Here is a little insight to what has been going on recently with us. We appreciate your support and so do the people we take care of; we couldn't do it without you!
It was asked if anyone here gets paid. The answer is no - we all volunteer for doing this work. Our providers and resources do not provide us any financial incentive to refer people to them either. We work out a pretty simple but effective method for our resource network that has been working well, so we have no intentions on changing it unless the circumstance dictates so or it's within our/your best interest. The only payments that go out are for operations like internet and outreach services, occasional advertising (events, fundraisers, important information, etc.), materials related to education, payments to providers for care, and accounting services. Every penny is tracked in accordance with the IRS code. We also do not have a physical location per se - we rely on space from some of our providers and we operate "on the go" with a PO box and through our internet outlets. We try to be mobile rather than tethering to a location. Since we are in Connecticut, taking care of those farther away can be difficult. We will try our best, but sometimes it's more effective to refer people to other organizations for what they need; it's just a physical limitation and we will still do our best to help out. Our accounts aren't monitored 24/7, but we have enough people with access that someone will get back to you ASAP. If what is going on is an emergency or someone is in crisis and you don't receive an immediate reply, we suggest you call 911 or report to your nearest Emergency Department. Crisis situations typically require immediate action, and our network may not always be in a position to handle that based on time of notification, location, and situations out of our control. We will follow up as soon as practical.
Social Media/Internet Presence: Facebook has verified our page - we have the little grey "check" mark on our profile now. This means that they have verified our information and consider us a legitimate source. We also started a private group through Facebook where people can ask questions, share resources and ideas, and network in relative privacy. We will share things that don't necessarily need to be published elsewhere as well. We have finally joined Twitter as well. We are working on growing that network and going through the verification process within the next month or so. Twitter is definitely a different world... but we are willing to give it a try. We are also exploring a few other platforms to continue our engagement. We added a few things to the website and cleaned up some of the information making it a bit easier to navigate. Please like, share, retweet, subscribe, and invite your friends to our outlets!
Resources: We should be adding a few more providers and care options within the next few weeks or sooner. We take the time to thoroughly screen who we work with, and we aren't sorry about that one bit. If we put our name behind it, we want it to be worth your time.
First Responder Care Fund: The fund isn't huge, but we are hoping to continue to grow it. Over the last two months, those funds have assisted two first responders get to care who otherwise wouldn't have been able to. So far this year, we have handled 9 requests for help and were able to meet them all. All 9 are now healthy, happy, and doing well. We are currently monitoring 5 other individuals at the request of friends/coworkers/family. They haven't committed to being well again yet, but we are watching and hoping they will. Our network of providers have been very helpful for everyone through this process and we greatly appreciate it.
Fundraising: We have signed up with another platform for raising funds. They seem pretty straight forward and have some great integration tools that I think will be helpful. The links are available on our website and through our Facebook page. We are always looking for corporate/private sponsorship (or partnerships), so if you have any ideas on that or are interested please let us know. Sponsors get a spot on our website and social media endorsements. Also of note, we have registered with GuideStar and achieved "Platinum" level membership. This means that we have met their requirements for financial reporting and practice. We are also working on a few other "creative" fundraising and outreach ideas.
Convention: We will be at the 2017 Firefighter's Convention hosted in Taftville (Norwich, CT) with some of our providers and partners. This should be a great event where we can grow our network and make new connections. The convention is on September 16. We will have the ability to take donations in literally every form as well as exchange information with anyone who wants it. Donations can also be made to our partner's causes through us and we will mark the funds and transfer them when they clear.
We are always looking for people to help and ideas. Feel free to reach out to us on one of our outlets at any point. Also as a reminder, anything you ask for or report to us remains completely confidential and we do not speak to anyone without your permission (excluding the obvious like immediate risk of death/injury, etc.).
If you are looking for help, guidance, or have a general question, you can contact us directly.