News / USA

NYT, Readers Work to Lessen Suffering

Hip Hop pioneer "LA Sunshine" of battled his way back from decades suicidal depression, drug abuse and loneliness only to hit with "an avalanche" of legal difficulties that prevented him from working in his chosen field - and paying his rent.  The Childre
Hip Hop pioneer "LA Sunshine" of battled his way back from decades suicidal depression, drug abuse and loneliness only to hit with "an avalanche" of legal difficulties that prevented him from working in his chosen field - and paying his rent. The Childre
Adam Phillips
Every holiday season since 1911, The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund has published short profiles of everyday New Yorkers who have fallen on hard times through poverty, addiction, disease or simple bad luck.  The Times has solicited contributions from readers to help the needy through selected charitable agencies.  
Even a casual glance out the office window of Michael Golden, who administers The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, reveals a city that has changed almost beyond recognition in the 102 years since publisher Adolph Ochs informally began the Fund by offering a beggar a job at the newspaper.  

"But that fund still holds a dear place in our hearts, because this is a city of contrasts, of magnificent opportunities and some very difficult living," said Golden.

Golden says the range of people helped by the Fund has broadened over recent decades to include people who are either in the middle class or striving to be there.

"…and who have suddenly hit something in their lives that means they’ve got a severe problem that could derail them from the track their life has been on," he said.

Examples abound.

Manpriya Samar, for example, was within reach of her college degree when she developed acute appendicitis that nearly killed her.  With no health insurance, medical bills soon overwhelmed her.  The Community Service Society, one of seven agencies supported by the Neediest Cases Fund, helped her pay off her creditors and start fresh.  

After some success as one of New York’s Hip-Hop pioneers, "LA Sunshine" went through many years of suicidal depression, drug abuse and loneliness, yet was building a life for himself in the youth development field. Suddenly, he was caught in what he terms an “avalanche” of legal troubles, including a $35,000 bill for unpaid child support.

Sunshine fell far behind in his rent, but was saved from homelessness by the Children’s Aid Society. He is grateful for the help, although he says he gets "flak" within the Hip Hop community, which prides itself on its "do it yourself" bravado.

"Because why would I put myself out there and be so candid and transparent as far as me being in the situation that I am in.  I refuse to let anything make me stumble again.  Me finally coming from that dark space that I’ve been in, I’m going to keep tripping but I am going to keep getting up.  That’s what you’re supposed to when you fall.  So I was very relieved," said "LA Sunshine.

When her daughter became unable to care for her children due to mental illness, Mable Moody retired early to care for her grandchildren, hoping to get a part-time job.  But a job was hard to find and soon, when funding for Milibank, a local after-school program was cut,  Moody found herself in dire straits and humbled.

"I needed extra money for food, clothing that they need, and light bills. So one day I went into Milbank and talked to the assistant director and told her my story. And therefore what she did was apply for New York Times funding for people that’s in need.  But… it’s not very easy for me.  I don’t like handouts.  I like to be self-sufficient," said Moody.

The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund has collected nearly a quarter of a billion dollars over its 102-year life. When asked why he and so many New Yorkers love the Fund, Michael Golden said simply, "It just makes you feel good."

You May Like

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop illegal money flow from continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid