Meet the Need: Willie & Work

Update 3/1: Thrilled to announce that we have exceeded our goal of $200 (ended at $250). THANK YOU for your generosity to Willie. We will share a picture of his new steel-toe work boots when they come in. (We got to purchase the bus pass for him last week!) Excess funds will help us meet other people's needs. Thank you!!

Our friend Willie moved into his apartment this month after 10+ years on the streets. When we met him years ago, he was working at Jimmy John's as a delivery person. He rode his bike back and forth to work and delivered sandwiches from his bicycle.

Willie is the first to help us when we have a need, like helping us set up for Street-Side Salon on Saturdays in the Spring and Fall. He is there before we arrive and stays with us until everything is cleaned up. We wanted to share Willie's story—and need—with you. So we asked him a few questions . . .

HOW DID YOU BECOME HOMELESS?

9/11 hit and they closed down the company I worked for. [Our manager] laid us off and I was [living] in an apartment. The temp jobs I got were paying minimum wage and not turning into permanent positions. It was like spinning my wheels. So to take the stress off of me, I moved into the shelter.

WHY DID YOU STAY SO MANY YEARS AT THE SHELTER?

When I got to the shelter, it opened my eyes to how many people needed help. I got to help others there. That was a pleasure right there, helping other folks. It's a joy to me.

HOW DO YOU HELP OTHERS?

Well, I started using my money to help others. As you can see there's a big need out there. It feels good to help. I don't smoke [cigarettes], but I will give somebody fifty cents or a dollar here and there. People don't have much. I let them know, "Don't make it a habit, but if you need something, feel free to come to me."

Through our first Advocacy Group meeting last month, one of our advocates recently hired Willie to work. We want to help Willie get the things he needs for his new construction job. They are:

  • Work boots for job-site safety;
  • A month-long bus pass so he can get to and from his job this month before he's paid.

We're looking to raise a total of $200. You can give a tax-deductible gift here: www.thehumanimpact.org/give and select "Meet the Need" from the dropdown menu.

Thank you for caring about Willie. He is a remarkable man and we're honored to bring you his need. We'll update you as we meet our goal.