Tuesday, August 7, 2012
7 News Features: Paying It Forward
Tonight, a follow-up to our story about a new website that connects people who need help with people who want to help. Since our story aired in June, your generosity has been amazing. Lynn Martinez shows us how 7News viewers are 'Paying it Forward.'
WSVN -- Linda Joyner is confined to a wheelchair and doesn't have a lot of money to spare.
But that didn't stop her from wanting to help someone else in need after seeing our story about a new website called Helpcup.
Linda Joyner, Donating a Wheelchair: "I was watching Channel 7 News, and something about a new social network caught my ear."
Helpcup.org is a social network for people going through hard times.
People can create a profile page and tell others what they desperately need.
Donors can then look through those profiles and see who they can help.
Hanh Dinh, Founder, helpcup.org: "You can donate through monetary, you can donate through volunteering your work, or if you have a business, you can also donate free services."
As soon as Linda saw our story, she knew she had something to give: A $4,000 motorized wheelchair that didn't fit her anymore.
Linda Joyner, Donating a Wheelchair: "I can't see selling a wheelchair that somebody else needs. I want someone who truly needs it to get it."
Within hours of posting the free wheelchair on Helpcup, she was linked up with Irene Abreu.
Irene Abreu, Needed a Wheelchair: "I was diabetic, and I had a wound open on my left foot that wouldn't heal. I lost half of my foot to it."
Irene was having a tough time getting around in her manual wheelchair.
Irene Abreu, Needed a Wheelchair: "I have arthritis in both my shoulders and my neck, so I was basically walking with my hands, and it was very painful. I had no way of buying a new chair."
This is home video of the day Helpcup delivered Irene's new ride.
Woman: "How does it feel?"
Irene Abreu, Needed a Wheelchair: "Ahhh."
And we were there when Irene finally got to meet her online angel: Linda.
Irene Abreu, Needed a Wheelchair: "Thank you so much. I'm so glad."
Irene Abreu, Needed a Wheelchair: "The fact that somebody could be so giving and say, 'I'm not going to selfish, I'm going to be selfless.' It's something in this day and age that you don't see."
But we are seeing South Florida's giving spirit. Helpcup has received an outpouring of generosity from 7News viewers.
Hanh Dinh, Founder, helpcup.org: "Channel 7 News just spread the news for us. Right after it aired, we had so many people going on the site and the traffic was amazing. We were able to help 14 more members."
Members like Howard Brown, who recently put his life back together again after being homeless for several years.
All he wanted to go along with his new life was a new smile.
Howard Brown, Wanted a New Smile: "My wife and I lived in the woods for two years. The abuse and the deterioration of my teeth were as a result of that. The constant smoking and not taking care of them."
Howard's story touched the heart of local dentist Virgil Mongalo, who is donating new teeth implants worth more than $6,000.
Dr. Virgil Mongalo, Dentist: "He needs the help, and I think everyone deserves a little break."
We were there as Howard went into surgery and then emerged with the confident smile he's always wanted.
Howard Brown, Wanted a New Smile: "Wow, this is a big difference. This is wonderful. Thank you doctor, thank you Helpcup, thank you Channel 7."
Howard Brown, Wanted a New Smile: "I have my smile back. I'm not afraid to smile anymore."
Dr. Virgil Mongalo, Dentist: "When you can help someone like Howard, it makes your day."
So keep paying it forward, South Florida. There are a lot more people in need of your kindness and generosity.
Lynn Martinez: "By the way, Howard is already paying it forward. He has donated to other Helpcup members in need. Again, you can donate anything. It doesn't have to be money; It can be services or just your time. And Helpcup says more businesses and charities are needed."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
199 E Flagler Street STE 1460
Miami, FL 33131
Customer Service for Businesses and Charities