When we began Here to Help in 2007 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 and from work or fleeing from domestic violence and needing help with first month’s rent at a new residence. There were really no available resources for these individuals who were at a critical point in their life and facing an emergency.
We didn’t know how we could possibly help all of the people that were 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 still and called out, "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
The old man smiled, and said, "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”
To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, 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 into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, "It made a difference for that one.”
That simple story was a source of inspiration and the premise of Here to Help when we began and remains the same today.
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 making a difference in the lives of those we can help.