Back in 1985, a group of folks asked themselves:
What if there was a place where you could go if you suddenly found yourself in a financial emergency? A place where folks who have always been self sufficient, who have never asked for help, could receive assistance with a car repair, a travel expense, a medical cost that they just couldn't see coming.
That place became the Times Herald-Record's People for People Fund. Today, the fund remains laser focused on its original mission: to help local, self-reliant people who find themselves faced with a sudden emergency.
You know, the kind of emergencies that can strike any of us, even if we've always worked hard. Even if we do everything right, things still can go wrong. And while there are social-service agencies to help the neediest cases, People for People is there for those who have been self-sufficient and would be turned away by others.
There's no red tape. No big budget. The Times Herald-Record provides office space and supplies. It's staffed by volunteers and virtually every penny donated goes to help a local family or individual.
Donations come from Record readers, school kids, civic groups, businesses, houses of worship and organizations. Fundraising is as simple and straightforward as a few articles in the Record each holiday season. A volunteer board ensures that the whole operation runs smoothly, and a part-time executive director supervises the fund.
The requests for assistance are generally modest – a car payment so a parent can get to work, textbooks for a student, a cord of firewood to keep a family warm, a bus ticket so a senior citizen can visit a sick friend – but for those who seek respite at People for People's door it makes all the difference in the world.
There have been hurricanes and floods that have damaged homes, cars and budgets. There have been bitter cold winters and punishing hot summers, extremes equally capable of sending utility bills into unprecedented realms.
There was a building boom and then a bust, the Blizzard of '96 and 9/11 and Katrina and Irene and Sandy.
And through it all, through crises sweeping and small, when a neighbor has no place to turn, the Record's People for People Fund is here.
There is a place.
Since its first campaign in 1985,
the Times Herald-Record's
People for People Fund has
distributed over $4.4 million
through the year of 2014