Helping Homeless Women - NYC

$14,126 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 326 people in 22 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.

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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 .

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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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As previously mentioned, G is probably my closest friend among my “regulars.” In the 14 months or so I know her, G has shared some horrific tales from her life (usually about male violence). Today, she told me a story that’s more in the “life under capitalism” vein.

SET-UP: Every weekday, G sits at the busy corner of an affluent midtown block. All around her, construction is buzzing: large, upscale stores and tall, high-end office structures. The building closest to her houses many, many tenants but recently took a big risk. In light of all the changes, they tossed out some smaller companies in the hope of luring in major businesses that would rent full floors. The results so far have been abysmal.

CONTEXT: A few mid-level workers from a variety of companies in this building have befriended G in the past year - sometimes even sitting with her to chat on their breaks. These folks now know me, too, since I’m so often there around that time.

PUNCHLINE: The building owners, needing a scapegoat for entire floors now sitting empty, blamed their failure on local homeless people driving down property values. In particular, they said, it’s the woman who always sits on the corner. That would be G. Since they cannot legally move her, they chose a form of petty, ugly, vindictive revenge. Employees who had previously been seen talking with her were given the firm “suggestion” that they never again interact with G during business hours. All of those employees, fearing for their jobs, agreed to cut off contact with such a real estate-devaluing monster as the tiny woman begging for money by a light post.

For the past few weeks, G was puzzled by absence of her “friends” and even grew concerned about them. She finally ran into one such employee a few blocks away and learned the ugly details. G is now more alone, isolated, lonely, and invisible than ever as former “friends” walk past her without even acknowledging her.

In the past, if given such an ultimatum, I would’ve immediately exposed the building’s cruel policy to the media, spent even more public time with G, and yeah…I would’ve been fired or quit. (In case anyone ever wonders why I’ve reached this point in my life with no money, no assets, no pension, and no resources - here’s a good start.)

At least now, I’ve learned how to channel my outrage into something far more productive. I promised G today that I’d never turn my back on her. If you wanna make your own pledge to support this utterly abandoned woman who is on the street through NO fault of her own, then RIGHT NOW is the perfect time to make a donation.

We can’t bring down capitalism or end poverty or smash patriarchy, but we CAN let G and other women know that we still have compassion and empathy in our hearts and will never let an inhuman system turn us cold. Thanks for listening and thanks even more for making a donation today.
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August has been a daily challenge. The heat and humidity seem to never end and when they take a brief break, it’s only to make room for a terrible storm or downpour. Needless to say, this trend is most unwelcome to the women I help.

Meanwhile, I left Facebook two weeks ago. Donations to this project seem to have left, too. But I will continue to seek new paths toward sustainability. In the meantime, with far less money and with the aforementioned weather challenges and with a painful foot issue, August has also been less productive for me. I find myself with lots of unexpected “extra” time at home, alone. Time to think. Time to deconstruct. Time to give myself permission to have one slightly less laborious month. Time to take stock. Time to regret. Time to plan. Plan new and plan better.

In October, this project is two years old. It feels as if multiple forces are conspiring for me to reinvent it. I’m wide open to such change but I cannot do it alone. I need your help.

Right now, I need your donations to keep my efforts afloat while I learn and plan. In a bigger picture sense, I need you to tell others about my work - tell anyone and everyone who would want to help and has the resources to do so. I will not give up this project but again, I cannot do it alone. Thanks in advance…
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Hello everyone. Well, I’ve been off Facebook for a little more than a week and the early results are in: As expected, I personally don’t miss it but, as feared, donations for this project have completely ceased. Yes, perhaps it’s too soon to draw useful conclusions but in the here and now, it’s catastrophic because I have fewer supplies to give out.

If I had to seek a silver lining of sorts, I have this: Nearly two years of lugging 30+ pounds of stuff up and down subway steps and all around midtown Manhattan has led to my already-chronic foot pain to worsen. On top of that, I’ve developed plantar fasciitis in my left foot. The #1 suggestion for this very painful condition is (wait for it) rest.

Another factor: It’s been one of the most humid summers I can ever remember in NYC. These three factors - no donations, physical pain, shitty weather - add up to me now doing a couple fewer outings per week and consciously carrying fewer supplies each time. This reduces my workload and helps me stretch out the supplies I have.

I am diligently rehabbing my foot. The weather will, of course, shift relatively soon. The donations? That factor is neither inevitable nor based on how hard I work. It’s never been sustainable for me to fund this project solely through non-stop social media pleading. What I need is a broader and more consistent donor base. Here’s how you can help ASAP:

1. Donate now at GoFundMe, turn on notifications for updates, stay tuned in, and become a regular supporter.
2. Commit to a monthly contribution at Patreon. If you’re already a Patreon patron, consider upping your pledge and/or sharing the link with others.
3. Regularly visit my ever-evolving Amazon wishlist and purchase material donations to be sent directly to me.
4. Tell people about my work - especially people with the means to really help and make a difference.

LINKS:

GoFundMe: http://bit.ly/2rKSb39
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/helphomelesswomen
Amazon wishlist: http://amzn.to/2ztEWrG

Thanks! <3
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We don't need special training or any degrees to offer basic help to those in need. It does not require unique gifts or skills. I possess none of the above but here I go, out into a NYC "heat advisory" to do my best in the name of helping a few homeless women.

I'll bring supplies, sunscreen, lots of water, and an abundance of reassurance. That last resource is the easiest and often the most important to give.
I've had homeless women tell me that 200 people can walk past them - ignoring them or sneering at them. But all it takes is a smile and some acknowledgment from one person to cancel out all that negativity.

You are far more powerful than you know (or wish to know). You have the ability to instantly help someone feel less invisible and alone. I challenge you today to use this superpower.
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Read a Previous Update
Mary St Anczyk
2 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
17 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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$14,126 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 326 people in 22 months
Created October 16, 2016
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Mary St Anczyk
2 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
17 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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