Helping St. Louis

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Archive for the ‘Holiday Help’ Category

Stories of Despair

Posted by Schevus on December 16, 2008

I have been browsing through the St. Louis Craigslist and the increase in the number of desperate stories of need is quite depressing. I would like to share a few posts to highlight the true nature of the economic downturn:

Hi
I know everyone is having a rough time this season. We are as well.I lost my job and my husband is laid off, I found a new job but I will not get paid until 1/2/09. That will be too late. We are behind on all of our bills and are about to lose our home.
We have 5 children and we really need help getting them Christmas presents.
They just need the necessary things loke socks, shoes,warm clothes and food.
They have gone without a lot lately but still stand tall.
I can pay someone back once I get paid.
My husband is a great carpenter and can do and type of construction work. He has great references. He was in an accident in October so that left him wothout a truck. But he can use my car.
Please have the heart to help us, I promise someday that I will return the favor and help someone else.

A Santaless Christmas in not something I want to remember as part of their childhood.

Thanks

http://stlouis.craigslist.org/vol/959618939.html

As another blogger I was reading mentioned recently, posts requesting socks and shoes are unlikely to be a scam. Here is another example:

CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME, IM GOING TO BE HOMELESS NEXT MONTH I HAVE LOST MY JOB AND I DONT HAVE A PENNY..I’M ALSO TAKING CARE OF MY MOTHER AND SHES SICK SHE CAN’T WORK AND I CANT FINE A JOB.. I HAVE APPLYD FOR FOODSTAMPS AND CASH ASSISTANCE I’V BEEN DECLINED FOR BOTH BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE ANY KIDS PLEASE SOMEBODY OUT THERE HELP ME I HAVEN’T EATEN A REAL MEAL IN 3 MONTHS I DONT HAVE ANY FAMILY AND NOBODY CARES ABOUT ME OR MY MOTHER I AM REALLY DEPRESSED AND DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO SO IM JUST GONNA TRY THIS I DOUBT IT’S GONNA HELP TOUGH.. BUT IF THERE IS SOMEONE OUT THERE THAT IS DOING FINANCIALLY WELL PLEASE I NEED FOOD AND MONEY PLEASE PLEASE 😦 JCCALLAHAN1@YAHOO.COM

http://stlouis.craigslist.org/vol/953645372.html

It really is unfortunate how our government assistance systems work. This is a very real problem – if you do not have children the government will quite often turn a deaf ear to your problems. Here is one last story:

Its almost Christmas and we have tried everything in order for our children to have something under the tree. However to no avail we have failed to do so. However my son have informed me that Santa will still be comming this year and although sometimes he was bad this year…that he believes that Santa will still come because he has tried so hard. Sooo there we have our family delima.
If anyone could help with maybe a gift card or something. I dont know how this works but we are a family where my husband works seasonal. And Im disabled so it sucks what else can I say.

http://stlouis.craigslist.org/vol/956946087.html

These are just a few of the desperate pleas for help that I have read through, and that is just for the St. Louis postings. I would help every one of these people, but that is just not in my power. If you are in the St. Louis area and are looking to make a difference in someone’s life this Christmas, please consider investigating one of these posts. If you are out of the area, take a look on your own Craigslist site and read some of the stories of despair in your area. It is a very eye-opening experience.

Please use caution when conducting business on the internet – there is always the possibility it is a scam, but some common sense is normally good enough to root those out. Let’s all take care of each other this Christmas and beyond!

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Holiday Gift Ideas

Posted by Schevus on November 25, 2008

I’m sure gift ideas are on everyone’s mind as Christmas draws inexorably closer. If you are interested in a gift that will have a real impact, consider these ideas.

Kiva Gift Certificate:

For those of you who don’t know, Kiva is a wonderful online micro-lending organization. Individuals loan money in increments of $25 to entrepreneurs in developing parts of the world to help them expand their businesses. This allows them to better provide for their families and increases the local economy, improving their country from the ground up. These loans are disbursed through local partners at much lower interest rates than traditional loans, which are often prohibitive for extremely poor entrepreneurs. Surprisingly, Kiva has amazingly low rates of default and delinquency.

Kiva has a partnership with PayPal, so 100% of your loan goes to the entrepreneur. As the loan is repaid, you are free to re-loan the money you get back, or reclaim it. I have personally made 5 Kiva loans, and my earliest was just recently paid back in full! It’s rare to find a way to help financially that isn’t just a donation.

Heifer International Gift:

Heifer International (HI) is a unique effort to end global hunger. Through HI people pay to donate livestock and other developmental aids, such as trees and honeybees, to developing communities. The unique thing about Heifer International is that the recipients agree to share the offspring of donated animals with others who are in need. This is a very literal example of paying it forward.

You can pay for a gift (or part of a gift) through HI and make the donation in someone’s name. HI provides several options of gift cards when making a donation, whether it be an e-card or a physical card. I have not yet had the opportunity to donate through HI, but I have been eying a flock of chicks (only $20) for a couple of months now, so I’m sure it won’t be much longer.

Mosquito Net:

With a donation of only $10 you can donate a mosquito net, pesticide, and instruction on how to use it through Nothing But Nets. Nothing But Nets is a partnership with the UN Foundation. A mosquito net is the proven best method to prevent Malaria. Malaria is transmitted when a carrier mosquito bites an infected individual and then bites a non-infected individual, giving them the disease. It is one of the biggest health epidemics in Africa and parts of South America and Asia. A bed net works in two ways. It physically stops the disease carrying mosquito from biting a healthy individual. Also, the nets are soaked with a pesticide, which kills the mosquito when it lands on the net.

Due to the unique transmission of Malaria, many lives can be saved with one bed net. First there are the 2 or 3 people who may sleep under the net. How many more might be saved from the disease that might be carried from those 2 or 3 people should they be infected?

If you purchase a net through Nothing But Nets, you can designate your gift in honor of someone, and send an e-card to them letting them know of your gift.

These are just a few examples of excellent gifts you could give that would make a tremendous difference in someone’s life. Do you have any other good suggestions?

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Not So Happy Holidays?

Posted by Schevus on November 25, 2008

The holidays are a season of togetherness and festivity, but with unemployment rapidly on the rise, for many these holidays will not be filled with joy. I was browsing the St. Louis Craigslist and found the following post:

“Thank you for taking the time to view this. I am a married father of three wonderful children, ages 2(g), 4(b), and 8(g). I was recently laid off and trying to get unemployment has been impossible. As the sole provider, you can imagine how rough things are getting. I’ve already had my vehicle repossessed and so yeah, just not sure what to do now…..Please don’t take this as begging for your stuff. I’ve never been in a situation like this; holidays are coming and we’ve already cut back so much; no idea how or where to cut more corners to have a nice holiday season so any help, ideas or suggestions are ABSOLUTELY appreciated. Once again, thank you so much for your time.

sincerely,

humbled hero of 3….

Go Cards!! It’s cold here in st. louis right now. Rams are playing the Bears. (so you know this is real…..supposedly lots of scams?) thanks again”

I’m sure some of you are thinking “that’s a scam,” and it may well be. Obviously some care must be taken when engaging with people over the internet. I am fortunate enough to be in a very secure position financially, and pending a conversation with my wife I may contact this individual to see what I might be able to do to help. If you are interested, the link is http://stlouis.craigslist.org/vol/930885113.html.

Regardless of the medium, this is just a sample of the countless hard luck stories that are doubtless out there this holiday season. Do you know someone who is in dire straights? Can you do something to help them? Will you? Are you yourself having a harder time making the holidays special? Please share your stories. Who knows, someone might be able to help!

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