EVERY year, Daily Mail reporters investigate, fact-check and report thousands of stories. None are more important than the stories they file from Thanksgiving to Christmas in the Neediest Cases Appeal.
While the names never are published, every person is real and every need is true. Space limitations mean that for each published story, there are 10 or more unpublished cases whose needs readers will meet. This year, agencies seek money for nearly 400 cases.
Social workers submit the cases, which are problems that no government program can resolve.
For example, taxpayers provide food stamps, but not the refrigerators to store the food. And although Medicaid will pay for tooth extractions, it won't pay for dentures. The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program can help with home repairs and heating bills, but it can't buy cooking and heating stoves. Clothing may be available from charities, but welfare can't pay for chests of drawers.
Each case has been reviewed by Daily Mail staff members and reviewed again by the United Way's Information and Referral Bureau. The Daily Mail absorbs all administrative costs.
But the readers are the people who make the big difference in our community.
Over the years, the response from readers has been generous, stunning and humbling. Readers have donated coins and checks that have added up to more than $4 million to help neighbors in need by the thousands. The money often comes from people of modest means themselves.
The needs are basic. Readers have purchased beds and bedding, heating stoves, winter coats, washing machines, braces, water pipes, linoleum and even baby diapers last year for a woman who is raising her great-grandchild.
Readers also have purchased dentures and hearing aids that help people gain confidence and find employment. The Neediest Cases Appeal is a hand up, not a handout.
Tax-deductible contributions may be made through the end of the year. Checks should be sent to:
Daily Mail Neediest Cases Appeal
2001 Virginia St., E.
Charleston, WV 25301