Make a donation to ModestNeeds.Org
This philanthropic Web site, started by college professor Keith Taylor in 2002, provides "hard-working, low-income households" with money to cover everything from rent and utility bills to car repairs and medical care.
Even if you have only $10 or $20 to spare, this is a great way to help a family resolve a financial crisis, and all contributions are tax deductible.
Here's how it works: From your donation, ModestNeeds.Org writes a check that goes not to the recipient, but to the hospital, business or landlord that needs to be paid. Applications are screened to weed out those with less than modest requests, and only about 20% are accepted.
Many of the people who receive help from Modest Needs are those who fall short of meeting federal guidelines, such as a working mother making $30,000 a year who wouldn't qualify for government assistance but probably is still struggling to pay the bills.
You also can determine which requests for help you'd most like to support. Each time you make a contribution, Modest Needs credits your account with "points" that you can allocate to the cases that mean the most to you.
Contributions can be made though the Web site or your bank's online bill payment system, by writing a check or even selling an item on eBay to benefit ModestNeeds.Org.
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