Acts 435, a charity founded by the Archbishop of York, has recently hit its 3000th request for financial assistance.
Jenny Herrera, Director of Acts435 has said on her blog that "Having hit 2,000 requests in June of this year just three years after our launch, we have seen the kind of acceleration experienced by Foodbanks across the country.
"In just six months we have helped another 1,000 people struggling financially through providing the cash they do not have so that they can obtain the specific, practical items that they need."
The organisation, which meets requests for financial help to buy essential items, is named after a verse in the book of the Acts of the Apostles.
Chapter 4, verses 34-35 says "…there was no needy person among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need."
Requests for help on Acts 435 work in a similar format to the crowd sourcing websites Kickstarter or Indigogo, but rather than people asking for start-up money to launch a book or album or other product or event, the requests come in from people needing money for more daily essentials.
Individuals may visit local churches or charities working with Acts 435, present their situation and need, and then the website sets up a donation request. There are catagories they are sorted into, including helping people with "Unemployment", "Emergency Travel", "Food and Heating", and "Children".
The great advantage of this system is that overheads are minimal and a hundred per cent of all money donated to an individual requester goes to that requester. The connection between your money and the person in need is direct.
Examples include £100 request for a disabled woman in East Yorkshire who has been unable to visit the council's office to deal with her benefit sanction, £85 for a woman in Streatham Hill in London who needs to buy a new school uniform for her son, and £100 for a woman who needs financial support to enable her to move out of reach of a violent ex-partner.
The 3000th request came from a 21-year-old single mother in Beeston near Nottingham. She has recently moved into a new flat with her 8-month-old, and has no washing facilities. She has requested £100 to buy a new washing machine.
The main patron of the site, John Sentamu, describes how he feels about the work in the following terms. "Acts 435 is a fantastic initiative which puts people who are in need in touch with those that can help.
"It is a very simple idea but a very exciting one! I am proud that the Church is taking practical steps to help those facing practical difficulties."
Other supporters include Nicky Gumbel, Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton Church, who is quoted on the website as saying, "Donors have the assurance that every penny of what they give will go directly to the individual they have chosen to help."