Editorial: Help us find beneficiaries for the Believe Project
As Managing Editor Jim Baumann explained in an article during National Newspaper Week in October, the Daily Herald's involvement with the Believe Project "started on a whim with a why-not-just-ask email" sent to Editor John Lampinen two days before Thanksgiving in 2014.
Carolyn Gable, a Lake Zurich business owner who had spent a couple of years trying to help others who faced the kinds of challenges she had experienced years earlier, wanted to find a way to broaden her idea.
"A couple of years ago, I started the Believe Project," she wrote. "It started by a series of incidents where I wanted to help someone in need and didn't have the courage to stop and offer my financial assistance. From being in a grocery store line where someone is out of cash and needs to take items out of their bag, to offering assistance to someone in need ... The project has, like many things in life, hit a plateau. I want to know if the Herald would have any interest in this project."
What a generous and selfless offer. What a prospect to brighten some lives. How could we say "no?"
We tinkered with her proposal and came up with this vision for how it would work: We would ask readers to submit a short essay on how they would help someone out with $100. Then, we'd pick those with the most compelling ideas, send them the cash and let them pay it forward.
Gable, Baumann explained in his Oct. 9 article, "would supply 31 $100 bills to cover one mini story for each day of December, and the Daily Herald would solicit the stories, publish the winning entries and send the money to the do-gooders.
"Great, we thought. It'll be a nice bit of inspiration for the holiday season.
"But then the stories started being published. And readers responded. It was magical. We were flooded with stories of people who wanted to help. Some readers sent us checks to extend the feature beyond New Year's Day. Carolyn, buoyed by the great response, doubled her initial donation."
That was five years ago. The project has become such a tradition that we hear frequently from readers who look forward to it every December.
And the impact it has made on the people who have been helped! Such a big help for a relatively small amount of money.
We are merely the conduit in this giving project, merely bringing together the real heroes -- Gable and those of you who point us to someone in need.
After five years, we believe. And it's obvious that so many of you in the community do, too.
To tell us who you think could benefit from the $100, visit https://events.dailyherald.com/believe. The deadline for getting us your suggestions is this Friday, Nov. 30.
This is such a wonderful time of year, one where the spirit of giving surrounds us all.
Thank you for your participation. Thank you for all your caring.