Been wondering about out boarded up windows? WE ARE STILL OPEN despite 3 attempted break-ins last month resulting in thousands of dollars of damage and a stolen jar of money that contained donations for the houseless.
Yes, that's right: not only did the thief take money and cause damage to a small local business but also took it a heart-wrenching step further and stole the money that we had been collecting from the Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality. This organization is a bright light for many houseless individuals who have pretty bleak situations. I heard about RISE from a wonderful customer, Rebekah Stetson, who educated me on the plight of the houseless and the poverty trap that they find themselves in.
Side note: You may be saying, “Houseless…not homeless?” Well, the story I heard that made me switch my verbiage was this: A houseless man—the first to receive long-term housing through RISE—gently objected to the word homeless stating, “I am houseless, not homeless. That is my home,” as he pointed to his wife. Cue my tears and my current efforts to change my vocabulary
Anyhow, as disheartened as I am by the extra unforeseen expenditures to repair the damage and the lack of natural light in my shop, the worst part was really the feeling of violation and a loss of sense of faith in humanity. You see, I began to fundraise for RISE after the election because I needed to know that even if I couldn't make a difference on a nation-wide level, at least I could make one in my community. Little did I know that fundraising is HARD! I had (and still have) a lofty long-term goal of $23,000—the number they need to really get their Living Room project off the ground. Knowing it may take a lifetime to collect this much--one dollar bill at a time--I kept at it and put a jar out on my counter where people could put their spare change, and it added up! I would periodically look up at that jar, and amidst the crap swirling around on Facebook and on the news, I would see dollar bills that shone like symbols of hope to me. Every bill was a thoughtful person who cared, and I got a lot of comfort from that.
So when that jar was stolen during one of the break-ins, it really felt like a dagger through the heart. In an attempt to vent some frustration, I put out a Facebook post and was delightfully surprised not only at the messages of concern and good wishes but even more so of the people who actually stepped up and took action. Many shares, including a timely one by one of my favorite people on this planet, Oliver X, led to the spread of the news and quite a few people found themselves at my fundraiser page where we quickly refilled the jar. As of now, we have refilled it more than ten times over and a handful of people have single-handedly matched what was in that jar. Many thanks to Andrea J. Black, Daniel McClure of IspMint, and Mista Rehard and her employer, Microsoft, for matching that donation.
A temporarily boarded up storefront is no fun, but I didn’t like those cheap windows anyway. This ended up being the shove I needed to get new ones that will let my window displays shine bright. And RISE got a great boost in donations that I couldn’t have gotten with just my little jar. Maybe even in seemingly crappy situations, there really is a silver lining.
Want to help out? Stop by the shop to give us a little moral support or consider donating to RISE either through their website or at The Nest!