Reddit Users Crash Children's Charity Website With 'Avalanche' of Donations

A children's charity website has been overloaded with internet traffic and support after a Reddit comment triggered a wave of donations.

One Simple Wish, a charity that enables strangers to donate items to foster children, has had to display a temporary "splash" web page to take the load off of the main site following what it called "an avalanche of support."

The support seems to have been triggered by a single comment on an AskReddit forum thread posted on Monday, titled: "What is something you've done purely out of the goodness of your heart, but have never told anyone?"

Reddit user dartdoug replied, saying that they had once used the One Simple Wish website to buy a bicycle for an 11-year-old child in foster care.

The comment soared in popularity, having gained hundreds of replies and over 22,000 upvotes as of Wednesday morning. Many Reddit users replied to say they had also decided to purchase items for foster kids, from laundry baskets to computers.

"What an awesome website," said one. "I just bought a laptop for Michael who will be starting college classes."

One Simple Wish works by partnering with foster agencies, which submit wishes on behalf of children they are helping.

The website then displays these wishes online, where people can grant them by making donations.

Founder Danielle Gletow confirmed in a Reddit comment on Tuesday that the surge in donations cleared all wishes on the site, and told Newsweek the site had received more than $70,000 in donations as of around 9:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday.

Gletow said: "I still cannot believe this... We're a small team with big hearts and a kick-ass work ethic and we are truly about the kids first so I am just so proud the world is hearing about us.

"We are getting offers to help us launch in other countries, tech experts who want to work on the site, and messages from former foster kids who are just so excited to see that this is a resource."

One Simple Wish said its website was "not able to handle all the attention". A statement reads: "Though this isn't the first time we've been buried under an avalanche of support, it has been a while (shout-out, CNN!). We're currently in the midst of major upgrades to bring speed and stability for our platform."

Gletow posted an emotional Facebook video explaining how she woke up to the surge in support on Tuesday after having lost a friend to the medical condition ALS the night before.

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She added: "You guys just made me feel so super-loved and I know you're doing it for the kids but I just wanted you to know that. It really did a lot for me, too."

Gletow then started an Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit in which she explained more about One Simple Wish and the events of the previous day.

The phenomenon of web pages crashing or being overloaded by a surge of visitors from Reddit is known colloquially as the Reddit Hug or the Reddit Hug of Death.

This article has been updated to include a comment from Danielle Gletow and an update on the amount donated to One Simple Wish.

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The Reddit mobile app logo seen on a device screen in Katwijk, Netherlands, January 2021. Users on the site caused a rush of donations to the One Simple Wish charity. Yuriko Nakao/Getty