Sunday, January 3, 2010

Shelter Care

Hi Dani,

When I first read your email, I have to admit that the cynicism that is all too common in today’s society immediately crept up and took control. Then I watched your short video and started to think about what two dollars could actually do for someone in our organization. It is not an easy question. Perhaps it was the difficulty of the question that made me initially dismiss the question. Its almost always easier to be cynical.

I’m glad you asked this as it has made me take some time to think this morning. There are a few ways to look at the value of two dollars

Of course the easy answer is that the power of two dollars is that it is an amount of money that most people could spare to donate to ShelterCare. That said, if each of the 200,000 people in the greater Eugene area donated $2.00 to us we would have a considerable sum of money. From a fundraiser’s point of view, that is the power of $2.00. Don’t worry, I’ve actually thought about this a little more. I won’t keep this response quite so shallow.

For our clients, many who have just about nothing at all, two dollars can be a significant amount of money.

Take for instance the homeless person that needs to get around town to access food drops, a shelter, or services that are available to them. Even for healthy people with vehicles, driving around town to do errands can be a tiring, stressful, and daunting task. Now imagine having no vehicle, being in poor health, perhaps with sores and infections on your feet from years of neglect and inadequate footwear, and with a mental illness that confuses reality. It would be easy for a person in this situation to loose hope and to give up, to not seek the services that may be available to them. Two dollars could cover this person’s bus fare to travel across the city to access much needed services. It could be the difference between good day and a bad day, or even, in some situations, life or death.

Two dollars could buy that same person a pair of socks. Again, this may seem trivial, but one of the articles of clothing in highest demand among the homeless are socks. Bad socks lead to bad feet, especially when you live outside and walk for a living. When you think about it this makes sense. You always hear about coat drives and clothes drives, and people are always eager to give away a coat or donate some out of date T shorts form their closets to the homeless. It makes sense. When you give a coat away it an impressive looking piece of clothing that seems like it should make a difference. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s important for the homeless to have coats, but oftentimes it’s the socks that could make or break them. Socks are probably the last thing that pop into your mind when you hear about a clothing drive. Before I knew what I now know I would have felt cheap tossing a pack of socks into one of the collection bins. The truth is, that for $2.00, you could buy someone the ability to walk.

For homeless families with children, two dollars could allow a child to buy a snack during lunch at school for a few days. Perhaps this seems frivolous, but think about the child for a minute. Likely this youngster is receiving free lunch at school, but we all know there are heavy stigmas attached to this. Kids can be ruthless. By being able to purchase a snack at school during lunch the homeless child can take a step towards feeling “normal”, towards fitting in for the first time, towards being accepted. The empowerment that could come from such an experience could have untold effects on the child’s development.

These are but a few ways that $2.00 could make a difference in the lives of the people that we serve here at ShelterCare.

Thank you for asking that question and pushing me out of my comfort zone this morning. I came really close to taking the easy way out and saying that two bucks really doesn’t make a difference for us. The only favor that I will ask of you is that you disregard to spelling errors and poor grammar in my response! It is after all the height of allergy season. Also, let us know what becomes of this project.

Thank you and good luck.

Brad Bassi

Development Associate


PO Box 23338

Eugene, OR 97402

541 686 1262


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