Tagged: Year of Giving

Cold Encounter

In the little more than two months that Anthony and I have been working to help one another – I have gotten to know him much better. I’ve seen his ups and downs, I’ve sat in doctor’s offices with him as he is told devastating news about his health and I have heard some of the pain from his past. But nothing has affected me more than my encounter with him last night.

Like many Americans, I spent Sunday evening watching the 47th contest of the Superbowl. It delivered an exciting game and although I didn’t really have a dog in the fight, I was happy to see Baltimore win. I’m more of a Continue reading

Goodbye to friend Tommy Bennett

“Where I’m at now, I’m at peace with myself.” – Tommy Bennett, 1956-2012

I got a call from Anthony today – he was just checking on how I was doing on my to-do list. It made my day to see him taking his role seriously. We caught up on each others work but then he shared some sad news. Our friend Tommy Bennett passed away last month. I met Tommy through my Year of Giving project and he and Anthony were close as well.

To learn more about Tommy, you can visit the vendor profile that Mariko Hewer did for Street Sense about a month before his death. You can also check out Day 155 of my Year of Giving when I first met Tommy.

It saddens me a great deal to learn of his passing. Tommy was a great guy. He would be the first to tell you that he had some hiccups along the road, but as long as I knew him he was an exemplary individual – warm hearted and walking the straight and narrow.

The Street Sense newspaper will have a special section of their paper that comes out tomorrow that pays tribute to Tommy.

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Tommy and me enjoying some shade near the corner of 13th and G in DC.

Setting out on our journey

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Anthony and me on the first day of the project (photo: Reed Sandridge)

This story begins on February 19th, 2010. I was out of work – I was laid off at the end of September of 2009. The country was spiraling into the deepest depression since the thirties. Anthony was homeless. He sold the Street Sense newspaper to make enough money to get by each month – but not enough to leave his small patch of frozen sidewalk behind and get into an apartment.

Our lives crossed paths that day because of a personal project that I had embarked on. After being unemployed for about two and half months, I did something that most people would consider crazy. I started giving away money every day to a stranger. I wasn’t giving a lot of money away, heck, I didn’t have a lot of money to start with, but I did the math and had just enough money to make it a year (in case I couldn’t land a job) and still have a bit left over to fund a $10 a day project I called the Year of Giving.

The concept was born largely out of inspiration from my mother. She had passed away Continue reading