Helping Homeless Women - NYC
The FAQ below is still (mostly) accurate but, as of July 1, there will be changes, e.g.
We have now officially entered the dark heart of a NYC summer: withering heat, stifling humidity, and…well, you probably know the rest. This is the third summer I’ve been doing this project and it just keeps getting harder. So, combining the ugly reality of the summer weather with the sad reality of diminishing donations, I have a plan.
I’m going to shift, slowly, to focusing more on giving out gift cards to discount stores, fast food restaurants, and coffee shops. For starters, this gives the women I help a chance to get indoors. They can linger in an air-conditioned location and be treated like a customer and not a nuisance. For me, this plan allows me to carry far fewer supplies. Too often, I lug 25 or 30 pounds of stuff to Manhattan and if I don’t find all the regulars I expect to find, I carry it back home. This is how I injured my foot last year and I cannot do that again.
Carrying around a bunch of gift cards gives me the ability to navigate the city more swiftly and easily. Also, I will have the cards with me even when I'm out to train a client or have a social meet-up.
I still have a TON of socks and menstrual products so I will continue to give them out, of course. In addition, if you check out my wishlist ( http://amzn.to/2ztEWrG), you’ll see it’s been whittled down to two more essentials: underwear and wet wipes. This way, I can give out gift cards all the time and underwear-socks-wipes-menstrual products most of the time. It feels like the only way I can get through the summer on a lower budget in a way that still helps the women but does not turn me into a martyr.
Translation: Your much-needed monetary donations will go towards purchasing gift cards. Your much-needed material donations should be limited to the 2 items on my wish list. Thanks for ALL your support over the years. Your ongoing contributions will enable to keep an adapted version of this crucial project going as we near the three-year anniversary in October! <3
Frequently Asked Questions:
What have you given out?
Here’s a sampling: food (way too many examples to list - please ask me for specifics), water, juice, pads, tampons, wet wipes, soap, hand sanitizer, moisturizer, combs, brushes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, make-up, nail polish, perfume, jewelry, towels, nail clippers, water bottles and thermos, hair ties and clips, mirrors, deodorant, sewing kits, chapstick, sunscreen, band-aids, ACE bandages, hoodies, jackets, coats, sweatshirts, thermals, shirts, socks, underwear, tank tops, shoes, boots, pants, shorts, skirts, dresses, hats, bandannas, scarves, gloves, hand warmers, toe warmers, pocketbooks, tote bags, backpacks, purses, fanny packs, sketch pads, art supplies, pens, notebooks, journals, cortisone cream, nose spray, blankets, books, magazines, newspapers, Q tips, earplugs, sleep masks, umbrellas, rain ponchos, cat food, dog food, pet toys and supplies. Also: smiles, friendship, respect, trust, reliability, consistency, compassion, hugs, non-judgmental listening, conversation, companionship, validation, and more.
Do you give out money?
No. Sure, if some homeless women will only accept some coins or a couple of bills in their cup, I’ll do that. Otherwise, I focus on handing out the direct relief supplies listed above. As I get to know each woman better, I can be more targeted and specific in my giving.
Can I make material donations?
Yes, please! At least half of the donations so far have been in material form. But please note: I am a one-man operation and must carefully gauge how to best utilize my time and energy. Therefore, I will request that you drop off any large donations and otherwise meet me in a mutually agreeable location. For an idea of what I accept, read the list above or just reach out to me and ask! Update: Use my wishlist only: http://amzn.to/2ztEWrG
Do you use all the donated money to buy supplies?
Yes. The only money that is allocated elsewhere is what I use for a monthly unlimited Metrocard so I can cover all the ground I do to accomplish this work.
Why help homeless women?
I invite you to watch this two-minute video: https://www.ny1.com/nyc/queens/news/2017/02/17/queens-person-of-the-week-helps-homeless-women
Thank you in advance for your donations and for spreading the word. This is a collective project so let's team up to offer some temporary relief for women in need.
Equally as frightful is the dramatic drop in donations here. Can a few of you step up (any amount welcome) to help shift the momentum?
Thanks in advance… <3
A third thank you to my older sister for kicking in with 5 (!) gift cards of $20 each (!) for Target. The women were SO happy to receive them. As I’ve been saying and requesting, gift cards are the future of this project so PLEASE send more monetary contributions ASAP and/or contact me for an address to which you can mail me gift cards for places like Starbuck’s, McDonald’s, Burger King, Duane Reade, Dunkin Donuts, etc.
To repeat: I’m not too proud to beg and yes, I am begging now for summer support to keep things going and flowing. Thank you in advance… <3
Therefore, as The Temptations once sang: I ain’t too proud to beg.
PLEASE make July a strong month - starting today. Every donation - of any size - helps. And please, PLEASE tell others about this work and help broaden my donor base. Thanks…
The snack pack you recently added to your wish list, Amazon wont deliver to the wish list address. You may want to swap it out for something else.
Not sure how you can ramp up donations. Mindset out there is if you want to help the homeless that donations should go directly to organizations whose work is to help on a higher level the needs of the homeless. With that though comes overhead and salaries which I am not a fan of. I try to support on a small scale and pocketbook, non-profit groups and persons like yourself who give service to homeless persons both here in Detroit and NYC who aren't working with overhead or salaries taking a chunk out of donations. If you can connect with a local group or groups to hold a fundraiser for your work either monetary or for in kind donations??
You are such a blessing to your homeless friends. Did not realize there was homeless women in NYC. On all my visits there I've only been aware of homeless men on the streets and in subways. I've managed to tick off quite a few native NYers when I visit because I like to walk slow and take in the sights, sounds and vibe when I am there. My daughter who lives there keeps reminding me that I have to walk faster or risk being mowed over. Definitely a very fast paced place.