Since 1985 the Times Herald-Record’s People for People fund has distributed more than $4.8 million. What started then as a way to connect those with needs to those in the community who wanted to help has grown in size but one thing remains the same. This effort is, as many annual announcements have noted, “a yearly source of inspiration to watch how the toughest times bring out the very best in our readers.”

And there can be no mistake. Times are still far too tough for far too many in our communities.

People for People was started by the Times Herald-Record and the Junior League of Orange County to help those in nearby communities help one another in Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties in New York and parts of Pike County in Pennsylvania.

It is thought of as the newspaper’s fund, and while it is true that the company pays much of the operating costs, the name of the fund really tells it all. It is the place where people who have something to give can help people who need something.

It works year-round but gets the most attention at this time of year, when the thoughts of helping others reach a peak. As people in the news business, those at the Times Herald-Record are very aware of the needs of many in the region, many who still live paycheck to paycheck, trying as best as they can to deal with the financial challenges brought on by an unexpected event.

These can be as simple as losing a few days' pay due to an injury and falling behind on rent, or not being able to get to work because a vehicle was damaged in a storm. We know many of the organizations in the region are hard-pressed to help all who need it. Even as our state and nation make efforts to ensure that everyone gets health care, we still hear many local stories about families struggling to pay the bills for doctors, hospitals or medication, especially for children.

In 2017, People for People distributed more than $126,000, and over the past five years more than 1,225 households have been able to navigate through the unexpected challenges.

This year, People for People began reaching out to the business community as a way to seek additional funds, working with their human resources departments to increase awareness for their employees who may not know of the services available to them.

Those who live in the Record’s coverage area — Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties in New York and parts of Pike County in Pennsylvania — meet the residency requirement for help.

Each November through New Year’s Day, we launch this fundraising campaign to accelerate the rate of giving beyond the efforts that so many organizations make throughout the year.

Not all people give money. Many donate time and many of those who volunteer are people who once needed help themselves and see this work as a way to give something in return and to keep the effort going.

To learn more about contributing, volunteering or applying for help, call 343-1663 or visit recordspeoplefund.org.