West Hartford Lawyer And Her Friends Provide Items, Services For Needy
Gitlin said her legal skills have helped the organization from the beginning. "We really run it like a non-profit organization," she said. "We run it professionally, we keep files, we keep notes," she said. She also recalls using her legal knowledge when helping a woman — an Israeli immigrant — negotiate with U.S. Customs officials to get fines reduced and confiscated possessions returned.
Besides helping individuals with their needs, Gitlin (a former board member of Jewish Family Services) and her two co-founders have organized winter clothing drives, partnering with the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford. Also, with help from the National Council of Jewish Women, they collected Chanukah care packages for Jewish service men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, in cooperation with Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, they collected new toys for Ethiopian children in Absorption Centers in Israel.
When Deeds for Needs was just starting, Gitlin said, the founders often dipped into their own pockets to provide the help for others. These days, donations come from family friends and community members who hear about the organization. When the founders need specific items, they send out a request via an email list.
"We don't have the same type of red tape" as larger organizations that get government money, Gitlin said. "All three of us volunteer our time, no salaries, and have de minimis overhead costs."
Last year was particularly successful. "In 2012, we purchased a new bed and bedding for a teenage boy who gave up his bed for his ailing grandfather," Gitlin said. The trio also "helped move an older woman into an independent living facility, and paid a veterinary bill for a beloved service dog."
Then there was the woman with multiple sclerosis. "She was shut in. We were able to get a laptop donated for her." Now she's hooked up, thanks to Deeds for Needs.•
For more information about Deeds for Needs, email email@example.com.