I don't have much money to give, but I have a few dollars I could spare to help a stranger. The emergency personal disasters we've seen people are facing these past couple of weeks (due to the recent polar vortex winter and ice storms in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee) have made many of us ask the question: "How can I help my fellow man?"

If you aren't able to donate your time and resources to local and national charity organizations, you can always help your neighbors and friends by donating money to someone in their time of need on GoFundMe.com. There is always someone needing a helping hand there. I once used a GoFundMe to buy plane tickets to Tennessee so that my daughter, Willow, and I could go to my grandmother's unexpected funeral. That is why I will always be grateful for GoFundMe! I would have never been able to get to Nashville without it!

If you want to help someone out on GoFundme, it's easy: just search for the city where you want to help. Next, after you see the list of available fundraisers, you'll want to go through the ones whose pictures most reach out to you. Make sure that the GoFundMe you click on is still "open" because they don't get removed until the fundraising organizer takes it down. Some of the GoFundMe's you see are months or even years old, or they have already reached their goal.

My 9-year-old daughter is always yelling at me when we are out and about because I tell her many places have signs posted up with clear warnings to the public not to give handouts to panhandlers.

I tell Willow that the best way we can help the panhandlers is to donate our money, food, or volunteer time to the East Texas Food Bank and to area homeless shelters. But between you and me, it still grips my heart that many times I am not able to help someone who is standing right in front of me asking for money. It also kills me that when natural disasters happen right here in our neck of the woods, I am not able to drive out there and help on the ground because I'm dealing with my own ordeals.

You want to make sure your donation goes to the ones that are the most urgent and pressing. I found for you these seven fundraisers that are urgent, local to our Texas region, and pretty heartbreaking. They cover everything from emergency help paying astronomical utility bills from storm damage to helping a family recover from a devastating house fire to getting a new car to transport family members with disabilities and more. I am sure that each one of these hosts would appreciate any help you could give.

Thank you for being a "good Samaritan"!

Danny Marron via GoFundMe

The Marron Family
A house fire stemming from a heater during the ice storm completely demolished The Marron Family's home. Their home owner's insurance policy will not cover this house fire! All of the Marron Family's savings had gone into purchasing and furnishing their "American Dream" in Athens, TX. Now they have lost everything and need financial help to rebuild. The GoFundme goal is $40,000 and so far they have raised $4,135.

Naomi Haskins via GoFundMe

Lexi & JJ
This family had their pipes burst during the ice storm. The water damaged their home's ceilings, walls, and floors. Fortunately, Lexi & JJ have renter's insurance, however, the cost of staying in a hotel is giving them enormous out-of-pocket expenses. Funds raised that cover lodging expenses are appreciated and they say any leftover money will be spent paying for medical treatment of their baby, Lyric. The GoFundMe goal is $3,000 and so far they have close to $1,019.

Gary Smith via GoFundMe

Mitchell: 

Mitchell's family got into a car wreck and it totaled their vehicle. They need a new car that has room for Mitchell's special equipment that's needed to fit his wheelchair inside. Mitchell is a sweetheart and he sure does need to get around; he lives in Whitehouse and has appointments at the doctor every now and then. The GoFundMe goal is $15,000 and so far they have close to $6,053.

Phillip Allen via GoFundMe


Xotchil:

Xotchil recently had emergency surgery after complaining of "pain in her sides". Her pain ended up being problems with a bunch of stones in her gall bladder. Her gall bladder is gone now but those ghastly hospital bills sure ain't! The GoFundMe goal is $2,500 and so far they have raised $1,745.

Reshuntia McGee via GoFundMe

Meshia Alexander

Meshia's house burned down last week and she lost all of her possessions. Her family is raising money to help Meisha get new clothing, food, and everything else she needs for herself and her kids. The Alexanders live in Tyler, so you may have heard about the fire. Meshia has 3 small kids and is a single parent, so anything you can spare to help her will be most appreciated. The GoFundMe goal is $5,000 and so far they have raised $1,335.

Scott Willoughby via GoFundMe

Scott Willoughby

Scott lost power during the big polar vortex winter storm. Unfortunately, he is a customer of THAT utility company that is price-gouging the HELL out of its customers. Scott says his final electric bill is $16,752.68. He is raising money to pay for not only his utility bill but also that of his brother (whose bill is "over $9,000". The GoFundMe goal is $30,000 and so far they have raised $12,842.

Taneeka Washington via GoFundMe

Taneeka Washington

Tameka lost her source of employment during the big winter storm. Like many homes, the water in her house stopped working. It has been a downward spiral of financial difficulty for Taneeka as she works desperately to take care of her kids. She is raising money to help her provide her family with buying food and paying the bills. The GoFundMe goal is $2,500 and so far they have raised $150.

 

Here's how to apply for rent relief