So, whenever the blog gets in the news (as it has a couple times over the past couple weeks, due to the book publicity), I get a lot of emails from people offering to send me money, or asking why I don’t have a “donate” button.
So here’s the thing: I’m not an e-panhandler. I’ve never had a donation button and never will. I don’t judge those who do panhandle or feel like they need to ask for money. There are a lot of people worse off than me, as I have always said, and they need help more. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a personal decision. But I’m doing OK. Not completely where I want to be yet, but things are looking up and have been for some time and getting steadily better. I have a job I love and a place to stay (which I am grateful for) that is, if somewhat legally tenuous, accommodating and far better than a homeless person staying on the streets or in a vehicle.
I’ve always said, while I and several other “mobile homeless” might be able to bootstrap it, many can’t. They should be first in line for aid.
So please, if you feel compelled to give, give to your favorite homeless charity. Or donate your time as a volunteer to a soup kitchen or shelter. Donate your old clothes, or diapers, or food, or any other number of things which programs for the homeless and poverty-stricken are in desperate need of. If you need a list of homeless organizations, I can let you know some of my favorites – you need only ask.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m one of the co-founders of World Homeless Action Day, which launched last year and had participants and events in over 100 countries. My co-founder Jon Glackin and I do not get paid for this, nor do we request donations made out to the World Homeless Action Movement. Dealing with money makes us both uncomfortable; we prefer to remain transparent and not be able to be accused of misappropriating any funds or using them for ourselves. We’ve both agreed that refusing to accept/handle funds minimizes the likelihood of being falsely accused of fraud, manipulation, or deceit. We’d rather money go directly to those on the street, who need it most.
So there you are; if you want to give, please give directly to the organization/charity of your choice (and I would definitely say to research their business practices and reputation to make sure that you feel you are giving to an organization whose tactics, ethics, and goals you are comfortable with). Or even just buy a homeless person a sandwich if you’re moved to. Every little bit helps. WHAM’s job is to raise awareness and get participants involved all over the globe, to get you thinking of homeless people as REAL PEOPLE, and interested in their faces and stories, which vary with each homeless person.
If you *really really really* feel like you want to “donate” to me, buy a copy of the book or hire me for a public speaking engagement or something, if you’d like. At least then I’ll feel like I’ve given you something in exchange – I’ve put nearly two years of hard work into that book, besides working temp and my 9-5 job. So that way I can feel like I’ve at least earned your generosity. I do NOT want any money or other compensation sent directly to me. Some people think that’s cool, some people call me a dumbass for it and say I should take the money because it could help me, but it’s my own personal feelings about e-panhandling, and has been since the beginning, when I was anonymous. I’m a huge fan of earning my keep.
Thanks for being awesome people and wanting to make a difference. I hope you’re all enjoying your Memorial Day weekend!!! :)