Help you need: Gather my Crew

As you guys would know all too well from experience, bad things happen to good people every day. Whether it’s sickness or death, crisis can hit ordinary, good families in one quick moment and life is never the same again. I was talking to Megan about this recently when we caught up in Brisbane, she’s wading her way through grief and life because she has no choice, she has kids and work and life and onward she goes each day, to me like a super hero because somehow she can even get up and shower and make breakfast.

One of the things she talked about (besides all the good awful paperwork and red take of frozen bank accounts and death certificates and probate that happens when someone dies unexpectedly) was how people wanted to help but didn’t know how. She got a lot of lasagne. A LOT. And there’s only so much baked cheese can ease grief. Of course it’s appreciated, but goodness, a lot of cheese.

I know from my own experience of people I love and care for, you want to help, but don’t know how so baked goods or flowers are the go-to. People can say they are coping and fine, when they are not and build a wall around them and it’s hard to know how to get in and be practically useful. But I have recently discovered something that may help people and wanted to share it with you guys as I know there would be some of you, or your loved ones going through this very thing, right now.

Gather my Crew is a free online rostering tool for people facing crisis. Crisis can be illness, death, a premature baby, dying parent, flood or fire that turns life upside down and make it impossible to do all the daily tasks that still need doing.

It works by directly linking people in need to their own network of ‘helpers’ in an easy and coordinated way through an online tool. This tool pivots around a list of ‘needs’. This list identifies a range of practical tasks that are part of daily living.

Gatherers identify their needs and develop a list of tasks that their network can help with. They then invite their network, or ‘crew’, via email to provide assistance in whatever way they can. These tasks are recorded and coordinated through a central calendar that is monitored by the Gatherer.

Gather My Crew can be used to coordinate a team of helpers to assist with things like:

  • Jobs around the home
  • Medical appointments
  • Daily chores
  • Young children
  • Transport
  • Arranging an outing.

Gather My Crew makes it possible for normal life to go on, even when crisis strikes.

You can check out all the details online on their website here, and if you are in crisis right now, or are acting for someone who is, you can get started on being helpful right now. You can also check out some more detail on how it works in this video.

If this helps just one family get one thing done to get through a normal day at an awful time, then that’s something. Please share with as many people as you know that could use this.

Hand illustration above by Varia Spell.


  1. What a great initiative and good on you for promoting it Beth. The best advice my aunty gave me when my mum died was to accept help “people will offer to help, let them” – but this is easier said than done when you are in the middle of emotional turmoil. This tool would have been great. One tip when making food for people is to put it in a couple of small containers rather than a big one. Not everyone has a big fridge or freezer and smaller serves helps reduce waste and maximises space.x

  2. Love this. When I had breast cancer treatment I had so many people around me to help- picking up kids from kinder, taking me to appointments, making food, doing my washing. The practical day to day stuff is so important. One of my friends would come help me change all the beds and then take the dirty linen away and deliver it back later in the week all clean and folded. Absolutely the best #cleansheetday. I’ll never forget the kindness!

  3. My tip would be to take care of a very practical need, like laundry.

    If you have the relationship, go over to their house, collect the laundry, strip their bed, change their bed linen. I’ve done this.

    If they are a young adult and dealing with a crisis, speak to their housemates and make sure that everyone who lives with the person is on the same page about how to care for them.
    Years ago a friend of mine was living in a share house, and her father died, and one of her housemates “helpfully” threw away lots of the flowers people had sent her, as they were beginning to wilt. It was one of those horrible “good intentions” moments, and it was so upsetting for my friend. We also passed the hat around our friendship group, and paid her share of the rent for the next month, so she could take time away from work without worrying about that expense.

    A point person for communication is key, IRL and via a system like this.

    Great initiative.

  4. What a brilliant idea – it can often be difficult for people in difficulty to ask for help and for the helpers to know how to help best so this is the best kind of enabler! Awesome initiative!

  5. Recently I lost my father and had baby within a six month period and I can honestly say life begins and ends with food and flowers. And flowers wilt and need maintenance and just become another “thing”. Any idea that creates less things in a crisis, not more, sounds like a great idea to me.

  6. A brilliant idea that I didn’t know existed. Thank you for sharing. I will be looking in to it.


  7. It’s worth bearing in mind that some grief and health conditions are still considered more socially acceptable than others. When my twin brother committed suicide almost everyone kept away. I was broke at the time and couldn’t even afford a bottle of gin to drown my sorrows as I’d spent a month’s pay check on a new pair of glasses after mine cracked.

    Someone I barely knew gave me a care package with dvds, chocolate, magazines etc and it meant so much at the time as most people said ‘if there’s anything I can do’ and I never saw them again.

    I’ve helped friend in mental health crisis by bringing around meals, cleaning their bathroom, doing basic shopping, even just taking someone out to lunch for an hour (people can tire easily).

  8. Love this. Often at church we do a meal delivery roster for any new mums that have had their baby. We say what meal we will deliver and when – so it ensures there is a meal each night and no one doubles up on the same meal so they aren’t eating lasagnes every night! Thanks for sharing this Beth. It would streamline our roster so much better.

  9. Great ideas here. I also know from experience in the case of death it is after the funeral these things can be really helpful. Often when we hear that a loved one has passed we rally around with food, flowers and comfort but after the funeral the person is left very much on their own its at this time that pop around for a cuppa or drop off of a bite to eat can really make someones day and life that little bit easier.

  10. Jennifer Dennis says

    I have a mental illness & I live in a remote area on a Community. I don’t drive also.When my partner died 9 yrs ago, I would walk 3 kilometres to our bus stop with all my gear to go shopping at my nearest town. I was in my ’50’s & it was hard until a stranger on my Community offered to give me a lift in. I still struggle, but now I am involved with Legacy (& also Im a Disability Pensioner) & have a basic social network. Sometimes I do get lonely, but now have the most awesome friends & one who rings me every day to see how Im going. Jenny d.

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