Thu, Oct 12, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Single moms, dads create Web site to sell food and chat

By Yuan Shih-chong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Single parents looking for a little extra income have started an Internet site that sells homemade food, clothes and crafts.

Li, founder of EZGood-Day.com and a single parent herself, said the site was an offshoot of her Web forum where single parents exchange experiences, make new friends and support each other.

Being a single parent is a tremendous responsibility that can bring a lot of pressure and stress, and the Web site provides a creative outlet and community support, said Li, who declined to disclose her full name.

Li said visitors to the site often leave encouraging notes, and children of single parents sometimes write to express concern for their parents.

Li emphasized that the Web site is a source of hope for single parents, providing something for the family to work on together and resulting in a true sense of accomplishment and community.

Li said that the idea for a Web site arose one day when forum participants were discussing selling homemade mantou (饅頭) -- a kind of steamed bread -- and cookies. Li quickly found four willing friends and set up a Web site to distribute the goods.

On the Wed site, you can find a wide range of goods including mugs, T-shirts and homemade food. The items are made by different single parents who frequent the forum.

Some of the more unusual food offerings include mantou with agar -- a gelatin substitute obtained from seaweed -- and homemade cookies with cumquat paste.

Forum participants with computer skills maintain the Web site, handle e-mail and solicit advertisements. Parents who are neither a whiz on the computer nor in the kitchen help out by packaging and shipping products on the site.

Before setting up the Web site, Li was unemployed for a long time. With the help of the forum and the Web site, her career has taken off.

The confidence she gained encouraged her to redouble her efforts to find a normal day job.

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