Helping Homeless Women - NYC

$14,500 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 331 people in 23 months
The goal of this project is fundamental: I'm raising money to buy supplies I can hand out in person to homeless women in NYC.

***

Frequently Asked Questions:

What do you give 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!

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 each day.

Why help homeless women?

I invite you to watch this 4-minute video .

***

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.
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Next month marks two years for this project yet, I'm still encountering new situations on each and every outing. Today, as I stood talking to one of my regulars, she suddenly yelled at someone: "Please don't take my photo!"

I turned to see a middle-aged female tourist desperately trying to look like she was doing something with her camera that wasn't aiming it at a vulnerable woman. The tourist appeared to be in a near-panic as she pretended to be lost.

Pro tip: If you don't wanna get busted being an asshole, don't be an asshole.

Imagine if that tourist had instead given some money to the homeless woman and engaged her in conversation. Call me crazy but I'd guess it'd be a more meaningful experience than posting a sneaky, creepy vacation photo on your Instragram.
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The stars aligned in terms of weather today. I got a few hours of 70 degrees and no rain to have a super productive outing! Once this rainy spell is over, I expect an uptick in effectiveness for the rest of September.

Your help is very much needed and truly appreciated.

P.S. Don’t forget the Amazon wishlist: http://amzn.to/2ztEWrG
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The weather has finally cooled off a bit! (insert huge sigh of relief here) Of course, this means some daily relief for the women I help. They’ve endured a hellish NYC summer and truly deserve this break.

As for me, I look forward to navigating subway platforms with temperatures of less than 100 degrees. And I’m diligently working to rehab my hurt foot. Some slow improvement there. This all adds up to me staying the course with this project this fall - with your ongoing help, of course.

For now, however, I’ll bask in the glow of intense gratitude for the end of an intolerable heat wave.
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All throughout today's outing, I maintained a sense of gratitude for a very rare non-humid day - especially with another NYC heat wave hitting town on Monday. :(

However, I felt the most gratitude for being in the right place at the right time to deliver the confidence boost one of my regulars so desperately needed. After waves of mocking passersby, she was dejected and talking about them being "right" about her - how maybe she wasn't doing enough to help herself and how she deserved such cruel commentary for not getting off the streets yet.

I reminded her that meanness and passive-aggression are never "right." Those folks are entitled to their opinions but have no right to dump them on her. I also praised her for being open to introspection about what tactics she's using to regain control of her life. But mostly, I made sure she was fully aware how amazing she is. How resilient and resourceful. How generous and open she remains, despite her current and dire situation. How much she's taught me in the time I've known her.

She expressed this concern: "Sometimes I wonder why I work so hard to get my life back to normal if that means once again being part of such a mean and ugly society."

"You may not accept it yet," I replied, "but I know change is coming for you. I already look forward to seeing you how you live in this world having endured such misfortune - misfortune that is no fault of your own! You will never turn into the uncaring people who kick someone when they're down. You will have more empathy than ever before and have so much to teach those lucky enough to be in your life. I can't imagine what you feel like right now but I *can* already imagine what a leader you will soon be. I know it."

She thanked me for what she sarcastically called "the pep talk" and I could see some hint of peace settle into her eyes. The road ahead is still long and rocky for her but I am so damn grateful to play even a small role in helping her along.

So, please, don't ever pass up the opportunity to pick someone up when life floors them. They don't need a judge in moments like that. They just need a friend.
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Read a Previous Update
Julie Merriman Chickering
26 days ago

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.

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Mary St Anczyk
4 months ago

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??

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Mary Stanzk
18 months ago

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.

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$14,500 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 331 people in 23 months
Created October 16, 2016
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JM
$100
Jean Merritt
7 days ago

In memory of the true love of my life - Mick McMaster. RIP my wonderful friend.

$24
Anonymous
1 month ago
Julie Merriman Chickering
26 days ago

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.

+ Read More
Mary St Anczyk
4 months ago

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??

+ Read More
Mary Stanzk
18 months ago

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.

+ Read More
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