30 Donor Stories – Urgent Need; Simple Dignity

November 18, 2016

Sometimes an opportunity to help others is both immediate and direct. It is responding to an urgent need with compassion and action.

“For me, social media is a great way to understand how other people live, it keeps me aware, offers a diversity of experience. I’m able to use it to connect my friends and family to these stories as well,” comments Tallulah, a donor who connects with Street Health through Facebook and Twitter. “Recently Street Health posted a video documenting how women who are living on the street -struggling to get enough money to eat; washing themselves in public restrooms – manage during their monthly periods. When I saw that video on your Facebook page, I took the time to watch it and it really hit a nerve.”

Tallulah’s response to this heartbreaking video was immediate. She contacted Street Health, went online and arranged for a four month supply of tampons to be delivered to Street Health the next business day. “Homelessness is a complex issue and there are many times when it’s best to leave the decisions and responses to those who are working on the issue every day. As an individual, I certainly connect regularly with elected officials to express my views and let them know the importance and need for efforts like harm reduction and safe injection sights. I also volunteer my time to support youth empowerment and esteem building because I know this is a way to ensure people can make the best possible choices. When it comes to basic supplies, however, I know how I can offer support and encourage others to do so as well. In-kind donations are a great way to provide obvious day-to-day necessities; Street Health’s experts can then use the funds they raise to target more complex areas of their outreach.”

Terry Peters has been working at Street Health since 2009 and manages Street Health’s social media presence. “I’m always looking for stories that uncover the realities of life on the street. Raising public awareness of these challenges will hopefully reduce the stigma that creates barriers,” he states. “Many Street Health clients have urgent needs and limited options. Their needs may be as complex as an addiction or as basic as requiring a pair of clean socks. Roughly 120 people come to see us each day looking for supplies that will keep them warm, clean and healthy. Donor support allows us to help people who might otherwise be forced to choose between buying a meal and buying tampons.  We can then build on this initial connection and refer them to the other programs and services we offer, opening up options they hadn’t seen. Being able to address clients’ immediate needs, helps to restore a sense of personal worth and preserves simple human dignity.”

“It can be so easy to take things for granted and not realize the reality of daily life for people who are marginalized through systemic barriers like poverty,” notes Tallulah. “No matter what, no woman should lack basic hygiene. This was a donation that I knew would help people right away. It is another way I can ensure I’m not turning a blind eye to what is going on and help provide support for urgent needs.”

Street Health thanks all of our donors for their donations of supplies and financial support that enable us to continue meeting our clients’ most urgent needs, every day of the month.

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Street Health staff: on behalf of our clients, Thank You.