With the holidays right around the corner, the act of giving is in full swing! That’s why we are excited to announce this month’s winner for our Give Your Brand a Hand giveaway. In the spirit of helping others, Help Network, a non-profit organization, helps clients with utility bills, securing jobs, and providing educational assistance year-round.

“Help Network kept our electric on and kept us from becoming homeless.” -Sarah Burgener, Executive Director

In 2002, Sarah Burgener lost her husband to stage 4 colon cancer. With a mountain of bills that needed to be paid and a 2-year-old daughter that needed to be cared for, she was at a crossroad. Through Help Network, which offers assistance with prescriptions, rent, utilities, eyeglasses and exams, food, clothing, and gas, Sarah got the help she needed. Now the executive director of the organization, Sarah is passionate about giving back to her community and helping others.

Quality Logo Products® has the honor of hand-picking a winner for Give Your Brand a Hand every month. If your small business has fewer than 50 employees and makes less than $1 million in annual revenue, you can enter for your chance to win some cool promo products to further promote your brand!

Making a Difference

Founded in 1992, Help Network served as an information hub and referral service. It wasn’t until 2002 they began to provide the services people needed rather than referring them to other locations.  Nestled in Russellville, Arkansas, Help Network currently assists low-income and single-parent families in 3 counties, Polk, Yell, and Johnson, which covers a total of 17 cities. With so much ground to cover, it’s amazing that Sarah and her team were able to provide $98,605.89 worth of assistance to their clients in 2016.

In 2017, there was an estimated 40 million people that lived in poverty, nearly 8.7 million received disability checks, and almost 600,000 experienced homelessness. Organizations like Help Network strive to lower these numbers and help people become financially stable. Aside from helping families or individuals living in poverty, homeless, or on disability, they also help single parents that struggle to make ends meet.

“If parents will read to their kids, it will instill a love of reading in them and that if your key to education.” -Sarah Burgener, Executive Director

Imagination Station

Aside from financial assistance, Help Network also wants to impact childhood education and increase their likeliness to read. Believe it or not, over 45 million Americans are illiterate or can’t read above a 5th grade reading level according to the Literacy Project Foundation. When it comes to being successful, reading is an important factor. If someone can’t read, or struggles to read, it can be nearly impossible for them to not just find a job, but also find one that makes a livable wage. That’s why programs like Imagination Station were started.

Help Network, through their partnership with Imagination Station, fills out applications for their clients with children under the age of 5 (school-age) so they can receive a book every month. Ultimately, the goal is to help kids learn ways to be successful at a young age in hopes that they won’t require assistive services when they’re older.

Offering a Hand Up, Not a Hand Out

One of the best things about Help Network is they don’t want to just assist people by paying for bills. Unlike most programs that only help people financially, they want to offer a hand up to get people on their feet. This means that whenever a family or individual is in desperate need of help, Help Network will do more than just hand out money. They also offer budgeting classes, help people get their GED’s, and provide job assistance to those looking for a job, or a better-paying job.

One success story that sticks out to Sarah happened at the end of August 2018. A mom and dad with 7 children, 5 of which weren’t school-aged yet, came in seeking assistance. The dad had owned a very successful business for several years. Unfortunately, the last couple of years spiraled downwards and he had to let the business go. The family was in desperate need for some help paying their astronomical electric bill. However, the dad’s main goal wasn’t the money. What the dad wanted more than anything was a job. Help Network was able to cover the family’s entire bill and help him find a job making enough money to support his family again.

Lasting Memories

Sarah hopes that the free promotional products Help Network receives will leave behind memorable keepsakes that will urge new people, churches, and other programs to invest in their organization and mission. With over 2,000 families helped so far in 2018, it’s safe to say Help Network is long overdue for another friendly, helping hand.

If you would like to donate to Help Network, you can do so online or mail your donation to:

Help Network Inc

PO Box 1514

Russellville, AR 72811

Do you need help promoting your small business or non-profit? Don’t forget to sign up for our Give Your Brand a Hand giveaway!

About the author

Kyrsten Ledger

Kyrsten is a promo expert with a passion for branding . Her vast knowledge of promotional giveaways and marketing has led to several articles and published work for PPB Magazine, a publication from the Promotional Products Association International.