Feel Good Friday | Teen Donates Prize- Winning Pizza to Homeless Shelter

Let’s be honest, Friday couldn’t come fast enough amirite?

Well the frickin’ weekend isn’t the only reason to slap a smile on your exhausted face.

Here’s another. Detroit native Hannah Spooner won $500 dollars worth of free Little Caesar’s pizzas through a contest.

Instead of throwing an epic pizza party for friends, family and neighbors, the 19-year-old exercised the art of paying it forward by donating her prize to the local Covenant House Michigan shelter for homeless young kids.

The Huffington Post reports Hannah scoped out a number of charities and orgs before settling on Covenant House.

The shelter’s organizers are more than grateful with her decision.

“Our kids would eat pizza everyday,” Melissa Golpe, the shelter’s PR director told, The Huffington Post. “We have a number of generous people that do really special things for our kids.”

Little Caesar’s did one more thing, the pizza chain threw a free pizza party at the shelter during the shelter’s Total Me Program, where local college kids mentor teens at Covenant House,when they got wind of the story.

 

IYB Woman Crush | Delivering Solutions to Homelessness

12019845_1052753721415801_8454923070254964418_n

Veronika Scott and an Empowerment Plan employee

Happy New Year!!

I’ll spare you the new year, new me mantra (insert eyeroll here) I espoused last year around this time. Or the laundry list of resolutions I’d likely break this week. I’ll approach 2016 with Nike philosophy–just do it. And encourage everyone else to do the same.

Before charging toward your goal like a Kardashian stalking a TMZ camera crew, take some notes on how it’s done from Veronika Scott. She’s the 24-year-old Founder and CEO (yaaaasss, honey!!) of Detroit-based non-profit The Empowerment Plan. The org hires homeless women as seamstresses to make coats that transform into sleeping bags for the homeless.

Veronika’s aha! moment came as a result of a college class assignment (she majored in Industrial Design at College for Creative Studies) to “design something to fill actual needs.” After visiting homeless shelters to gage their needs the slumber coats were born. During the day they serve as a normal winter coat and at night a flap is brought down and can be stepped into up to the knees, then zipped up like a regular ol’ sleeping bag.

The Motor City has a homeless population of 34,642, according to Michigan’s Campaign to End Homelessness. Overall there are over 86,000 people in Michigan without homes and 69 percent are single moms.

Veronika realized her slumber coats were a good start, but not the answer to preventing homelessness. When a woman living in the shelter told her to forfeit the outerwear for some much needed jobs.

Veronika did just that. The Empowerment Plan hires only people living in homeless shelters. And not just as seamstresses they are trained in manufacturing and tech as well. Whatever will help lead them closer to an independent life. The org has it sewed up.

” I believe people can tackle far more than they think they can.” Veronika says.

Thanks to Veronica and all those like her for making the path straighter.

Click here to donate and here to order a coat from the Empowerment Plan.

 

 

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY | Street Cuts

markbustoshaircut

Mark Bustos likes to work on his day off. Although he wouldn’t call it working, but rather connecting with oft-overlooked people. The ones we struggle to make eye contact with or afraid to approach. Mark, a NYC-based hairstylist, walks right up to the homeless and offers a free haircut.

The hair magician got the idea when he took a trip to his motherland–the Philippines–for the first time. He saw how impoverished the people were and wanted to help in some way. Giving young kids a shape-up was one good deed he knew would work.

Back in the States he made it a routine. Sundays (his day off) he roams around the city and delicately provides his services. Karma Tube captured his skillful generosity towards homeless people in South Beach, Florida, check it out below.

Guess this totally trumps me giving my seat to a pregnant lady on the subway…yeah, I think so.

Happy Friday, loves.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY | Homeless Man’s Unexpected Discovery

Second Chance at a New Beginning. John Helsinki unexpectedly lands on his feet. Image Credit: WFTS

Second Chance at a New Beginning. John Helsinki unexpectedly lands on his feet.
Image Credit: WFTS

Imagine living three years in a cardboard box when you unknowingly could afford shelter and food. A homeless man in Florida didn’t have too.

John Helsinki, 62, of Tampa, Florida, discovered he’s been receiving Social Security Benefits in his forgotten bank account for years. Thanks to the assistance of a local cop and homeless shelter worker.

Helsinki wouldn’t disclose the amount of money in his bank to ABC News, but it’s enough to cover the costs of his own apartment and afford food.

The miracle story unfolded when Helsinki’s advocates/guardian angels (the cop, Daniel McDonald and homeless shelter case worker, Charles Inman) helped him replace his lost ID to get him into a shelter.

Welp, they did more than that. McDonald gave him a ride to get a temporary state ID, followed by a birth certificate. Equipped with those identifiers, they marched into the Social Security Office and explained Helsinki used to have benefits.

Helsinki told ABC News that he thought his benefits were cancelled because his debit card was lost, ergo so was access to his bank account.

Not anymore, Officer McDonald escorted him to his old bank to check the status of his account.Voila! Enough money to get back on his feet.

ABC News reports Helsinki is still at the DACCO Community Housing Solutions Center, but will be moved to permanent housing soon.

The miracle story wouldn’t have been possible with McDonald and Inman’s helpful dedication.

“This situation looked really difficult, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to end up,” Inman told ABC News today. “If it failed, it meant we’d put a 62-year-old man on the street, and Officer McDonald and I were not OK with that.”

Kudos to them for helping one of many that are often overlooked everyday.

Yay or Nay? Donations Pour in For Homeless Woman Leaving Kids in Hot Car During Job Interview

shaneshataylor

I’m on the fence with this story. Yes, the woman was wrong to leave her two kids cooped up in a car in 90° weather. Actually, I’ll take it a step further, it was irresponsible.  But, what makes this story so disturbingly a sign of the times is I’m sure the mom weighed the risks of her children possibly suffering heat stroke and dehydration with losing out on a rare chance (in this economy) at a job. How can you possibly flip that coin and come out a winner?

Shanesha Taylor lost big time: her freedom, her two kids (two-year-old boy and six month baby) and likely the job at the insurance company she interviewed for. Yet, gained the sympathy of those people shaking their heads and raising eyebrows at her tragic choice. Global Grind reported New Jerseyans Amanda Brown did more than that; she set up the Shanesha Taylor Fundraiser site because she’s been in the same shoes as the young mom:

“I had a mother and family in general who struggled raising us and had to rely on other resources to provide for us and sometimes made not the greatest choices.”

So far the site has raised $99,436, surpassing a goal of $9,000, going towards Shanesha’s well-being. The young mom has posted bail– thanks to the generosity of a local Arizona church–and will continue keeping tabs on her progress.

Click here to donate and learn more about her story.

Would you donate money to Shanesha considering what she did? Do you think she’s the poster child for the unemployed and homeless problem in this country?