Hi there, everyone!
I hope you all have been having a great week! It’s been super chilly around here, and I can’t wait for the warmer temperatures to start settling in, especially now that I’ve started running again. Today, I had to wear three layers of clothes to run outside!
After a tiring track practice last week, I took the metro to downtown D.C. and came across a vendor selling Street Sense Media, a newspaper written by the homeless in D.C.
As I picked up a copy, I was reminded of how much I love reading this newspaper. It compelled me to share with you an easy and fun way to support the homeless in your area through reading their street papers. Today, I happened to just buy the latest issue!
I hope that you all finish reading this post feeling energized to investigate how you can aid the homeless in a simple and enriching way. Let’s get to it! 🙂
Behind the Newspaper
Walking through the city for doctor appointments, I came across this paper last summer. A man was distributing these newspapers at street corner, hollering, “Free newspapers! Support the homeless!” Taking one, I was curious to find out what this paper was and how it works.
The papers are incredibly insightful, especially about topics like homelessness and social injustices, often written by the vendors themselves. Hearing about local D.C news, like these often overlooked subjects, gives me the chance to learn a little bit more about these problems while offering ways to contribute towards their solution. The newspaper is written by the homeless and also features volunteer journalists and contributors, as well.
When I first sat down at home to read this paper, I realized that the desired donation for the vendors was $2. Feeling bad at the start of reading the newspaper, I felt even worse after I had finished it. The articles and information inside these newspaper were invaluable and so interesting to read, and I wished I had paid for their work (By the way, Street Sense has an app where you can pay vendors, more info right below! 🙂 ). Since then, I’ve always enjoyed picking up a copy of the latest issue. The vendors are always so cheerful and proud of their work, smiling at those that walk by and wishing everyone a great day.
Last week, I picked up a new copy of the Street Sense newspaper. Here’s a quote that stood out to me the most:
“Ask any homeless individual in D.C. why they should avoid the shelters, and the answers will be the same: theft, unsanitary conditions, a lack of privacy and dehumanizing rules that limit their personal freedom.” ~Patrick Geiger, Street Sense Media
In addition to the bigger articles and front page coverage, the artwork, photography, and prose written by the homeless vendors bring a very raw and human aspect to the paper, always forcing me to think more about how I could be helping this community.
In a recent issue of Street Sense Media, a vendor wrote a short article about how helpful it would be for people to warn him about any upcoming winter storms. He talked about how the homeless only get told about the weather if the temperatures fall under 32 degrees or if it goes above 95 degrees. Little suggestions like these not only humble me but also demonstrate the lack of attention being offered to some of the most vulnerable people of society. While these melancholic topics arise throughout the paper, stories of success always come out, as well, and remind me of the importance of newspapers like these. The testimonials are so uplifting!
Every copy that I’ve picked up from this newspaper has been eye-opening and very fascinating to read. For example, last summer, I read an article that taught me about the D.C. budget and how much of it goes towards the homeless. It showed me that if the city were to donate just 1% of its money towards solving homelessness, almost all of the funding necessary to cover this problem would be satisfied. These articles have really caused me to consider writing letters to the local government. Every time I finish reading these newspaper, there’s always a feeling of hope and awareness that overcomes me.
Support Your Local Paper!
Throughout my time reading the paper, I wondered where else other papers like this were being made. A lot of the vendors wrote in the newspaper that this program has changed their life and given them the opportunity to find a job, have a steady income, and find a home for themselves. After some research, I found out that Street Sense Media is apart of the International Network of Street Papers (INSP).
The INSP has locations all over the world. Make sure to check out their website and find a local street paper near you. You can subscribe to a newspaper, or you can buy a copy off of local vendors.
Street Sense Media in D.C.
Find a copy of Street Sense Media along the streets in D.C. I have found some vendors at DuPont Circle and Metro Center. A lot of times, the vendors hang around metro stations and sell them there.
In addition to producing papers, this company also hosts a lot of events such as movie viewing, discussions, artwork displays, and other ways to get involved with the homeless community. If you subscribe to their website, they’ll send you a monthly update. I’ve been a subscriber for about a year, and I love getting their monthly newspaper. Recently, they did a profile on every vendor, and I treasured the ability to know more about the lives and dreams of vendors that I pass by everyday.
If You Want a Paper But You’re Out of Cash…
Still no problem to buy a paper! You can download the Street Sense Media App (free download!) and can find the vendor who sold you the paper. Then, you can donate your desired amount of money.
Thank you for reading this post! I hope that you are ready to search for your local paper if you haven’t already done so! Once again, check out the International Network of Street Papers for more information.
I hope you all also are doing well and enjoying the season wherever you are. Have a fabulous week and enjoy the weather!
Quote of the post:
“Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being.” ~Kevin Kruse
P. S. I would like to dedicate this post to two Street Sense vendors! First, to James, who sold me a paper today and was so kind to me! Thank you for making my day 🙂 In addition, I would also like to dedicate this post to one of the first vendors that sold me a paper: Melody Byrd. She shared her dream of having stable housing, food, and transportation in an earlier edition of Street Sense last summer. It was such a moving and memorable article. A big thank you to James and Melody!