Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Poor Among Us

“My kids need food.” “Help me get bus tickets to get us back home to Florence.” “My power’s going off today at 4:00”. Charities, houses of worship, and private citizens often help by giving the money these folks need. But what if there’s a food pantry where that family can get food for free, a transportation program that will get that couple to Florence at no cost, or a deal that can be swung with the power company to keep the utilities on? Then again, what if the askers have no kids, no ties in Florence, or no overdue utility bills, but just want free money? Partnering charities are now installing the software system “Charity Tracker”, so agencies that help people in need can share a database of all their clients – both to direct people to available services they may not know about, and to keep others from triple-dipping. In Beaufort County, the initiative is spearheaded by the Community Services Organization collaborative. In Charleston, it’s Charleston Outreach and Trident United Way. And in Georgetown, Friendship Place and others are looking into it. If you give to or volunteer with a “helping program” that may be interested in the local Charity Tracker network, give us a call.

Watch a brief video by news channel WTOC on how this is working in Beaufort.

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