Advice for Families in Need of Assistance

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Many families in need have contacted to ask for assistance in finding much needed donations of clothing items, school supplies, financial assistance with bills and rent, and birthday or Christmas gifts for their children. In turn, generous families who are in a position to help those less fortunate contact me in search of a family or two to help, usually at Christmas time. Because I cannot vouch for any of the families’ actual situations, it is difficult for donors to easily make a commitment to offer assistance.

These are desparate times for many and having the need to ask for assistance can be devastating in itself. In order for strangers to trust you, you must be able to offer references of those (not friends or family) that can substantiate your situation and vouch for your character. It is easy and relatively inexpensive to do background checks, so it is best to be honest – even if you think it would hurt your situation.

The Internet makes it convenient for donors to search for information on the families in need who are asking for assistance. One family that submitted a Christmas wish made a claim that the husband was disabled due to an explosion. A donor found the mother on Facebook with a public page. The comments substantiated the fact that she was looking for work and it also had photos of her kids and husband. Her husband’s injured hand could be seen in one of the photos. The problem was that the photos showed a very sloppy house full of clutter. The fact that the mother advertised that she would watch children in her home (in such disarray) also had a negative effect, showing poor judgment on her part. The potential donor decided to backout.

Last year, a mother submitted a very impressive Christmas wish for her son. A potential donor contacted me when she had read her story. I gave her the mother’s contact information (with permission). After emailing back and forth with the mother a few times, the potential donor did a “google” search using the woman’s name and address. The search turned up a photo with a report that she had been arrested for petit theft a few months earlier. The donor had told me that if the woman had been completely honest with her, she probably would have helped her. But, because she wasn’t, she declined her offer.

Honesty is the best policy. Be honest, be open, be careful. Present yourself in the best, honest way you can. First impressions are very important, but your character is the most important and it usually comes through (negative or positive).

One last offer of advice: Never ask for money. Present a wish list of practical needs and a few toys or games that aren’t expensive – especially if you have more than a couple of children.

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2 thoughts on “Advice for Families in Need of Assistance

  1. cindy

    Hi My name is Cindy. We are having a hard time and I need Christmas gifts for my five year old son and my five grandsons and i granddaughter. my grandsons are ages 17,17 ,12, 5 and 3 and my granddaughter is age 7. Wejust found out that I have heart problems and I am having a hard time keeping my bills up as I am back and forth to the hospital at least three times a week.I have been in icu just recently and I would really appreciate any help.

  2. Julie and Family

    LOUISIANA – West Monroe area: Hello, My name is Julie and I have never done this before so Im not sure what to say. I have 5 Children. I have an 18 year old son in college and couldnt ask for a better kid. He never asks for anything and never complains about what Im unable to do for him. He is really one of a kind. I have a 14 year old son who is in 8th grade and an amazing athlete and student. He is also a great kid who has never asked for much. I am 40 years old and two years ago was suprised with a pregnancy and have a two year old son then 11 months later suprised with boy/girl twins. Now, needless to say I am overwhelmed. I am currently living with my parents who are living strictly on SS and since Katrina I, myself have not been able to get on my feet. I am just so worried about Christmas. I don’t know what to do. I would love to work but don’t have anyone to help with childcare not to mention I sold my car to help get my son into college. My three youngest children’s father is not really much help to me financially whatsoever and trying to work things out I haven’t legally filed for child support however I do see that in the future. I am so depressed and worried about Christmas. There is absolutely no way for me even to buy a card for my children much less a present and this has me so down. I have a hard time watching TV because of all the commercials. I will do whatever it takes to make money legally so I can provide any type of Christmas for my kids. The only way though is to work at home and I live in a very rural community and employment is scarce. Does anyone have any suggestions? I know about Toys for Tots but my Dad is a volunteer Firefighter and he is too embarrassed for me to participate since they run the program here. I just dont see a way. I am at a loss and this is usually my favorite time of year and I wish I could just sleep through it. I dont know what to do and I am so tired of crying. Please some advice, words of encouragement or just a person to reasure me things will be ok. Thanks for reading this.

    Kindest Regards and Happy Holidays

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