Mar 30

A message from my friend, Stephanie –

Hello JoeTaxpayer readers! I’m Stephanie, and I blog over at Graduated Learning.  For the past few years, Joe has been incredibly generous by donating to the Walk for Hunger, providing challenge funds toward my fundraising efforts.  It’s been great having that extra push to get family and friends to donate to this very worthy cause.  I’m excited that he’s offered up a challenge for my 4th year doing the Walk!

So, here’s some quick information about the Walk for Hunger:
The Walk for Hunger is an annual fundraising event run by Project Bread.  It’s a 20-mile walk starting and ending in Boston where thousands of people come together to raise money to help feed our hungry neighbors with nutritious food!
And here’s the scoop on Joe’s challenge for this year:
When my fundraising efforts reach $1000, Joe will contribute $500.  And when we’ve raised $2000, Joe will add in another $500!  So grateful for his generosity!
You can check out my progress and donate at my fundraising page!
Any amount you contribute helps support this great cause.  Thanks so much for your help!
Note from Joe – as I wrote last year “Joe and Stephanie each have nearly 3000 twitter followers, and hundreds of Facebook and LinkedIn friends. Only one in 10 needs to donate $10 to help raise over $5000 this year. What’s great is that you don’t need to sit and write a check, you can go to the site and make a donation with a credit card. Every bit counts and will help to Feed the People!” Steph raised over $3300 last year, a great number for a single walker. This year I hope we can help her to hit $5000. Did I mention? Every bit counts!

written by Joe \\ tags: , ,

Mar 09

the-destituteAs we watch the financial news and celebrate the market’s new highs*, let’s not forget those for whom these numbers really have no meaning. The poor and not so poor who simply haven’t saved. Nearly half of us have little to no savings at all.

* I know, the S&P 1500 of today isn’t the S&P 1500 of the year 2000, there’s some adjustment for the dividends along the way as well as inflation. One more reason the indexes are meaningless, it’s each year’s return that matters.

written by Joe \\ tags: , ,

Sep 12

This is the last post in an 8 part series on being homeless, by a guest author who goes by the name Dreamscaper. It’s my honor to share his story with my readers.

Most, if not all, people don’t choose to be homeless. If they are like me they don’t want to ask you for help more than you want to give a quarter to. When you are at the point of asking for a handout you are pretty bad off.

I’d imagine most homeless people can’t get back on their feet without a little help from people. How do you get a phone number and address and clean clothes when you are trying to figure out how you are eating today or this week? Giving a hungry person something to eat could motivate them to try to get back on their feet.

The Easter Sunday I was homeless I was reading a stolen book outside a church service on campus. After the service someone came out and offered me a piece of cake. They apologized for not having a fork or spoon. They were all out. They just wanted to give me a piece of cake with no strings attached. They didn’t try to convert me or anything. Just wanted to give me a piece of cake.

For anyone making it this far, this is the best thing I ever remembered during my time of being homeless. If you want to make a difference, do something nice for someone and don’t expect anything in return. You’ll always be remembered as “That person who came out with a piece of cake”.

Note from Joe – I hope you enjoyed this special series of posts. What was your attitude towards the homeless, and has it changed at all since reading this story? Let me know, I’d enjoy the discussion.

written by Joe \\ tags: ,

Sep 05

This is the seventh post in an 8 part series on being homeless, by a guest author who goes by the name Dreamscaper. It’s my honor to share his story with my readers.

I never once begged on the street for money. I wish I did. If I was homeless again in the future I probably would. Easier than what I went through.

1. If you see someone that looks hungry, buy them a good meal. It doesn’t have to be fancy. A few burgers from the $.99 menu does the trick. When you are hungry and don’t know when your next meal will be from having someone give you something nice and warm is nice.

2. If you have a couple bucks, give it to them. People don’t like this because “they’ll just blow it on booze”. Who cares what they spend the money on? I think if I ever became homeless again I’d booze it up to help kill the pain of what daily life was like.

3. If you are more giving, why not buy the person a meal and find out what they need. Maybe they might need a new pair of shoes or a backpack or a blanket or…there is a lot of stuff people could use. You could probably go to a thrift store and find something perfect for them that would make their life a lot easier. I think I would have been happy if someone bought me a notebook and a pen. Nobody offered. That notebook and pen would have made life easier for its lifespan because I needed it.

4. Don’t judge. There are professional homeless people who make good money begging. But people like me exist that was having a hard time. It’s easy to roll up your windows when a homeless person is around and hard to actually care because there are so many. But if you help just one person that could be a big deal to them as they figure out how to survive the day.

Next Week – Final thoughts

written by Joe \\ tags: ,

Aug 29

This is the sixth post in an 8 part series on being homeless, by a guest author who goes by the name Dreamscaper. It’s my honor to share his story with my readers.

By the time I got kicked out by my ex-fiance, I had found a job. She kicked me out and I moved into a hotel. The taxi that took me there wasn’t too happy about me using a taxi to move. What could I do? The $100 tip I gave him afterwards he didn’t complain too much about. That hotel has since been demolished.

I moved in with a wannabe-cop. I can’t tell you exactly what he did, though. After a month he threatened to put me in the hospital and blame it on me. After that I stayed in a hotel closer to work and eventually found a room for rent that was cheap. I stayed in that room for about 4 years while trying to make ends meet.

I still did what I could to survive. I stole less food but more money from work. I took buses everywhere, went back to school and got financial aid, I basically still did what I could just to survive.

Eventually I found a job close to “home”. I moved in with my brother. I got fired from that job 2 years later and he was pretty much taking care of me for 3 years. Even though I was on food stamps for a month before, I didn’t think of reapplying for it. That was ages ago. Also didn’t know the first thing about unemployment benefits. Most of my working life was done under the table. When it got pretty bad and I knew he was struggling, I was thinking of just simply “running away” and becoming homeless again. At this point I was eating condiment packages from fast food restaurants and anything else that was sitting in the cabinets for awhile.

My brother passed away some two years later. He gave me a $15k life insurance, which was used to pay his funeral and the rest for me. The rest I used to become an alcoholic. I actually never drank when homeless or when stealing money from my bosses. But his passing was so hard on me that that’s what I turned to. I eventually drank away the rest of the money and couldn’t afford to pay rent.

I found a job paying pennies online but it was legit. I was hoping to make enough money a month to pay rent but that didn’t happen. So I started to hide from my landlord and go through the eviction process. At that point I had two options:

1. Be homeless again. This time I knew what it would take to survive. I was making some money so I could buy a tent and blanket and survival stuff. I knew about foodstamps and other programs.

2. Ask family for help. Ask my mom who was the one who kicked me out of the house 15 years ago causing me to be homeless. I didn’t speak to her in 15 years, so that was awkard.

I chose number two. We eventually patched things up and I’m able to sleep with a roof over my head and food in my belly. I also patched up a 15 year old relationship that only happened because of my sister and brother passing away.

Next Week – How You Can Help

written by Joe \\ tags: ,