It’s been a rough few months for Real Change vendors, but hard times are always easier when you’ve got friends.
Your support has allowed us to distribute food, hygiene supplies and gift and cash cards while our vendors are out of work.
Your messages to individual vendors and continued volunteer work have told them they are loved and cared for, even when they need to stay home.
Now, we’re asking for your help again. As suspension of street sales has eliminated circulation income from newspaper sales, meeting our $100,000 spring fund drive goal is more critical than ever.
Your gift to the spring drive fuels opportunity, quality reporting, and effective advocacy during these unprecedented times.
Real Change transforms lives. Just ask Addis Michael Jr. Before he came to Real Change, Addis panhandled to feed his addictions.
“I was self-medicating then,” he recalled. “As long as I could peacefully feed my habit, I felt I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”
At first, he said, selling Real Change was just another way to stay high. But before long, Addis wanted a better life for himself and the people he cared about.
“My customers made me feel like I was part of society. Despite the shape I was in, they lifted me up and encouraged me. Real Change showed me that people care. I found that I could escape the drugs.”
Addis found sobriety, housing and a deepened faith in both God and community while selling Real Change.
He believes in a future where we all care for each other as much as people have cared for him.
Since late March, Addis and the rest of our vendors have stayed home and stayed safe. Your support has made that possible.
“When we pull together and stay together,” said Michael, “there is a bright light at the end of this tunnel. This world operates best when we help each other.”
We have much work to do, and the stakes are high.
The coronavirus disproportionately threatens homeless people and communities of color, and recent progress toward adequate shelter and hygiene resources falls dramatically short of the need.
We’re fighting for the basic needs and civil rights of Seattle’s most poor. Your support makes that work possible.
Since Real Change suspended street sales to protect our vendors, we’ve reinvented our work to anticipate their shifting needs, and have:
- Moved our quality reporting online to keep the newspaper coming while street sales are suspended;
- Helped our vendors with unemployment claims, advocacy for stimulus checks and access to health care;
- Facilitated direct vendor payments through Venmo and provided cash and food support through the Vendor Relief Fund; and
- Kept our community safe by handing out masks, gloves and hand sanitizer.
Through it all, our vendors and staff have been overwhelmed by the generosity and caring of the Real Change community. Every gift, large or small, gets us closer to our critical $100,000 goal.
A matching grant from the Lucky 7 Foundation means that gifts of $150 or more will be doubled while funds last.
With your heartfelt support, Real Change will continue to be here long after this crisis has passed. We really are in this together. Thank you for being there.
Read more of the May 20-26, 2020 issue.