Across the world and across New Jersey, GoFundMe has become one of the leading ways for complete strangers to help people in need. This year alone, New Jersey has had several heartbreaking causes.

Some fundraisers, like Kate McClure's effort to repay a homeless man who helped her when she ran out of gas, far exceeded expectations. McClure, a Bordentown resident, had planned to raise $10,000 to get the man on his feet, but ended up raising more than $400,000.

Other fundraisers have not been as successful, but their stories are just as sad, if not more so.

Toms River resident Manny Rivera started a fundraising effort to help his family while they dealt with one of his son's health problems. Rivera raised just over $8,000 of a $25,000 goal. The most recent update had the family discussing going to Colorado for more specialized treatment.

Hamilton resident Sandra Beita started a fundraising effort for her friend Shelly,  a mother of five children ranging in age from 6 months to 15-years-old. Sandra said she was raising the money to find a home for Shelly and her children after they lost theirs. In six months, the effort raised more than $1,600 out of a goal of $2,000.

Stacey Oliver, a teacher, started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for her special education classroom in Trenton. Oliver said by the midway point of last school year she had already run out of paper and was hoping to have all the supplies she needed for her classroom. Oliver's page raised just $960 out of a goal of $4,000.

GoFundMe, which was started in 2010, has raised more than $5 billion thanks to the contributions of more than 50 million people, according to its website. More than 10,000 campaigns are started on the page every day across the world, according to the company.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com