I have an admission to make : I have not been updating this blog as often as I would like.
Last week I went on Coins 4 Clothes' first donation run. I loaded up my duffel bag with gloves, boxers, blankets, and lip balms purchased from walmart.ca using Bitcoin Cash donated from people from all over the internet.
The goal was to complete the clothing purchase through cryptonize.it , however walmart.ca was extra strict requiring the order be placed using a Canadian credit card. To his credit, the owner of cryptonize.it assured me he would "fly down to Canada and set up a Canadian credit card if that's what it took to make this happen". While I was impressed by his dedication, I wondered if it might make sense in the short term for me to place the order using my credit card, and credit myself the equivalent in Bitcoin Cash. I wanted to get the donations out to the people that needed them most, so I did just that.
The fact that fiat (i.e. Canadian dollars) entered the picture made me uneasy. Wasn't this supposed to be a proof-of-concept of how Bitcoin Cash was supposed to work? I left this on simmer for the time being, and went out to distribute the donations.
Ready to go with the Donations!
I set out to Yonge-Dundas square to distribute the clothes. On my way to the subway station, I walked by a couple of people who were sleeping under the highway. I noticed one of them was using one of the blankets I donated the previous day to keep them warm. I saw this is a good omen for what's to come.
I met up with my friend Peter the Pumpkin Eater and watched him play for a bit. Peter mentioned he has been playing drums since he was 8 or 9 years old, and told me how his entire life the one thing he knew best were the drums.
I gathered from peter that he and a few of his band members used to frequent the bar scenes a lot. They made a living playing bars and shows throughout Toronto. After about 30 years of playing together, some of the members got deals or moved on to other things, and Peter was left alone.
Today peter lives on the streets and supports himself with his drums. He had been playing all day when I ran into him, and was clearly exhausted.
The odd thing about Peter is that in spite of how worn out he was, he couldn't resist playing "just one more song". This went on for quite sometime. You can watch a taste below:
At Yonge-Dundas square I found many individuals who were living on the streets. They were all extremley happy to receive underwear, socks, gloves and Tim Horton's cards.
Towards the end of the night I met Trevor, a young man who was mugged and robbed that day of his last $15 dollars. Trevor had been living on the streets for a few years, and was appaled that "a bucnh of teenagers would mug a homeless person".
He was happy to be able to vent to someone, and was thankful to receive the clothing donations and the lip balm I provided him.
When I reached out and handed him $15, he was overjoyed and started crying. He mentioned how he was diabetic and that he could now afford to buy a special diabetic meal from Tim Horton's.
What I learned from this donation run:
The whole time I was walking around I had wished I had someone else with me documenting what was going on. I had such rich conversations with people that I felt like their stories had to be shared and experienced by people first hand.
This got me thinking that I really needed volunteers for this project.
I put the count of individual's we helped from the first order at around 30 people. Which comes out to about $10 a person. I couldn't help but wonder how much more clothes we could have provided had we purchased them second hand.
I spent the next few days trying to figure out where to buy second hand clothes and how I could facilitate this using Bitcoin Cash.
Then it hit me... why don't I go directly to the citizens of Toronto and pay them in Bitcoin Cash for their gently used clothing? This way the charity could function completely on Bitcoin Cash. Except of-course for the Tim Horton's cards which had to be purchased with fiat....
Stay tuned for our next blog where we talk about the change in our charity's model and what it means for the Bitcoin Cash community!