Even working-class folks need a little help now and again especially when we get hit with unexpected expenses during these tough economic times. So Action News has found a unique way folks, who are normally self-sufficient, can, get an extra shot of help just when they need it.
"I'm on a limited income. I'm a single Mom with two kids and my water heater broke," said Ellen Voell of Sicklerville, New Jersey.
Ellen lives paycheck to paycheck and didn't have extra money for a new one.
"Would have had to cut back big time."
Nyra Capurso of Northeast Philadelphia needed some help, too. She was transitioning careers and having trouble paying her electric bill and her rent in the meantime.
"I decided to see if I could find some help."
Both Nyra and Ellen found the help they needed online at Modest Needs.
"It was a personal goal when I started it and the goal was to help one person a month with the kind of short-term emergencies that I had experienced in the past where other people had helped me," said Keith Taylor, Modest Needs founder.
Keith once found himself unable to pay for both his rent and unexpected car repairs. He didn't qualify for traditional forms of assistance nor have relatives to rely on; it was from that experience, that the idea of Modest Needs was born.
"It's people helping each other."
The maximum Modest Needs grant is a thousand-dollars or the monthly amount you pay for your rent or mortgage.
You apply online and Modest Needs will evaluate your application and conduct a background check.
If you qualify and prove you're truly in need of short-term emergency help, Modest Needs will post your story on its website. Perfect strangers then go to the website, read applicant stories, and choose which grants to help fund sometimes just a couple dollars at a time.
"It really drives home the fact that everyone has the power to be a philanthropist. Everybody can change a life."
If you're a Modest Needs donor the organizers say you can be sure your money goes to the cause you intended. Modest Needs does not provide cash instead, it pays bills directly to utility companies, landlords, and other vendors on an applicant's behalf.
That's how Ellen got her brand new 900-dollar water heater.
Nyra got the 765-dollar grant she needed to pay her electricity bill and rent.
"They really help people out."
Loews Hotel is a corporate sponsor of Modest Needs.
The charity really works on the principal of paying it forward. About 70-percent of Modest Needs grant recipients turn right around and become long-term donors to help someone else.