Finding charitable help for you or your family can sometimes take a little work and a few phone calls. You can start with a local church or other religious organization. There are many large organizations, like the Salvation Army, that may be able to help, and most such groups can direct you to other resources if they cannot be of assistance. Asking for charitable help can be difficult; most people who seek charity aren't proud that they have to do so, but are doing so because of extreme financial circumstances. When contacting various agencies about getting charitable help, it's important to keep in mind that few people working for these organizations would ever try to make you feel bad for seeking help.
Some people don’t know where to start in finding charitable help. Usually the best place to start is at your local church if you know they have any assistance programs, or even if you're not sure. You don't have to be religious or belong to a specific church to get the charitable help they may offer. If you're not religious, you can still call churches and ask them if they have programs to assist families.
While a church of any kind may not have a specific program, people running the business aspects of the church often can point you in the direction of charitable help from other organizations nearby. If you aren't finding help with one specific church, temple, or synagogue, try contacting another. Some places of worship are more organized on this than others.
There are several different types of charitable groups that usually exist in most communities. Most communities have some form of food bank, and large cities may have several. Charities within a community may offer some financial relief, and a few organizations like the Salvation Army may have programs to help you pay for things like electric bills or a small amount of your rent. Communities may range in other offerings, including shelters for the homeless or for women and children escaping violent families. Some local or large charities may focus most on providing things like clothing, shelter, food, or small amounts of financial assistance.
Any large charity is likely to know what other resources that are available in your community. If you work with a group like Catholic Charities or the Salvation Army, they may even have printed out lists of the type charitable help in your area. Depending upon your financial circumstances and where you live, you may need to also seek help through state or regional agencies. Low income families or those with disabilities in the US may qualify for financial assistance from the state, and the fact that you are low income may entitle you to help for paying for other needed things, like low-income housing or school lunches.
If you have access to the Internet you can search for charitable organizations in your area, but it may be more efficient and effective to have a large organization help you perform this search. Another good contact in the US is the United Way, which has local branches in many towns. Remember that there is no a guarantee that you'll qualify for the various organizations' charitable help or that help will entirely bridge the gap between what you need and are able to get. Using a network of organizations in your community can certainly help make a difference, however.