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Courier Friends to Follow

Program links needy to potential helpers

Life in Liberty

POSTED: August 29, 2012 12:00 p.m.

Most people fall into one of two categories: people who need help but don’t know how to ask and people who want to help but don’t know how. The people who don’t fit into either of these categories fall into a whole different category for self-centered people with no compassion, so I just won’t go there.

Especially in this area, I’ve witnessed several well-intentioned programs and ministries organized by the government and churches alike seeking to solve problems. However, they quickly come to a halt when they either run out of resources or people to serve.

Since I most definitely fall into the “want to help but don’t know how” category, I was very excited to hear about the planned autumn launch of a Liberty County nonprofit organization that links those who need help to those who want to help. I recently had an opportunity to talk with two of the men who will sit on the board of directors, Scott Mortensen and Layton Gilroy.

“It’s neighbors helping neighbors,” Mortensen said. “It’s a great opportunity for the community, and it’s a great opportunity for us.”

Gilroy and Mortensen both saw a need in the community to bridge those in need to those who want to serve. When Mortensen discovered NeighborLink, a nonprofit organization started in 2003 to provide a “web-based platform for neighbors with resources to find those who need help,” according to neighborlinknetwork.org/about, he knew he had found what he was seeking.

“We’re not trying to recreate the wheel here,” Mortensen said. “People just don’t know where to go. The goal here is to reach our neighbors.”

Gilroy showed me another community’s website so I could get an idea of what to expect. It’s quite simple. Needs are posted, then people volunteer to meet those needs. That’s it.

“Anybody can request assistance for themselves or for family, friends or neighbors,” Gilroy explained.

“The community themselves move it,” Mortensen added.

Probably the greatest part of this organization — at least to me — is no one gets paid. When they say nonprofit here, they mean no one gets a paycheck.

“We’re not going to pool any money,” Mortensen said. “You donate money to a specific project, and that’s where it goes. This is project-driven and project-oriented.”

So here’s how it will work: NeighborLink Liberty County will launch its website sometime next month. After that, it’s up to the community. Anyone can post projects when they see a need or a need arises, and anyone can volunteer to help meet that need.

For example, on the website Gilroy showed me, one post indicated a disabled elderly man needed the exterior of his house painted. It listed the project cost and the volunteers needed. A qualified project coordinator would oversee the work, and anyone could donate money or time and labor to help out. It’s as simple as that.

I’m excited to see people in the community coming together and really taking action to help others, and I’m excited to see how this platform links us together. Who’s in?

 

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