Over the past year, community members like you have rallied to support Real Change and make our work possible during even the darkest times. Thank you.
In the face of uncertainty, Real Change has built a supportive network to meet each other’s needs together. Vendors, including Roy Fighting Bear, have been able to rely on the open doors of the Real Change Vendor Center even as the city shuttered. From our food and hygiene center to weekly check-in calls to hosting the mobile medical van and so much more, we continue to respond to challenging times with love. Your generosity powers this work.
So, we’re asking for your continued support of Real Change. We are working to raise $200,000 before midnight on December 31. Please join us with your gift of any size.
Roy, who is featured on the back cover of this issue, is no stranger to hardship. But he doesn’t lose sight of hope.
“It’s a tough life I’m living. Street life is tough,” he reports. But work — and his customers — keep him connected. “My customers stop by to tell me it’s going to be okay. It makes a difference.”
Roy grew up in the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation and has been in Seattle on and off for years. He started working as a Real Change vendor in January after being released from prison.
“This is the longest I’ve been out. And I am committed to making it work. I’m finding my stride.”
A criminal record can be a barrier to finding work and housing. It’s one of the many reasons Real Change is available to anyone who needs it.
Low-barrier work opportunity means meeting people where they are. We don’t require any name or ID, and anyone can start working after a short orientation. For many of our vendors, setting your own hours and being your own boss is a big draw.
For Roy, one of the biggest draws to Real Change is the community. The Vendor Center, located in Pioneer Square, is an open and welcoming place for all.
Roy relies on the grocery and hygiene program for basics, like meals, socks and underwear. “This has been a lifeline. I’m not alone here.”
Each year, the Winter Fund Drive helps us secure the critical funds that keep our programs available to our community. Please join us to reach our goal of $200,000 by December 31 at midnight.
During the pandemic, paper sales have dropped significantly even as we have added new programs, and it is more important than ever to hit our fundraising targets. Grassroots, individual donors like you make up more than 50% of our contributed income. Your gift goes far here.
Readers and supporters like you make Real Change possible, and we’re asking for your help today. We need to raise $200,000 now to keep our programs thriving. This is an ambitious but critical goal as we work to keep our doors open to vendors and strengthen and connect community members.
When you give today, your support powers Real Change for hundreds of vendors like Roy. In 2020 — an extremely hard year for everyone — Roy built up a customer base that looks out for him. He’s found a system that works for him. And he believes in the newspaper.
“We need Real Change because it’s the paper that talks about Seattle. That’s why it has to exist. To let people know what’s going on in Seattle.”
Roy looks forward to seeing the new issue on Wednesdays and chatting with his customers about the latest articles and artwork.
“When somebody buys the paper, I say thank you. It makes me feel counted. Like I’m seen. Out of respect.”
Roy comes into the Vendor Center most days, to check in with his friends here and stock up on papers. For Roy, and many of our nearly 600 vendors, this place is more than a vital and accessible work opportunity. It’s a place to belong, without judgment. It’s a place for hope and community.
As we go into the holiday season — the season of giving — I ask you to consider making a gift in honor of Roy, or your local vendor, to help reach our goal.
Thank you for being a vital part of Real Change.
Read more of the Nov. 11-17, 2020 issue.