Modest Needs, a charity that helps people with short-term emergencies, has begun a relief program for two groups that are being overlooked after Hurricane Katrina: Gulf Coast residents who evacuated themselves and the people who took them in.
"While FEMA might eventually be able to help persons who evacuated on their own, that help is going to be some time coming," Modest Needs founder Keith Taylor told me in e-mail. "We're receiving applications from families across the country who've taken in as many -- no kidding -- 25 refugees from this storm."
The organization works like a charitable EBay, matching up individuals seeking help with people who want to help them. They verify applicants and often pay bills and other expenses directly. Taylor shares the details of one recent application from a family in Ruston, Louisiana:
My wife and I are housing and feeding four adults, one toddler and four cats who were evacuated from their homes as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Red Cross has yet to issue food vouchers to evacuees in the state of Louisiana, so they cannot buy food or clothing. In our efforts to assist them, our electric, gas and grocery bills have increased (we opened our home to them on Sunday August 28, 2005). We are currently unsure of the amount of time the evacuees will need to stay with us; we are estimating one month. We will appreciate any assistance you may be able to provide.
Donors can fund an application like this directly or donate to the charity.
Modest Needs is a small organization with low expenses that are covered by a private grant, so 100 percent of the money donated to hurricane relief is being given to recipients. The charity, which took off in popularity after being linked on MetaFilter in 2002, doesn't spend any money on self-promotion, so it's utterly dependent on bloggers to get the word out.
Do you have a number so that my mom can call you?
Hi...found your blog while Googling Modest Needs. You see I am one of the many individuals that have sought help there. Although we are not hurricane victims, we are trying to open a foster care home, which undoubtly will house children that have been disconnected from family due to a disaster.
We are a loving couple, with a big dream, to buy a home that we can open to foster children. As an adoptee myself that suffers with infertility, my heart longs to offer a home to children in need.
In order to make this dream come true, my husband and I have sat down with a lender and found that a few minor past due bills from our credit report are hindering us from this dream.
Although we have been able to pay a few of them, we have had set backs from car troubles which hinder us from completing the payoffs by our goal date of October 1st, 2008.
The bills that we would like help with are four medical bills, however payment of even a couple of the bills would be a GREAT help!
It sure would be cool if someone that donated to Modest needs would consider helping fund our points required of 1250. Thank you in advance. I wish you the best in all you endeavor to do.
Our Modest needs link is