Do You Want to Start a Resolution?
Every year, I make New Year’s resolutions that last me halfway through the year if I’m lucky: shed the holiday weight, get to the gym consistently, make more money, be a better person and the list goes on. This past January, after reading Bryan Marquard’s touching tribute to Stella May Brown Weaco, one of Boston’s most iconic drifters, I was inspired to tweak my list. In her death, Stella May elicited the kind of eulogies I can only dream of having someday. It seems that everyone was touched by her smile, spunk and eccentricity. I researched a few more of Boston’s notable homeless, namely Spare Change Guy and Back Bay Eddy, and drew up a new list of resolutions: with little or much, I’d always smile. When unplanned circumstances yield distress, I’d use my imagination as a destination recourse and when short on cash, I’d ask for it. Nearly a full 12 months into the year, I can say that—bar asking people for money—I’ve held to my resolutions this year…for the most part. And it feels good. The muscles in my face are starting to wrinkle from smiling so much and when feeling blue, I’ve been around the world and back…in my head.
But while I was patting myself on the back for committing to something and sticking with it, there was a man just outside my office who made a resolution that turned into a lifestyle. Meet Reggie. Reggie is a former delivery driver who resolved to help the displaced after he encountered countless homeless people while making his deliveries. That was 20 years ago. Everyday, rain or shine, Reggie stands outside of the Old South Church tirelessly selling copies of Spare Change News, a production of the Homeless Empowerment Project, as his form of civil service. His cause is dual, to aid the homeless in finding shelter and rehabilitation and to make the Commonwealth community a better place. He’s even written two pieces for the publication giving practical advice on ways to help the homeless (i.e. buy them meals instead of giving them money; refer them to local shelters instead of sleeping on the streets).
So the next time you find yourself at the corner of Dartmouth & Boylston and a jovial man asks you if you care to help the homeless, reach into your pockets and pull out whatever change you have. It’s going to a good place. It’s bettering your community and giving people a second chance. Now that’s a resolution we can all keep!
Posted by Elizabeth