There are times when people simply need a little bit of help. It is common knowledge that you should save enough money to cover at least two months of expenses in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, even in more affluent areas like Hamilton County here in central Indiana, there are a lot of people who are barely surviving from paycheck-to-paycheck. Many of these people don’t have the luxury of saving two months. Rather, they are doing everything they can to simply pay the rent and buy what groceries they can to make it through the current week. When something unexpected happens to these folks, reality becomes very hard. In many cases, it means not paying bills or not eating.
This is happening even here in Hamilton County. Noblesville, Carmel, Fishers, and the other towns are not immune to people who are wondering how they are going to keep a roof over their head or buy food for their kids. Fortunately, the percentage of people that run into this situation are a lot lower than other parts of Indiana and other parts of the country. Even so, a tiny poverty rate still can mean hundreds or thousands of people. As such, some of our neighbors are in the position of not knowing how they are going to make ends meet. For Fishers, a low, low poverty rate of 1.8% still equates to over 1500 people considered “in poverty”. Even beyond that, we have people who have lost jobs, or had unforeseen circumstances that have impacted their financial stability.
There are a number of organizations in Hamilton County that help provide various services. We have 40 food banks/pantries and other organizations that do what they can. One of the organizations that I hope you are familiar with is Good Samaritan Network (GSN). This is an organization that has worked to connect the various charitable organizations across Hamilton County to help with a more coordinated effort in helping our neighbors in need. GSN is most known at Christmas when they host an event in Noblesville to provide toys, clothes, and food to families in the county.
While GSN is very visible at Christmas time, they are active from their office in Fishers year round. They provide services and items to families in need. One of the programs they offer is financial assistance to those families that do hit a crisis where they are in desperate need. This “client assistance” program uses funds that donated by organizations as well as by the community – people like you and me – to help people who are under-served by some of the other organizations within Hamilton County.
You can check out a couple of stories on the GSN site regarding stories of people they have helped. This includes helping a family with unexpected medical bills, but also helping a young man struggling to be able to make it to his two jobs so he could keep his life on track. In the case of this young man, they were able to connect him with an elderly person who also needed help.
GSN tries to keep a store of funds in place to help in these situations where one of our neighbors could benefit by a quick kick in help. GSN refers to this help as a ‘hand up’ in that these people just need a little help to stay on track or get back on track.
My Call to Action for You!
In that regard, Good Samaritan Network is doing a fundraising drive right now. They are trying to raise $20,000 by the end of May. Their goal is $650 a day for each of the remaining days of the month. In these last few weeks of political campaigns, it is worth stating that this is not money that will help get a politician re-elected in Washington or to stop the drought in California. Rather, this is money that will be used to help our neighbors – the people right here in our community. These are neighbors you and I might never see. Or these might actually be people we see but are totally unaware of their need. Either way, these are our neighbors. These are neighbors that GSN can help. These are neighbors we can help through GSN.
For those of you reading this in Hamilton County, including my friends here in Fishers and Carmel, I ask that for the rest of this month, you simply collect your change. Drop it in a bowl. At the end of the month either drop it off at the GSN office or make a donation for the amount on their website. That’s a nearly-no effort act you can do to help our neighbors. For those of you that can, I ask that you consider doing a little more. Every little bit adds up. Every little bit can help.
If you want to donate right now, you can find a link on the GSN site. You can also mail or drop off donations.
For those of you outside of Hamilton County, please consider the organizations around you that are helping your own neighbors. Let’s help our neighbors.
As a note – GSN does not know I’m writing or posting this. This post is from me, your neighbor, asking you to join in helping our other neighbors.