What are the chances that I choose a guy named Reed (or Read as today’s recipient spells his name) to receive my $10? It appears to be 1/280!
It was a beautiful night and I took a walk over to Dupont Circle to see who I would find. On the way over there I saw Garrett shaking his tambourine and singing gospels. He seemed happy to see me and showed me his toothless smile. I told him I had some more clothes for him that Meghan from Pennsylvania and Rachel from Florida had sent. I asked if he was going to be there for a while, because if so, I would go back home and get the clothes and bring them to him. Now you got to understand that Garrett’s track record for being where he says he is going to be is mediocre at best. “Oh, I will definitely be here tonight until 10:00pm,” Garrett told me as I checked my watch. This time he was good to his word and was still there when I got back around 8:00pm.
He seemed very happy to get all the items. Combined Meghan and Rachedl sent him a pair of jeans, a hat, three shirts, two pants, a belt and a sweatshirt – everything was brand new! Meghan and Rachel, you both rock! I’m going to post a video of him receiving the items and singing a special song for Meghan and Rachel on the Year of Giving’s Facebook page later tonight.
I left Garrett and walked over to Dupont Circle. It was a beautiful evening and there were lots of people sitting around the picturesque fountain. The soft sound of tumbling water blanketed the park. I saw Read sitting on a bench thumbing away on his phone.
When I asked if he would accept my $10, he replied, “Yeah, let me just finish sending this message and then we can talk.” He finished and chatted for about 30 minutes or so. “I don’t know what I will do with it,” Read said. “I am lucky to be in a position to not have to worry too much about money.”
Read is a former AmeriCorps member who has been practicing giving for some time. His AmeriCorps service took him to Jacksonville, FL where he worked on securing healthcare coverage for children who came from families who earned slightly above the cut-off to qualify for Medicare. He also told me about some volunteer work he has done with half-way houses.
Originally from northeast Texas, Read completed his Master’s degree in Public Health at Boston University. He has been here in DC for about 18 months. “DC and Jacksonville have some things in common believe it or not,” Read related to me. “Both have strong dichotomies when it comes to the rich and poor.” Furthermore he astutely points out the transient nature of DC, “Nobody’s here long enough to pay attention to the local issues.”
Read is currently working with communities here in DC. One project has to do with a local junior high school baseball team which is underfunded. He plans to volunteer his time in order to help the team stay alive and hopefully grow. “Maybe I’ll use this $10 toward helping them,” he said.
Something Read pointed out about the $10 was interesting. “I hardly ever use paper money,” he says explaining that he prefers to use credit and bank cards. He posed an interesting question. “I wonder how the responses of the people you meet would differ if you direct deposited the money into their accounts instead of giving them cash.” I have never thought about that but Read’s got a point. People would probably use it differently. He assured me that he would not put this $10 in his account, that it would get passed on.
Just a little side note about the pictures I took of Read. While I was shooting the photos, a guy nearby overheard my disgust in not being able to get the correct lighting for the shot. Sven, originally from Sweden, kindly came over and leant me a hand getting my aperture and shutter speed set better to accommodate the dwindling light. Thanks Sven…that’s what it’s all about – helping one another!
By the way, I walked back by where Garrett was supposed to be until 10:00pm a good hour before that time and he was already gone. 🙂