By Cathleen O’Grady
Modest Needs, Foundation Beyond Belief’s current Poverty and Health beneficiary, is a charity that is dedicated to making small differences that mean a lot. Helping those who are scraping by to pay for repairs to a car, medical expenses, or even just one month’s rent may not sound like much, but the testimonials of those who have been helped carry all the gratitude of a person who has been pulled back from a cliff edge by anonymous hands:
“Margaret” was unable to work due to Hurricane Sandy, and at the same time, her car was stolen, with her son’s wheelchair in the trunk. She appealed to Modest Needs to help her pay her rent: “As I sit here and type this, there are tears in my eyes. You have helped to lift a heavy burden that was on my shoulders, and for that I am forever grateful. My family and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Times are hard for many people and knowing that perfect strangers donated money to help me and my family out in our time of need is priceless and much appreciated. I no longer have to go to bed at night wondering if we will be homeless. Thank you all for your kindness and your loving hearts. My faith in humanity has been restored by your generosity.”
“Jessica” suffered a work injury that left her with debilitating back pain. After an arsonist burned down her apartment block, she lost everything, including the mattress that helped stave off the worst of the pain. Modest Needs helped her to move off the couch and back onto a proper bed, drastically reducing her pain: “After sleeping on the couch for the last 6 months gratitude seems a small word to express how thankful I am that I have received this help. My back has been in a full blown relapse for weeks. I’ve been struggling with pain in my hands and legs for the last month. ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ by Jimmy Cliff just came on the radio. An acknowledgement of the gift I have received this morning. May White light and blessings shine on all of you. ‘It’s going to be a bright sunshiny day.’”
“Janet” is 71 years old and lives by herself, getting by and paying for treatment of her heart condition on Social Security. Car troubles threatened to leave her stranded, not able to get to the doctor or shops in a rural area with no public transportation. She says: “I’d prefer to take care of this problem myself, but at 71, I’m too old to get a new job, and I don’t make enough money to get a loan. So I’m here to see if Modest Needs will help me to keep my car running. I don’t have to drive too much, so this repair will probably last me until I’m gone.” She raised the $876 dollars she needed through Modest Needs: “The older I get it seems like my needs get greater and when I feel like my hope is slim to none Modest Needs come thru for me. With Modest Needs’ help I’m now able to continue with my medical needs and everyday needs to care for myself. I just want to thank everyone for giving to me when they have needs of their own. If you haven’t been in this position you can’t possibly know how much this has helped me and I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart.”
The beauty of the system is that once people are back on their feet, they often pay it forward: In 2012, 67% of applicants who were funded by Modest Needs became donors themselves.