By Douglas Knight
Do you ever stop and think of the power that resides inside that currency folded up in your wallet or stuck in your purse? You know, that piece of paper with that Washington guy’s face on it? It’s amazing what we go through every single day to acquire, and spend, that piece of paper, that dollar bill.
When you think about the power of money, your mind might travel to the top of the “financial food chain,” the government, banks and those Wall Street firms who trade upon all those pieces of paper, and who gather more and more of them into their own bank accounts.
Well, allow me to make you think another way, a more immediate way, and see the true power of the dollar. Economic power in the real world. Right here. Right now.
It’s in your hand.
This paper also holds economic power. Our vendors are members of our community who too often are left out of the conversation about how we shape our society. They are not in the conversation because they lack access to resources, permanence in residence. They face many barriers. But let me also ask you to consider the economics of this. One of our vendors creates a transaction with you for this paper and receives the suggested $1 donation – economics take hold. Profit is made, and that money is put into immediate use, re-shaping a life. Perhaps these funds allow for a coat, or some new shoes. The dollar is ready to put food on the table, or support a family struggling with the everyday life on the street. Savings necessary for a rental place start to accrue. A dollar might be a quick soft drink break for you during the work day – but to our vendors, it can have a more lasting impact.
Remember: the vendor pays 35 cents for a copy, money used to help cover the cost of producing this paper. Then the money you pay the vendor stays completely with the vendor. None of that money comes back to Street Sense. The profit of that sale is for the vendor alone. That means that we as an organization are also looking for dollars – to allow our own economic impact to continue, and to expand our ability to help more and more of the members of our homeless community to feel the economic power of the dollar.
It only takes a couple of those greenbacks to get that economic impact going. Pass a hat, encourage co-workers to match a donation. Ask your favorite restaurant or bar to offer up a night where a percentage of the house profit that night will be a donation to Street Sense.
Split the pot of your NCAA College Basketball Tournament pool with us (yes, we know you have a pool, it’s OK) Those little things turn into big things (remember that “We Can Do Big Things” I talked about in a recent column?), and those allow for economic impact to happen.
I know you can help. I bet you a dollar you can find a great way to support our work here at Street Sense. Any takers?