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When we began Here to Help in 2008 we knew we wanted to be different than all other Private Foundations.
We wanted to be hands on and address the needs of individuals who were facing an emergency situation. This included individuals being evicted from their residence or needing a vehicle to get to work or fleeing from domestic violence and needing help with first month’s rent at a new residence.
We wanted to directly assist these individuals who were at a critical point in their life and facing an emergency. They simply needed a hand up in a moment of need.
We didn’t know how we could possibly help everyone in need and were uncertain as to what kind of impact we could truly make. But we wanted to try.
Just around that time we stumbled upon a story that resonated with us. The "Starfish Story” is as follows:
While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.
As he got closer he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.
He came closer and called out, "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
The old man smiled, and said, "I must ask, then, why?"
The young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
The elderly observer commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, "It made a difference for that one.”
The old man smiled, knowing the young man was right.
That simple story was a source of inspiration for the creation of Here to Help.
We know there is a tremendous amount of need in our community. We also realize we are unable to help everyone. But just as the young man in the "Starfish Story,” we are trying to help as many people as we can, one person at a time, and we are able to make a very large difference in the life of those we help. Not only with our economic help in an emergency situation, but our help in a variety of other ways such as offering mentoring and support groups, locating housing, financial literacy help, computer and internet training, mental health counseling, referrals for job training, locating employment, negotiating with creditors, help with filling out job and employment applications and other non-economic needs that are encountered.
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