Since around last fall, I have taken up again to giving back to the community by helping people on the streets, but it was not until the last couple of months that I have finally become more regular (and smart) about it. At first I bought the food out of my own pocket, but since I am on a student budget, it may not be feasible in the long run. Therefore, I came up with two ideas to both help offset my spending and also stretch my efforts further so that I could help more people.
Tip 1) Save the Difference
Thankfully, I had my old “extreme-couponing ways” to fall back on to save money. Although this takes a bit of time, I did not mind so much because it’s fun for me, lol, and also because it really does not take much time since I’m not fanatical about it~ More importantly, by using coupons and taking advantage of promotions, sales, etc., mean that I could save money and pass on the saved difference to helping people. Hey, since I would have spent the money anyway, why not pass it along to help others?
How: Online (save.ca, websavers, online retailers, email new-memeber promotions, email lists, etc). Before making purchases, check to see if you can find deals to help save money. Then, you can give the difference to charity or toward other worthy causes.
Tip 2) Find Sponsorships
I am very lucky to have had experiences finding sponsorships from past volunteer/leadership experiences and work, so have developed the “tough skin” to braving companies to ask for their charity. Before, it was to help us impecunious students; now, it’s the truly impecunious homeless wanderers. I was fortunate enough to have Cobs, a generous local bakery, to give me bread to make the sandwiches 🙂 I approached Cobs because they have quality bread. Remembering how I advocate for giving “good” things that I would personally eat myself (my food-version of the Golden Rule), I am very grateful to find that they did indeed provide me with whole wheat and whole grain 🙂
How: Don’t be shy, just contact the companies and ask politely if they would be willing to help 🙂 Introduce yourself and explain your cause. For me, even if they do not ask for proof, I try to give them evidence such as taking pictures and putting them on websites (e.g., like on my blog!) so that they know that I’m authentic~ This also credits them and helps their marketing in a way 🙂
A friend who lives close to the bakery and I made goodies bags to give out to the homeless people downtown. First, we picked up bread from the friendly bakers in the Cobs location (there was a very sweet lady named Nancy). Then, we went back home to make passion fruit/strawberry jam & peanut butter sandwiches, and stuffed McCafe coupons inside each bag. There were a lot of homeless people downtown, so we had no problem finding people who were more than happy to take the sandwiches. We were a bit shy about taking pictures and wanted to be careful about people’s anonymity so the pictures were blurry. I’m hoping next time we could just ask up front and see if people would be open enough to let us take pictures for the sake of spreading awareness so that we would not be so awkard about it 🙂