A common refrain that Real Change vendors hear as they work is, “Get a real job.”
Selling the Real Change newspaper is a real job.
Over 600 people each year find meaningful work and community here. It’s one of the lowest-barrier work opportunities in Seattle, and it’s available for anyone who needs it.
And you help make this opportunity accessible.
This year, we are gathering (virtually) to celebrate 27 years of Real Change and the real work that vendors, activists and journalists provide for our community.
From September 13-17, please join us to celebrate. Each day of the week, we’ll share videos of changemakers, activists, vendors, journalists and other inspiring members of our community. There will be chances to win prizes, and lots of fun. A full calendar of the week’s festivities can be found below.
This annual celebration is also an important fundraiser for Real Change. We have an ambitious but critical goal to raise $140,000 to power our programs and make this real work opportunity possible. We still have $121,757 left to raise, and every gift makes a difference.
This is the best time to give. Right now, when you give $250 or more, your gift will be DOUBLED by a generous matching fund from our friends at the Lucky 7 Foundation, and you’ll receive a Real Change t-shirt, pictured below, while supplies last.
Our Vendor Program responds to a clear and proven need for opportunity in Seattle. In the last Point-In-Time count, job loss was cited as the #1 reason that people were experiencing homelessness. So many people turn to Real Change as a source of steady income, a place to seek stability or a stepping stone to other opportunities.
The newspaper is available for anyone to sell. It’s a way to cover your bases between seasonal labor. It helps others make ends meet on top of disability benefits.
When you make a gift to Real Change today, you are opening the door to a second chance for vendors like Ramon.
In 2008, Ramon woke up on the sidewalk. He had lost his apartment and his job.
“I was so alone. I had the trees. The earth. The birds. And that was all I had to rely on. To be so isolated.”
He picked himself up and started walking down the street. All he could think about was wanting a cup of coffee to clear his head. About two blocks later, he saw a group of people standing on the sidewalk, drinking coffee and talking.
It was a group of Real Change staff and vendors. They welcomed him in. Now, 13 years later, Ramon shows new vendors the ropes and still loves the coffee in the Vendor Center.
“All I wanted was a cup of coffee to get my thoughts together, but they invited me in. And that’s how I got started. It was pretty terrific.”
Low-barrier work is a critical need in Seattle. For people like Ramon, who are seeking stability and connection, the Vendor Center offers an opportunity that can’t be found anywhere else.
Grassroots donations from individuals like you make this opportunity possible. And when you make your gift today, it could go twice as far, thanks to the matching fund.
For Ramon and many others, the healing process begins with finding a place to belong. A place that accepts you as you are. A community to be a part of.
Ramon is in housing now, and you can find him and his pup Cachae at the Rite Aid in Lake City — their usual spot for selling the newspaper.
“If I could say something to all my customers, I would say thank you. That’s one thing about Real Change. Kindness.”
For Ramon, this is his real job, because he has built a community here. Because he earns a reliable income. Because he works hard at it, and it shows.
“If Real Change wasn’t here, I don’t know what I’d do,” Ramon shared.
Please join us to celebrate 27 years of meaningful work opportunity and caring community. If you are in a place to make a donation, please support our work at a level that works for you.
Thank you for believing in this work — this hope for our shared future. Thank you for believing in opportunity and second chances. Thank you for being the community that Ramon, and I, count on.
Read more of the Sept. 8-14, 2021 issue.