Charities that can help you cover the basics

If you’re having trouble affording essentials or are going through a personal crisis, know that help is out there. Whether you need emergency housing, medical attention or clothes for work, these six resources listed below can get you back on your feet.


1. Catholic Charities and other faith-based organizations that can help


With over 160 different agencies in the country, Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) and its affiliates work to end poverty and help individuals, regardless of their religion.

CCUSA organizes community food banks and serves meals at soup kitchens. They also provide food for children who need meals after school hours, including on weekends or during the summer.

For families and individuals trying to manage a strict grocery budget, they offer cooking classes and educational programs to help you maximize every dollar.

Food insecurity in America is real, and it affects college students just like it affects families. According to the Urban Institute, over 30,000 students were food insecure during college and university.

Modest Needs Grant


Unlike many charities, Modest Needs tries to prevent financial disasters by helping families before they become homeless. They focus on those who are just one or two paychecks away from an emergency.

The organization provides short-term financial assistance to those in temporary crises, such as a sudden job loss or big medical bill. Many recipients are ineligible for aid from other organizations because they are technically above the poverty line but are still on the brink of losing everything.

Modest Needs offers self-sufficiency grants to help give you a hand. They give particular consideration to single persons, public school teachers and first responders struggling to make ends meet.

Free Charity Cars


Transportation is a major issue for many people. Particularly, public transportation may not even be an option for those in suburban or rural areas. Not having access to a train or bus line can limit employment opportunities, thereby reducing earning potential.

Free Charity Cars strives to address this issue by providing free cars to people on the path to self-sufficiency. By getting a car free of charge, the hope is that individuals will be able to better access jobs and other resources.

Applications have currently been suspended, but they will be accepting new applicants shortly. To learn more about the organization, visit the Free Charity Cars website.


4. Gradient Gives Back Community Outreach Program


The Gradient Gives Back Community Outreach Program aims to help poor and distressed Americans at risk of losing their homes.

Whether you own your home or are renting, the organization provides mortgage payment or lease assistance by making payments for you. Although they are based in Minnesota, they assist families nationwide.

For more information or to apply, visit the Gradient Gives Back Foundation website.


5. NetWish


NetWish is a non-traditional nonprofit (none of the donations receive a tax benefit for donating) focused on paying it forward. Individuals provide help to others by granting small “wishes” or requests for help that cost $200 or less. The charity will send gift cards to recipients to help them pay for rent, utilities, medical bills or to buy clothes for a job interview.

While the amounts are relatively small, $200 can be enough to buy groceries for a month, keep the power on, buy school textbooks or put gas in your car. It can be an important safety net in an emergency.

6. United Way 211


The United Way 211 Information and Assistance Helpline is a free and confidential service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By calling, emailing or texting 2-1-1, you can get connected to local resources to help you through a crisis.Whether you need emergency food stamps, housing, medical aid or are a victim of domestic abuse, 211 can help you find services in your area.