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2010 Charity Profile: 'We've Got Time To Help'

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WASHINGTON -- In February 2009, Seth Reams of Portland, Ore., found himself unemployed and depressed. He had nothing to do all day but look for jobs, and he was having no luck in his search, so his wife, Michelle, offered him a piece of friendly advice.

"She told me I needed to to step away from the job search and get out and do some volunteer work, because I had become depressed and withdrawn," Reams, 36, told HuffPost.

This conversation led to an idea. "Talking about the state of the economy and how many people [are] unemployed, even just in Oregon, we thought, wouldn't it be great if we could gather up some of these people and put them to work in the community?" he said.

Within a week, Reams and his wife had organized a team of people who had been laid off and were looking for a productive way to use their skills and experience, and they found their first local project: helping to transport two free sofas into a very poor pregnant woman's apartment.

"We called our volunteers and said, 'We need a truck to haul couches to this woman,' and it steamrolled from there," Reams said. "People said, 'I'll be glad to loan you my truck, but I've got some extra this,' from clothing to more furniture to food, and by the time it was all said and done we had four cars and a pickup truck full of stuff."

The feeling of helping this woman out was addictive, Reams told HuffPost, and he was hooked. Now, two years later, his unemployed charity group -- which he calls "We've Got Time To Help" -- has volunteers in 48 states, over 100 U.S. cities, Canada, England, Poland and Australia.

"It's insane," he said. "When we started this in February of '09, we thought, wouldn't it be great if we could help half a dozen people by the end of the year? We didn't have a clue how big this would be."

Reams's organization of unemployed volunteers helps individuals and families all around the world with various needs, big and small. In Cincinnati, Ohio, there is a woman undergoing chemotherapy who cannot afford to take care of the many electrical, plumbing and roofing issues in her home. In Hot Springs, Ark., an elderly man could use some help transporting himself to and from his doctor appointments. In Albany, N.Y., a disabled veteran needs her dishwasher and gas fireplace installed. 

Since none of the volunteers, including Seth and Michelle, pay themselves any kind of salary, 100 percent of donations to "We've Got Time To Help" are used to buy the supplies and equipment necessary to carry our their philanthropic projects.
There is still time to donate to this organization as well as a host of other worthy non-profits this holiday season through The Goods -- an online store set up by HuffPost and Causecast to facilitate donations to a hand-picked list of charities and non-profits.