Something beautiful happened at Real Change this week. That’s not unusual, but even after 24 years, I never take these things for granted.
Every day, people step up in extraordinary ways to show that there is still lots of love in this world.
This, in case you’re wondering, is what gets me up in the morning. The stories of unselfish caring and empathy. Of people rising to become their best selves. Stories of gratitude and connection.
These stories remind me that caring is a choice. They remind me that every time we choose empathy, we grow a bit beyond ourselves and connect to the oneness that makes us whole.
Yesterday, a gift came in the mail for $6,320, bringing our spring fund drive total to just over the halfway mark, at $50,649.
If the amount of that check sounds familiar, 6,320 is the number of unsheltered homeless people found during the 2018 point-in-time count. This year, for the first time, the number of unsheltered homeless surpassed the number of those in shelter and transitional housing.
That’s a shameful number. One that we’re working hard to change.
The donation came with a note that I’d like to share.
“Dear Real Change Vendors. The world may be out of tune, but that doesn’t slow you down any.”
Selling Real Change — putting hopelessness and despair aside to embrace possibility and growth — is a courageous choice. Seeing our vendors opt for hope, and finding support in the caring community of our readers, inspires me every day.
It strikes me that, in this broken world, we have choices about where to focus.
There are the dissonant sounds of anger, hatred and despair. And there are the beautiful harmonies of people coming together across the differences that divide us to build a better world.
Every day, thousands of people stop to have a moment with our vendors. In those moments of connection, hearts and minds are changed. Spirits are evolved. Caring is manifested.
All that we do is reader supported. Our vendor program provides opportunity and meaningful work to more than 700 homeless and low-income people every year.
Our award-winning newspaper keeps you up to date on the resistance, and how you can make a difference with your actions.
Our courageous activism gives our vendors a voice and fights for the things they need.
You, our readers, make all of that possible with your generous support.
Your gift of any amount keeps us strong in perilous times. Please support the spring fund drive today, and keep those miracles of everyday kindness coming.
Tim Harris is the Founding Director Real Change and has been active as a poor people’s organizer for more than two decades. Prior to moving to Seattle in 1994, Harris founded street newspaper Spare Change in Boston while working as Executive Director of Boston Jobs with Peace.
Wait, there's more. Check out the full June 27 - July 3 issue.
Real Change is a non-profit organization advocating for economic, social and racial justice. Since 1994 our award-winning weekly newspaper has provided an immediate employment opportunity for people who are homeless and low income. Learn more about Real Change.