April 29, 2014, After talking to the homeless and distributing the signs I made for them I received some feedback. Nic’s feelings with the statistical sign, he was part of a public art piece, in a negative way. Although some people stopped and asked if the statistic was true, in which I wrote the source on the back side, so they could reply, yes…You could tell some of the people I talked to about trying out these news signs were a little apprehensive. The screws were turning in their heads about using them. With the advice and direction of some friends and some additional research, I hope these new signs help. Nic was happy to see the 5 new signs I made and choose one that would work best for him. For the rest of the story and the images of the signs check out the link.
April 26, 2014, week 53 of making and delivering care bags to the homeless of Logan Square, Chicago. As of today 280 care bags full of nutritious snacks, toiletries and assistance information have been delivered. This week I looked for Bud, hoping he would’t be at his usual spot, he wasn’t. I hope he is off the streets or doing something today in taking steps with his family to get off the street. $2123.00 have been raised in the 2nd annual fundraiser for the care bags with 28 days remaining.
I was excited this week to start the process of making new signs for the homeless. My theory is that if a marketing approach was implemented by way of a new, colorful sign they may make more money. The same way the public is negatively familiar the usual, brown, cardboard sign with the black sharpie ink the new sign may provoke a new look and understanding. See the details and some examples of the signs here.
April 19, 2014, week 52 of making and delivering care bags to the homeless of Logan Square, Chicago. As of today 273 care bags full of nutritious snacks, toiletries and assistance information have been delivered. Amazing news this week. Not only does this make the 52nd week of care bags and the 1 year milestone, but I received the most amazing news from Bud. While I was walking up to Bud he yelled my name, Gene!… I have something to tell you! I got closer to him and he tells me, “give me a hug man.” His sister and husband who live in Elmhurst, IL recently saw his video interview we made last fall. She didn’t know he was homeless until that moment. He kept thanking me and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Bud explained to me he would see a couple of his other sisters while he was panhandling and just assumed the rest of the family knew, but that wasn’t the case. No doubt his past of heroin addiction may have caused them to turn a blind eye, but he is clean and has been for quite some time. His sister and her husband are helping him currently with a room and hes spending the night with them tonight and celebrating Easter with them. This is a fresh start for Bud, they will help him get on his feet and out of homelessness. To think of this man seeing some of his family members while panhandling and hoping for some type of interaction from them, waiting but it never comes. The thought of him moving on emotionally from his family only to discover things weren’t as they appeared is almost too much to bear. I couldn’t help but get emotional and hugged him again and told him how happy I was for him, we must have shook hands five times. Its incredible, to think of all the events that could have prevented this from happening. If the care bags were only delivered a couple times, if trust wasn’t established in order to make the video, if the approach was different, this possibly wouldn’t have happened. I’m so happy for Bud, I could burst. See Buds video here. This boost is going to keep me going all year.
Also this week, I’ve switched to paper bags (still donated from Strack and Van Til Grocery, Logan Square) in order to leave a smaller footprint on the environment. The paper bags will be easier to dispose of.
I met a new man today as well, He was panhandling at Kedzie and Belmont and looked to be around 55. He was thrilled to receive a care bag, telling me he wasn’t homeless, just out of work for a long time. He said he’ll be sharing this bag with his family, with his kids. These bags were filled with Easter candy, marshmallow peeps, chocolate bunnies, peanut butter eggs in addition to the usual contents. I wish there was more in the bags for his family, but I’m sure Ill see him again and hopefully hear his story.
April 13, 2014, week 51 of making and delivering care bags to the homeless of Logan Square, Chicago. As of today 268 care bags full of nutritious snacks, toiletries and assistance information have been delivered. The 2nd Annual fundraiser has begun and I’m asking all my friends to please take a moment and make any size donation you’d like. Every bit goes into these bags and every bit helps. I wish I had some magic words to get everyone involved. I’m not an organization, I’m just like you, trying to make myself and the world a little better. I know most of you are like me, you want to find ways to make your corner of the world a better place to live, you want to improve the lives of people you meet, you want to cause much more good than harm. My life has been forever changed from this experience with these care bags and the amazing people that receive them, please help me continue this effort. Make a donation today, don’t wait…