10/18/05 How Can I Help? (Revised)
There are many things that can be done to assist families of missing persons. I will outline those here and add on to this monthly with more ideas.
Things you can do without cost:
For those who believe, prayer for both the missing person and for the family is very important. If the missing person is alive, they may be struggling with basic needs and/or the psychological issues in their life. The left behind family members need prayers to help them deal with the numerous issues that come with having a loved one become missing. There is strong scientific evidence that prayer can make a difference. I can tell you that it does.
For families who have websites with guestbooks, be sure to sign the guestbook, as the family is uplifted by these messages of hope and support. You never can underestimate the effect doing this has. You can also email the link to the website to others, asking them to send it on after signing the guestbook.
Important note: Please be responsible when forwarding emails about missing persons. Some are hoaxes and some are about missing persons who have already been found. Do not forward one unless you are sure it is a valid, open case. You can read more about how to check for this here:http://voice4themissing.blogspot.com/2005/08/penny-brown-is-still-not-missing.html
You can help us bring awareness for ALL missing persons by emailing all media, local and national, asking for coverage of the missing person’s story.If a certain missing person’s story makes the national news, and is featured on a regular basis by the local media, contact them and remind them of the missing person(s) in their own area. Often, these missing persons may get little to no coverage. You can also do this if you notice the broadcast of news that should not take precedence over people, such as stories about missing animals.
If you would like an automated email sent to you that contains instructions, links, and a prototype letter to send to media, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Things you can do for a minimal cost:
Poster placement is proven to be a key method to bring awareness to the case and reunite families. Many printable posters are available online. Both NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) and NCMA (National Center for Missing Adults) have posters on all missing persons. Many other sites have posters as well. Most family websites will have one to print.
It is important to keep posters up in the area where the missing person was last seen, but we also must remember that we are a very mobile society, and if the missing person is alive, they can very quickly move to another part of the country. There are very few cases in which it is a certainty that the missing person is in a specific area.
Project Jason has printable posters available at these sites:http://www.projectjason.org/18wheel.html
A few family sites also have printable labels you can affix to packages you mail. You can also make business size cards to hand out. You can see examples of these here: http://www.findheaven.net/flyers.htm
If these are not provided for the missing person you wish to assist, you can make them yourself, using the ones on the page above as a template, or by designing your own.
You can also participate in our Adopt a Missing Person program. For the price of a self-addressed stamped mailer, you can choose one or several missing persons to adopt. You will be sent a photo button to wear and a personal bio, so that you can share their story with others. Wear the button on your purse, backpack, or coat, and give these families hope that they will be reunited.
If a family of a missing person lives in your area, and they hold a fundraiser for their reward fund, you can attend or volunteer to help with the event.
Things you can do for varied costs:
If the family has a reward or search fund, donate to it. Depending on the situation, they might also establish a trust or other fund to care for children of the missing person.If you are already in touch with the family, or know an organization which can, (Project Jason if it is a case shown on our Faces page) inquire as to their needs. Those needs could vary. They may need a number of posters printed up and sent to them for poster campaigns in their area.
If you have a talent, and want to use that talent to help, contact an organization handling their case. The family may be very happy to have a fundraiser, such as a concert, put on for them. Persons who sell products, such as home interiors, can offer a percentage of their profits during a particular sales period. There are many creative things that can be done to help.
It is not recommended to donate personal goods, just items that pertain to the search.
Please keep in mind that donating money or other items to a missing person’s family is not tax deductible as they are not a nonprofit organization. If the family happens to run a nonprofit organization, donations that are intended for their missing loved one must be given directly to the family, and are not tax deductible. A donation made to the organization cannot be used specifically for their missing family member, but is tax deductible if they have nonprofit status granted by the IRS.
And finally, we ask you to help us help them:
We also need your help financially in order to continue our work. The competition for charitable dollars is fierce and small nonprofits such as Project Jason depend strictly on the generosity of the public. We are an all-volunteer force. There is no paid staff and little overhead. Our phone bill is one of our largest expenses.
I dislike posting this because I never want to give the impression we're all about money, but the realities of it are that we just don't get many donations. We have many, many plans we would like to bring to fruition, but it's going to take money to accomplish those things.
So, if you like what we're doing, please help. If you would prefer, please take a look at the good missing person's organizations in your area, and help them. There are many of us who are small and struggling.
Donations can be mailed to:
PO Box 3035
Omaha, NE 68103
Thank you for anything you can do for our cause!
Kelly Jolkowski, Mother of Missing Jason Jolkowski
President and Founder,
Read our Voice for the Missing Blog