Post-Christmas Resolution, Day 359 – Answer: All Of The Above

“A people must have dignity and identity. “

Andrew Goodman, civil rights activist

I bought a newspaper from a homeless man today.

Street Roots Newspaper

Street Roots is a publication sold by homeless people in the Portland area. Each bi-weekly issue sells for $1 with 75 cents going to the seller. After a drug-free orientation, the vendor is given ten free newspapers to sell and a badge. After that, papers can be purchased for 25 cents by the homeless seller. It’s a sustainable model (since 1998) to help provide stability and a reliable source of income to someone without either.

My vendor was sitting outside a coffee shop in downtown Portland, near our destination. He was in a wheel chair holding up a plastic bag filled with newspapers. He was disabled and wore a military surplus coat and sunglasses on a cloudy day. As I gave him a dollar, I asked how things were going. He held his head up and looked me in the eye, saying he was a Vietnam vet. I asked if he was getting enough to eat as I fingered the McDonald’s gift card in my pocket.

“Yeah, the VA takes pretty good care of us. It only took 40 years,” he said with a sarcasm that really didn’t sound bitter. He seemed to be doing ok. I kept my card and we parted ways with a copy of Street Roots, a smile, a handshake, and a ‘Merry Christmas.”

Before we left downtown, I offered to help another man who seemed to be struggling with his wheel chair. Looking down, he said he was ok and mumbled if I could help. I asked him if he was getting enough to eat. He looked down again and shook his head. I gave him the McDonald’s card and we parted with a seasons greetings. The man put his head back down.

After returning home from downtown, I opened up the paper. The front cover had pictures of 31 people and below each of them was written one word.

Hope, Pride, Money, Freedom, Purpose, Living, Fun, Opportunity, Self-Esteem,  and so on.

Those were the answers to the question at the top of the page,

“Q. In a word, what does Street Roots mean to you?”

At the end of the page was the answer,

“A. All of the above.”

Perhaps Street Roots is indeed … all of the above.

Bought a copy of Street Roots from a disabled vet, fed another man. Made grilled cheese & tomato soup for lunch and lasagna for dinner to feed my family and another.   

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About Eric Winger

Our perception of time is key to how we use our time. The most fundamental way to change that perception is to give our time. This opens us up to new opportunities and ideas from which we can build to really make a difference. ... Yes, we *do* have time to make a difference!
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2 Responses to Post-Christmas Resolution, Day 359 – Answer: All Of The Above

  1. Natalie says:

    We have a similar paper here — Streetwise. I always get mine from a guy named Ken who sells them outside the post office. He always has a smile and a story to tell. Bless you for all the giving you do, Eric.

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