Thursday, February 10, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Brittney Gilbert of Modest Needs

Please join me in welcoming Brittney Gilbert from Modest Needs - our current Featured Charity on Love Where You Live - as my very first guest blogger!  Check out the amazing work they do to help others.  I was personally involved with Modest Needs years ago as a volunteer when they were a start-up.  They've come a long way since then, having been featured on Dave Ramsey, Fox News, The Clinton Global Initiative, The Today Show, O: The Oprah Magazine, and Forbes, just to name a few!  You'll find out more about Brittney at the Modest Needs Blog.

Take it away, Brittney!

"Most of us know the warm, glowing, giddy feeling we get when we help a family member or friend, especially when we do so without being asked. Bringing a casserole to a grieving church member, filling up the tank after borrowing your mom's car for a quick trip to the store or genuinely complimenting a co-worker are things we do to make them, and ourselves, happy. But what about our stranger neighbors? What about those people whom you don't know who have no one to bring them food, buy them gas or offer them a kind word.

They are out there, you know. Far too many of them, in fact: People who have no one. It is one of the ways that individuals are truly poor.

Think about this: If you had no food to eat and no place to sleep, how long would you have to go without. Many of us have friends or family or even acquaintances who would be happy to make us a sandwich or offer up the couch if we ever found ourselves in desperate situations. Sadly, not everyone has someone. Some people really have no where to turn.

That's what Modest Needs is all about. Modest Needs is a non-profit foundation created for those who fall between the cracks. It's for people who make too much money for government benefits, but who make too little to have any emergency savings funds. It's for the hard-working individuals who live paycheck to paycheck, for whom a car repair or a dental bill or a blindsiding divorce would be financially devastating. It's for people who have no where else to turn.

One of the great things about Modest Needs is how much of an impact you can have on a stranger's life by never leaving your chair. Modest Needs operates exclusively online, which means that you can read requests for assistance (many from people just like you) and if a particular story moves you, you can recommend that we fund that specific grant. It's rather remarkable.

For instance, this month a mother to a young son with severe autism wrote to Modest Needs asking for help to pay for a service dog. You see, her son is a danger to himself due to his disorder. Last month he jumped from a second story balcony when his mother left for just a moment to use the restroom. He frequently has emotional outbursts that cause him harm. He is always at risk of becoming lost. Her doctor recommended that her son have a dog specially trained to keep him safe, bond with him emotionally and to locate him should he wander away. The quality of life for this mother and son would improve drastically with the help of an autism service dog, but the cost of the animal is not covered by insurance. Sadly, nothing about his disorder is covered, as it is considered a "pre-existing condition" by health insurers. Because this mother has to pay out-of-pocket for treatment for her autistic son, her budget is spread extremely thin. To obtain a service dog would cost upwards of $600, and she simply didn't have the funds to pay for what could be a life-saver for her child.

That's where Modest Needs and its donors came in. 

A couple dozen people pitched in and donated, recommending that we fund this important application. Some gave as little as $2, but in just a short amount of time, the application was fully funded, and her beloved son would be getting his special service dog. He already has her named. He decided on Blu.

You, too, can help a stranger in need; someone who has no one else to turn to. Modest Needs allows you to search requests for help through a variety of criteria. You can search by area and help someone in your community. You can search by keyword, as well. For instance, if wish to assist single mothers, you can sort requests using those search terms. And it doesn't take a lot of money to make a huge difference in someone's life.

In fact, many of those who once came to Modest Needs in search as help turned right around and became donors themselves once firmly back on their feet. It's humbling and awe-inspiring to see those with just a little giving back in such an enormous way.

This foundation allows you to Love Where You Live. You don't need to get up from the computer to stop the cycle of poverty. You need not leave your home to change a life. All it takes is the desire to help someone who might otherwise find themselves with no way out.

You can get that warm, glowing, giddy feeling of giving by extending your generosity outside your home, by never leaving it. You can do that with Modest Needs."

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