How It Began
Our story is a simple one.
In the summer of 2001, while working late one night in the forests of North Carolina, a fellow employee needed a ride home as his car would not start. As we drove the 14 miles to his house he talked about the basic needs in his life and how even though he worked full-time, it seemed like he always had to choose which needs to cover. His remaining needs just continued to pile up. I asked if he ever thought of seeking help and he replied he did not know who to ask or what to ask for. The entire time he had worked with me, I hadn’t known of his difficult situation as he had never talked about it.
I would have readily helped him but I never knew that he needed help. It was at that very moment as I dropped him off at his home I thought, what if he had a way to ask for help for a specific need from the caring people in the community – his neighbors? I always have believed that people want to help and I knew that if people were aware of his needs that someone would offer help. But how do we connect those with specific needs with those who want to help?
I began looking into ways to connect those in need with those who wished to help. I was on the right track but then our nation experienced the horrific events of September 11th. My research stopped as my thoughts and prayers focused on the needs of the victims rather than the needs of my community.
In October, 2002 I relocated to Montana and continued working to improve the lives of people in my community. I call this working for the “Greater Good.” In the summer of 2003, I experienced first-hand the spirit of those who wished to help a specific cause. This outpouring of kindness demonstrated to me (once again) that when there is a need, people who have the capacity to help, will! They simply need to be made aware that there is a need. This inspired me to re-open my research.
For years I looked into creating a way to immediately link those who have a specific need with those who have the capacity to help. I spoke with computer programmers, software developers and engineers and was told that technology was not there yet. So once again, I put the idea on hold and poured myself into other projects.
Then, on November 18, 2011, while watching the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelly, I was moved beyond compare. No, that does not do it true justice. I was lifted off the couch by a story of one man who for over two decades has made a difference in the lives of his neighbors. His name is Sal Dimiceli and after seeing his story, I made the decision right then to find someone who could/would take my idea and engineer a way to make it work.
In December of 2012, I had a meeting with a professional computer programmer in Great Falls by the name of Tom Penwell. I explained to Tom how in 2003 I was told by professionals twice his age that what I wanted to create was not readily available and that it would cost a small fortune to develop the system to deliver my idea. Tom stated that he thought that he could write and revise computer codes to deliver a system that would work. I was thrilled and he began working on what would turn out to be www.myneighborinneed.org
In less than a month, Tom delivered the system!
Since the system and website went live, we have been able to provide help to those in need. Through the generosity of our neighbors, www.myneighborinneed.org will continue to promote my original theory that each of us is willing to help, we just need to know that you have a need!
Thank you for helping your neighbors in need.