My Neighbor in Need Celebrates Three Years of Giving – Great Falls Tribune
Cynthia Delgado was broke, unemployed and didn’t have a car — but she was determined.
With no money for a bus pass, the 50-something woman decided she had to walk to where she needed to go; sometimes 20 or 30 blocks to pick up or drop off a job application. It wasn’t so bad in the summer, but as summer transitioned into fall and the daytime highs plummeted from the upper 70s to below freezing, walking two or three miles each way got harder to do.
By late November, Delgado still didn’t have a full-time job. It was getting harder and harder to make the hours-long journeys necessary to change her fortunes.
“I walked a lot,” she said matter-of-factly. “When I’d show up for a job interview, I was already exhausted.”
Finally Delgado turned to the My Neighbor in Need for a helping hand. The Great Falls based social networking program found a donor willing to buy a bus pass for Delgado. That small act of compassion has made a world of difference in her life.
“They were able to help me with the bus fares so I could get to job interviews, to get pick up applications on the other side of town,” Delgado said. I finally landed a job in December, so I’m working full time now. I love my job.”
Hers is only one of thousands of lives that have been made better over the past three years by the internet based charitable organization.
“Right now over 4,300 needs that have been fulfilled in three years; 3,961 of those have been filled in Cascade County alone,” said Dave Snuggs, the founder and president of My Neighbor in Need. “We’re in 39 cities in two states, and we’re about to launch our 40th city on Tuesday in Havre. The program is being set up right now in Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia.”
On Thursday a group of sponsors, supporters and real-life recipients of My Neighbor in Need’s community generosity gathered in Heritage Hall at Great Falls College – Montana State University to celebrate the third anniversary of the founding of the program.
“My Neighbor in Need is simply a 24-hour a day, seven-days a week wish list,” Snuggs said in explaining the program he founded. “Someone in need makes a request for a specific kind of item. The need gets vetted, and if approved goes on the web site live, where someone anywhere in the world can offer to fulfill it.”
Snuggs described the evolution of My Neighbor in Need as a “journey of cultural change.” A large component of that journey is a program that is need specific and entirely anonymous
“Pride is the number one deterrent for those people who are in need,” Snuggs said. “We’ve seen people who would rather starve than ask for help because pride is such a deterrent factor. By doing it on-line and asking anonymously, it changed the culture about asking for help and fulfilling needs. The only person that knows you’re asking is you. We get your application, we verify your story, we verify the category of your need and if its approved, its written in a generic format; ‘Senior lady with low income needs a wheelchair.’”
According to Snuggs, the No. 1 need that the program has filled is requests for beds. Over the past three years My Neighbor in Need has delivered more than 900 beds to families with members sleeping on the ground. A parallel organization founded in September 2013, “My Student in Need,” has now helped more than 900 students in Cascade County, many of them with items as essential as warm winter clothing.
On the occasion of My Neighbor in Need’s third anniversary, Snuggs took the opportunity to announce the launch of its new, updated website, myneighborinneed.org.
“I knew it would work, but I never thought we would see what we are seeing,” Snuggs said of the success of the program. “The outpouring of kindness has demonstrated to me that when there is a need, people who have the capacity to help, will.”