Thursday, August 07, 2008

We Get By With A Little Help From Our (Anonymous) Friends...

Sometimes I stumble randomly upon things that bring both chills and tears to my's my recent find: ModestNeeds . It is a website that was started by a guy in 2002 (I memory is sooo bad and I just READ this information!). He set up a "grant" site on line where people could put in applications for assistance with things like medications, rent money, etc., and the site would review the applications, accept donations, and "grant" small amounts of money to those in need. Since he first began the website, it has grown into a several hundred thousand dollar "grant" giving machine!

Of course, I was at first skeptical. It's my nature. :-) I read about the program online in some twiddly AOL News post. Thoughts like, "fraud", and "online theft", rolled around in my brain. So, I went to the site to check it out.

After reading for over an hour about the program and doing a bit more online research regarding the financial nonprofit status of the organization, I decided to check out some of the applications for "grant" money. The first one I clicked on had a Seattle address (all identifying information is kept anonymous for privacy purposes) and I scrolled down to see what some poor soul in Seattle might be needing a few hundred bucks for. After all, the applications are carefully screened for authenticity, so I doubted the request would be from some silly Microsoft bloke who just lost his job and couldn't afford to continue his HUMMER payments (there are financial qualifiers for the applicants, who must submit several forms of proof of identity, income, status, and need). I was immediately hooked...the application read as follows:

Co-Pay For Electric Cost to fully fund this application: 750.00 Modest Needs Points

I have MS and have been using a manual wheelchair to get around for the past 2 years, after I became unable to walk.However, at this point I can no longer use a manual wheelchair due to extreme weakness brought on by this debilitating disease.I applied for an electric wheelchair through Medicare over a year ago and am finally getting this important equipment.Unfortunately, Medicaire is only paying a portion of the cost, leaving me with the remaining balance.At this point I no longer have savings and my monthly income will not cover this expense.I hope that you can help me with the remainder of the cost for this very necessary piece of medical equipment.Thank you.

I highlighted that first line for a reason..."I have MS".

After sitting for a few minutes to collect my thoughts and dry my tears, I immediately signed up to be a donor, electronically transferring a small stipend to this anonymous person. I now believe Divine Intervention brought me to this website and I was SUPPOSED to find this MSer's application. And now, I'm telling YOU about it.

Please understand I am NOT highlighting this experience as a means of receiving some sort of "kudos" or slap on the back for being a giving a matter of fact, if you choose to comment on this post, I would request you leave OUT any references of that nature. We ALL do what we do when we need to do it.

Instead, I'm telling you about this site because I personally think it's a WONDERFUL grass roots means of giving. I'm also telling you about this site because it appears to be a WONDERFUL grass roots means of receiving. I know there are several who read CHEESE and have MS who are barely making ends meet...either because of medical costs, unemployment, Medicare falling short, or sudden illness/disability. And when we are IN desperate financial times, we sometimes forget it is OK to ask for help and to receive. If this description fits you, I encourage you to check out and see if you might qualify for a "grant" to meet an immediate need.

There are also those of us with MS out here that remain gainfully employed and basically doing fine financially...and some of us are looking for more places to send our giving dollars to BESIDES the National MS Society. If this description fits YOU, give the site a looksee and decide if it is something you feel fits your giving needs.

Oh, and one last thing (for the perpetual skeptic and paranoid, such as myself)...I do not KNOW anyone from have received no financial GAIN from writing this post...and I have no INVESTMENT in what you personally do with your time and money (or lack thereof)!

Sometimes it's just the *right* thing to do...

I just checked back on the site less than 12 hours from my first discovery of it and the above mentioned "grant" for the person with MS needing the power chair HAS ALREADY BEEN GRANTED!!!! YEAH!!!!! What a great world we live in...
Friday 8/8/08 PM
Once again, I just peeked in on the site and found this "testimonial": August 08, 2008
Dear wonderful people who care,
I have waited 15 months to get the motorized wheelchair. I am touched by your donation and cannot thank you enough for your kindness and generosity. I have many difficult hours in a day but there are times like this when I feel blessed because of people out there willing to help when life gets tough.
With warm regards,
**Name deleted for privacy**
Now THAT is giving AND receiving in action!!!


atlantis said...

As always , you my friend are an outstanding human being....

You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it's a little thing, do something for others - something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.
Albert Schweitzer
French philosopher & physician (1875 - 1965)


I'm so glad that you highlighted Modest Needs. I blogged about them and Net Wish last December
Spreading Acts of Kindness
but I hadn't been back to the site. Yep, something drew you to Modest Needs.

Denver Refashionista said...

Thanks for sharing this word on an amazing service. We all get by with a little help from our friends regardless of our health status or financial needs. I posted a quote from U2's "One" a while back that said, "We have to carry each other..."

have myelin said...

Fabulous. Most needs ARE modest... unlike "EXTREME MAKEOVER" type of needs. GAG.

I'll bookmark it for better days ahead when I can help.

TickledPink said...

It's amazing how the hand of the Higher Power steers us around like a puppet master and we never feel the strings.

Thank you for opening my eyes to this wonderful site. What goes around comes around so I try to do my part. Kind of a CYA type thing. (:D)

Blinders Off said...

It was meant for you to go to that site and share this story.

Sue S said...

I too will vouch for Modest Needs. I found them almost on day 1 and liked the concept. Consequently, I send what I can when I can. I must say that I've never had cause to worry that what I send wasn't being used wisely.

I can't help but think when reading the requests for help... "There but for the grace of God...." I can't fix the world, but perhaps I can help fix a tiny piece of it.

Thanks for putting the word out about MN on your blog.