“I’ve always believed in the thought of ‘If people knew, they would help,’ and, after having personally experienced the power of active, anonymous giving, I wondered what a community would look like if it was transformed by the power of ‘quiet giving.’ Giving for the sake of giving with no strings attached or expectations. I thought about the changes it would mean for the person receiving a gift and the people who gave anonymously.”
Amber Bateman started a grassroots organization that pairs families-in-need with individuals in the community who can meet those needs either financially or by donating goods. The entire process in anonymous.
Quiet Givers fills in the gaps where nonprofits and other agencies meet their limitations. In partnership with these groups, Quiet Givers has created a network of more than 2,000 individuals in the local community who want to help those around them who are in need. Existing programs funnel their needs to Quiet Givers where those requests are evaluated to ensure no other organization can meet the request. Once a request is accepted, Facebook and other forms of social media are used to secure a quick response from a Giver – often minutes instead of the days, weeks, or months it can take via other channels. All requests are kept anonymous. Quiet Givers provides no identifiable details or names for either the Giver or the recipient – only stories are shared.
Quiet Givers serves many families in poverty, but help also goes to those who are in need of a “leg-up.” Disasters, such as expensive medical needs or fires, can strike anyone. Quiet Givers has paid for travel to hospitals or medical testing, as well as assisted senior citizens and veterans who have had trouble working with other agencies. Bateman has forged referral relationships with the Department of Social Services, Project on Aging, International Red Cross, Salvation Army, Child Development Services, The Children’s Council, homeless shelters and many other organizations.
Bateman established an online needs referral program where family needs are submitted and can be matched with Quiet Givers looking to make a difference. In 2014, Quiet Givers provided $100,000 of relief to families in the local community. Quiet Givers organized a Back-to-School festival where families could gather supplies their children needed to be prepared for school, including notebooks, shoes and haircuts. The first festival drew 500 children. This year, 1,000 are expected. Bateman created the Western Watauga Food Outreach, an interagency collaboration that provides weekly food distribution to families with food insecurities. Quiet Givers received a $40,000 grant to sustain this program as it can otherwise take in-need individuals up to two hours to get to the nearest food pantry.
“I love helping people who might think they have nothing to offer to come to the realization that they do have something to offer and that they don’t have to have money to make a difference,” she says. “I started this group when I was on food stamps, and now it is a thriving group of people who love to give above and beyond what is asked. It makes my heart beat to see our members engage and act to give from their hearts.”
“To me, Quiet Givers is only successful because of the members who respond quickly to needs with passion. They also join me in efforts to build a stronger community through grassroots organizing. They do the work, I just facilitate,” says Bateman.
Amy Michael, a school social worker who makes referrals to Quiet Givers says, “Everyone wants to live in a community with someone like Amber. She saw needs when she moved into our area and thought about how she could help folks from a grassroots level – mom-to-mom, dad-to-dad and parent-to-parent. This grassroots network was built from her wanting to get involved in the community and make a difference. She doesn’t want to be recognized or name the donors. She’s doing this out of the goodness of her heart. In this community, especially with all the mental health reform in the state, our services have been cut, so there’s an every-growing population of people who need help. It’s reassuring to know that when I have a family that has fallen through the cracks that I can call her or write a referral and know that it will be handled confidentially and with the utmost respect. She finds a way through the community of Quiet Givers to get that need met so I don’t have to worry. She doesn’t get a paycheck for this – she’s the ultimate Good Samaritan. We should all strive to be like her, in my opinion. Life in this world would be a much better place.”