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The Spare Changer

Hi.  I’m Walking Bob, and writing this blog has put me in touch with many people I might have never met.  In her latest Letter from the Editor, DLM Editor, Cary Arnold, noted that the most read and commented on blog entry during 2010 in Davis Life Magazine was my “Got Compassion.”  That entry was based on a conscious encounter with David Breaux, the man standing on the southeast corner of 3rd and C with a notebook, asking people to write down their definition of compassion.  I’m sorry to admit that prior to talking with David, I had avoided that corner when I saw him there.  Now that I know David, I am so grateful that I did make that connection to meet a man I have come to admire.  You’ll hear more about Compassion: The Book, soon.

Walking across to the northwest corner of 3rd and C  another familiar man stands during Farmer’s Market offering a little newsletter called The Spare Changer.  The person handing out the papers hopes that you will honor the stamp on the paper that asks for a $2.50 donation.  The tall man you’re most likely to see handing out those papers is also the publisher and principal author, Lawson Snipes, and he is someone else that has added new insights to my life.

Lawson is strongly opinionated, so having a monthly way of sharing his thoughts and his conclusions must be almost therapeutic.  More importantly, The Spare Changer has allowed those in the homeless or one-step-away-from homeless community a way to build some pride and offer something back to the community that helps to support them.

The Spare Changer gives voice to people who don’t often have a voice, and it lets those who read it gain some insights into what it is like to live on the margins of society.  I can’t say that I always agree with everything I read in The Spare Changer, but the content always makes me think, and that makes it worth my time.

Lawson’s work with The Spare Changer, which is now in its seventh year, was documented in a video by Rich Sequest that you might have seen on your local Davis Community Television station.  If not, you can watch the video by going to a site called vimeo. The Spare Changer not only gives voice to the homeless, it offers suggestions on how they can get help from, or you can volunteer with, organizations like the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter, The Davis Empowerment Project, Grace in Action, or the Short Term Emergency Aid Committee .

The Spare Changer sometimes presents helpful ideas on living more frugally and always puts out ideas to challenge your thinking.  How well are we addressing the mental health needs of our community?  What are the pros and cons of having lockers for the homeless?  Make your donation and then read a copy.  If you want to disagree with or praise something you read, email Lawson, or just stop by and let him know.

Is it your time to give something back?

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