Monday, June 18 , 2018, 11:45 am | Fair 65º

 
 
 
 

Local News

New Campaign Promotes ‘Real Change, Not Spare Change’

Donation boxes at businesses in downtown Santa Barbara are designed to provide an alternative to handing money to people on the street

Santa Barbara’s alternative giving campaign wants you to put that jingling change in your pocket to good use.

Instead of handing those nickels and dimes to people on the street, the campaign’s partners are urging the public to donate them using countertop change receptacles at downtown businesses, with the money going toward street outreach, food for the hungry, shelter and medical care.

The small, clear plastic boxes with “Real Change, Not Spare Change” placards will be in many local businesses. Street-side donation boxes may be added during the second phase of the campaign.

“We’re not doing this because it’s easy, but because it’s necessary,” Mayor Helene Schneider said at Tuesday’s launch.

Having a program target the issues of panhandlers has been supported by a diverse group of stakeholders, especially those in the downtown area, from businesses and nonprofits to city government.

“We’re hearing that people don’t want to go downtown anymore,” said David Damiano, director of the Downtown Organization.

The Alternate Giving and Panhandling Education Campaign is a partnership of the Downtown Organization, the Santa Barbara Conference and Visitors Bureau, the Casa Esperanza Homeless Center, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice and the city’s Redevelopment Agency.

Mike Foley, executive director of Casa Esperanza, estimated that $600,000 a year is handed to panhandlers, and 80 percent of those who accept money use part of it for alcohol or drugs. For every bit of money that helps, some end up being the gift of assisted suicide, he said Tuesday.

Countertop donation boxes are just part of the city’s year-old, 12-point plan to address homelessness issues in the community, which includes an ordinance against aggressive panhandling.

“Compassionate action is neither exceptional nor optional,” CLUE homelessness subcommittee member Jon Lemmond said.

Click here to go to the campaign’s Web site for more information, and keep an eye out for donation boxes in the downtown area.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >