According to United Way of Rhea Director Christine Ralph, while people come to United Way in search of Neediest Cases funding, they many times leave with a one-time donation and supplementary resources to keep them going.
For one Rhea County woman, seeking assistance from the Neediest Cases Fund not only helped her with getting her rent paid, it brought additional needs to the attention of her caseworkers.
After suffering a fall, and being admitted to the hospital and rehab, amputee Victoria Beard was unable to meet her rent and repair bills, so she reached out to United Way and was able to receive a $281 donation to help her catch up.
"They were very courteous, very helpful and willing to help anybody," she said of her caseworkers.
But in continuing the conversation, United Way realized that she could use more help and referred her to a local food pantry and senior center. They also worked to provide her with a donated lift chair to help with her mobility.
"One of the nice complements with the Neediest Cases funding is we get to know our clients better and find out other needs," Ralph said. "So we found other resources for them so we're not just helping that one time like with her paying her rent. We are able to complement it with other programs that are available for them."
The Neediest Cases Fund was started in 1914 by Adolph Ochs, previous publisher and owner of The New York Times and The Chattanooga Times.
Funded by donations from Times Free Press readers, the fund is managed by the United Way of Greater Chattanooga and distributed to people in need who are referred by partner agencies.
Other Ways to Donate
Note: Under the CARES Act, taxpayers who don't itemize deductions may take a deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions made in 2020 to charitable organizations.
Send the following information and a check to United Way of Greater Chattanooga. Please note that the donation is for Neediest Cases and mail to United Way, 630 Market St., Chattanooga, TN 37402.
Enclosed is a donation for $
Donor Acknowledgement options:
In honor of:
In memory of:
All donations will be acknowledged by mail and in the newspaper. Please state if you do not want us to publish a name in the list of contributors. Donations will be accepted through Dec. 31.
Recipients are usually required to be employed to receive help from the fund, which fulfills basic needs such as housing, utilities and food to those who need one-time help to become self-sufficient.
Last year, readers donated $46,569.86 to the fund, a significant increase over the 2018 total of $41,827.70.
Donate at unitedwaycha.org/neediestcases.
While she was the one to receive assistance this time around, Beard believes that donating to causes like the Neediest Cases Fund when someone has the means is important because people never know what life may bring.
"It's very important to donate," she said. "I donate whenever I can because if you don't donate, you can't help somebody else. In these days, everybody needs help every once in a while."