Need a little help? Charity looking for people to give gift cards to in Greater Cleveland

Posted at 4:00 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 18:43:35-04

FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — When hours are cut and jobs are lost, every little bit helps as our community begins to rebound. Now, a little known charity, started on the west side of Cleveland 40 years ago, is looking for people they can help out.

It’s called Friends Helping Friends, and that’s exactly what it is.

It began back in the 1970s, when founder Dan Fronczak and his friends were at a Christmas luncheon.

“They threw a great big tip on the table and thought, ‘You know, we can do better. We could collect this kind of money and give it to our friends and neighbors and families who might have hit a bump in the road,’” said Gretchen Faro, executive director of the nonprofit.

The premise works like this.

You can become a donor for $150 a year. Then, if any time you have a friend or family member, neighbor or acquaintance who needs help, you can nominate them to receive a monthly stipend in the form of a $150 monthly gift card or a one-time emergency payment.

“If they lose a job, they’re facing a major illness, whatever the circumstance,” Faro said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit is now working on emergency help, to spread the small gifts to more people in need throughout Greater Cleveland.

They have about 90 donors or "members" right now, and are putting out a call for help — to give out help.

“We need recipients, we need our donors to say, ‘I know someone that could benefit from this,'"Faro said.

The emergency help recipients will receive are $75 gift cards to Giant Eagle, Target, or Walmart for three months, but they have to be referred by a member.

After all, it is Friends Helping Friends. The key is that the donations are quick and personal.

The group said they know that in the grand scheme of things, their gifts are modest but sometimes, that’s all that is needed — a little bit of kindness, a little helping hand.

For details on how to become a donor or to nominate someone for help, you can click here.