Helping Neighbors in Need

Helping Neighbors in Need

Clinton County Neighbors Helping Neighbors Fund- making a difference for families in the community

Clinton County Neighbors Helping Neighbors Fund

Stories abound of families displaced and distraught by house fire. A few years ago Rod Giltz heard from a friend who had sent an unsolicited $100 to such a family because as his friend said, "when there's a crisis, there's always a need for cash."

Rod, whose family founded Northern Insuring, had that story in mind when he met with a few community members to consider ways to celebrate the company's 75th anniversary.  The group agreed that as part of  "giving back to the community", it would be wonderful to find a way to make small amounts of money available to people in emergency situations. With that idea in mind, Rod turned to ACT for assistance in establishing such a fund.

With an initial donation from Northern Insuring and ongoing contributions from the community, the Clinton County Neighbors Helping Neighbors Fund has become a focus of philanthropic interest in Plattsburgh area. The Press Republican was an early supporter. Bob Parks, publisher of the paper, got involved because he has always been so impressed with the way the local community comes forward for a worthy cause. He said, "Whether the effort is for a group or an individual, people here like helping their neighbors."

Jeannie Roberts, Executive Director of the Red Cross Plattsburgh chapter, was part of the group advising Rod. With more than 30 years of experience, she understood emergency needs and has a track record of handling challenging situations. Whether mobilizing food, blankets, diapers, medicine, or other needs, Jeannie Roberts and her Red Cross team know where a few dollars can make a difference and how to get money where it's needed.

Relying on Jeannie's expertise, ACT disburses income from the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Fund annually to the North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross. The money is used to meet needs of individuals or families where a quick infusion of cash can solve a problem.

Here are a few examples:  A child was diagnosed with a serious problem needing immediate relief, but the insurance would not cover medication until a waiting period had passed.  A young soldier came home for a funeral, but did not have the funds to return to her base when she needed to report for duty.  An elderly person's medical condition was exacerbated by high summer temperatures, but they could not afford an air conditioner. In each case, money that would not be available under other programs solved an emergency situation: a week's worth of medicine, a plane ticket, and an air conditioner.

An added value of this fund is that the recipients benefit from more than just dollars. The Red Cross is a resource alerting other agencies to see if they can offer further assistance or contacting merchants who can supply needed products.

In the world of philanthropy, this Fund is a remarkable example of corporate and individual donors finding a way to help needy members of their community – one problem at a time.  If you would like to join in helping a neighbor in need, please consider a donation to Clinton County Neighbors Helping NeighborsFund.