156. Fathers Day

On Fathers Day I ran into a vendor for the Real Change newspaper out of Seattle. I see this vendor often  and buy his paper from him. I ran into him at a local 7-11 while I was buying a coffee and he was stopping in for a soft drink. Real Change is a newspaper that the Homeless sell instead of panhandling.

He told me that the location where he normally sells the paper asked him not to work his spot on Saturday (his best day) since they had a special event and did not want homelessness present during that big event. Anyway, I bought my paper and he said “selling the first one of the day is the hardest, thank you – I sold it before I even got to work.”

Anyway, later on that day, I saw another homeless man wandering across a parking lot a little further away in a large shopping center. He hesitantly started walking then about halfway across stopped. He would look around and unsure of where to go, move a little more in one direction until he was out of sight. I thought about both of these men for a long time.

One has some sort of plan I guess, though low scale and some sort of set up while still homeless. The other is wandering aimlessly. The hesitancy of the latter one of not knowing where he was going showed the need of  aid that this man truly needs. He is  just one of the thousands. Actually, both men are  just a few of many in the homeless plight in our country.

The Real Change newspaper vendor buys his papers for 35 cents apiece then sells them for a dollar donation then gets to keep the difference. The newspaper and its masthead are his sign.  One can only carry so many papers and the 65 cents difference  is not really making a living.  However, he is working  and investing to earn some income. Many people would not invest in themselves so I give him a lot of credit since he has to invest $3.50 to earn $6.50.

At first I was a little annoyed with the business for not allowing the homeless man to work his normal day. But upon reflection, I have to give them a pass on this. They do allow this man to work all the other busy weekends normally. This business has been kind to the homeless and in doing so has acknowledged that this is an issue in the  community . Especially around Seattle, Washington where raids on the homeless are a common occurrence.

The other day someone asked me what they can give the homeless besides money. In hot weather, bottled water is a great item. Clean clothing is great to carry and give a way. Shoes! look at a homeless persons feet, sometimes they have clean looking clothes that have been donated, but their shoes are raggedy. There are so many things needed for the homeless. Community activism and helping plan long term housing for the low income and homeless is also needed. Without shelters and places for the homeless to shelter at, the homeless cannot receive services and find the step up they need to get off the streets to find employment, medical assistance, and other aid. Unfortunately many cities do not want to address this and just think that cattle driving the homeless will do the trick.

Things happen when people make a plan. People get elected, ideas change and projects get done. Homelessness is one of those projects that need to be tackled and a system set up to deal with it soon. In the meantime, a little still goes a long way.



2 Responses to “156. Fathers Day”

  1. June 17, 2008 at 7:00 am

    I give that vendor a lot of credit too, especially because given his low profit margin, it is probably pretty hard to keep some cash to buy papers for the next day. How many do you suppose he sells in a day?

    Every time I see him standing in front of that business he has his arm out with about ten copies extended before him. When I met him before his arrival there, he had about 40 or so papers with him. The paper I believe is published bi-weekly, and he only sells there weekends. It is really a hassle to lug those papers though as I watched him go up the hill as he travels on foot. I imagine he sells about 20 per day or so and I would also guess most of his business are repeat customers that are more donation minded and make sure they have a dollar for him in this day of debit and credit cards.


  2. 2 Wendy Hail
    July 1, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    This just goes to show what kind of country we have become. What happened to the days where we would help one another? And its sad to see that there are so many veterans out there not being helped when a person can walk into any food stamp office wearing designer clothing and driving a high-end vehicle and can receive benefits. Yet the very same people who sacrificed their well-being so that any Joe Schmoe can live for free are kept out of jobs, not given homes and have no where to go. It is a sad sad world we live in. There are many moments that I am proud to be American, and countless others where I hang my head in shame at how we treat the ones that gave us this America.

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