“Give a little. Help a lot.”
This is the message being delivered by Leadership Macon’s Class of 2012.
Before I moved to Athens in 2007, I lived in downtown Macon for almost four years. I saw firsthand the abject poverty some of Macon’s homeless deal with on a daily basis. Many of these people “lived” downtown as well, but their lives were very different from mine and probably yours, too. You see, when I told someone “I live downtown”, I could tell them an address, a building. The homeless contingent in downtown Macon probably didn’t feel quite as “at home” as I did. I saw this every day, yet, regrettably, never really did anything about it. I went about my daily life without giving much thought to how tough people right outside my building really had it.
Every now and then, when one of downtown’s homeless would ask me for money, I would give them whatever pocket change I happened to have on me at that time. Even as I was doing it, I knew giving this person pocket change would encourage future panhandling, and, worse yet, it wouldn’t do very much at all to help their life short-term and certainly not long-term.
As our company has become involved with local, charitable causes, I’ve come to learn just how much can be (and is being) done to help improve the community. Organizations like Macon Outreach work very hard each day to serve the hungry and others in need. They take what may seem like small acts of generosity (donations, volunteerism, etc.) and truly help people with them. Your pocket change that individually might not buy much really adds up when a bunch of people chip in together. One hour of your time being donated for volunteer work might not seem like much, but it turns into a really big deal if you have a motivated team work together to make a collective impact. The point is that only one person might not make a huge difference, but there are a lot of “one persons” out there looking for ways to help. Find a cause you believe in and see how you can make a difference – either individually or with a group. It’s not as hard as you might think.
So, what does this have to do with the Power of Change? Macon has become the latest community to implement donation meters as a sustainable revenue source to collect funds for homeless services while deterring panhandling. The meters installed throughout downtown Macon provide a positive way for locals and visitors alike to give to established, non-profit organizations whose mission is to provide assistance to the local homeless population. Services include emergency shelter, healthy meals for families, job assistance and, ultimately, a way out of poverty. Infinity Network Solutions is title sponsor of the meter at Third Street Park. If you’re looking to start small with a way to help affect change, please visit our meter and make a donation today.