crowdfunding sites has a lot less to do with actual need than how big of a reach you have, social-media wise. This might explain why two homeless, single moms – one trying to move her and her son back east and another currently living in a van with her child received so little attention, as did the touching attempt of one man to buy his veteran friend a van with a wheelchair lift.
Big Winners: Pets and Food. We’re not saying that Humboldt folks put cute dogs and stoners above single moms and veterans, just that pet owners and hungry college students might be better at working their network. Liver shunt therapy for a terrier? Funded. Neuter job for a rescue bunny? Funded. Thirty dollars for pizza? Done, one generous soul kicked down the majority of the money, saying, “Can't leave my homies without their munchies! Blaze one for me!” A pregnant woman living with her elderly uncle in a trailer with a leaky roof? Zero dollars, but it’s still early in the campaign.
The Truly Unique, and the Mysterious. One person transitioning genders requested money for a prosthetic in order to pee standing up, and received a generous outpouring of love and support. Another wanted a little cash to help an elderly woman on a fixed income who had lost weight “buy new pants” to boost her self-esteem. And the owner of a local hair salon, Ky Oh, is hoping to raise enough money to get a lawyer to investigate her brother’s death. She has started two Facebook pages accusing his widow of murdering him for insurance money. Her brother, Bok Ki Oh, was a retired military service member who died in July while living in Korea. His sister claims that he was poisoned, and that the police did not properly investigate his death. She has raised $470 of the $5,000 she needs. We reached out to a different family member via Facebook, who denied Ky Oh's claims.