Local initiative continues to help the needy

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For more than 30 years Hank Commodore has dedicated his life to giving back to his community by helping those in need through his “Help the Needy, Not the Greedy” initiative, a non-profit that provides assistance by donating clothing, furniture and appliances to those in need in the Pittsburgh and surrounding areas, since 2007.

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JOY OF GIVING—Hank Commodore, founder of “Help the Needy, Not the Greedy,” donates clothing, furniture and appliances to needy families because he says he enjoys the feeling he gets from giving.

It was in November 2010 when the New Pittsburgh Courier first spoke with Commodore about his organization that had already donated approximately $2 million worth, about 22 tractor-trailers full, of items. Since then, Commodore said he has given away $5 million worth of items to help individuals.

Commodore, founder and chairman, said he continues to do this because, “it’s not about me, it’s about those in need. We don’t just give the things to the families or kids; they have to do positive things. When everybody gets on board with the right thing, so much can happen.” He added, “the hope is that the people who received help will go on and help others because of the blessings they have received.” He said it brings a positive change in people.

While Commodore said he still continues to use most of his own money for the donations and still is not receiving grant funding, he did say he is getting help from Levin Furniture, a furniture donor.

Although Commodore continues to help with the community, he still has faced some trials and tribulations. In January Commodore says he was robbed while in the process of moving his items from his New Kensington location to his new Plum/Lower Burrell location. No one has been charged, but Commodore said he knows the assailants were not people in need.

With an economy that is unstable, Commodore said he is seeing an increase in the number of families looking for assistance. Even though he is working for the community, he said he is seeing little help from the institutions in the community that he feels should be willing to help, such as the churches.

“I am not sure why more churches aren’t getting involved. A lot of them only help the people within their own church, but ‘Help the Needy, Not the Greedy’ helps everyone. We (people within the communities) need to work together.”

In order to receive assistance from Help the Needy, Commodore said applicants must go through a screening process. “I learned that just because someone says they are in need of help; doesn’t mean they are.”

Applicants must fill out an application, which is then followed by an interview with the applicant and with a caseworker, etc.

Commodore said he plans to continue the work that he is doing and try to pursue more funding through grants.

“And if we don’t get any, it’s okay. Seeing their smiles-that’s the joy of helping people,” he said. “It’s a fantastic thing, helping people, and imagine how much more we could do if churches, organizations and other people would get on board.”

For more information on or to receive assistance from “Help the Needy, Not the Greedy,” call 724-217-3866.

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