As an early kickstart to the holiday season, Underground Elephant has teamed up once again with Downtown San Diego Partnership’s ”Make Change Count” program in their efforts to end homelessness in downtown San Diego. Each year, the DSDP brings out iconic red meters and places them throughout downtown, which collect both change and credit card donations through December. This year, a meter has been placed directly in front of our new headquarters so both employees and East Village residents can contribute to the cause. There are now a total of 24 meter locations throughout the city.
Operating in San Diego since 2013, Make Change Count is a national program that has been influential in both aiding homelessness efforts and spreading awareness in cities across America. One hundred percent of the funds raised by the initiative are donated to homelessness programs, all of which are geared towards helping those in need get back on their feet. The donations collected in San Diego help to purchase hygiene kits and job interview necessities, as well as fund the Family Reunification Program. For this particular part of the program, donations go towards travel tickets for homeless individuals so they can reconnect with families in other cities.
Aside from raising funds, the Make Change Count program also helps to raise awareness around the issue of homelessness in San Diego. While the the red meters are a great fundraising source, they also serve as a conversation starter in the community. At Underground Elephant, we felt strongly about supporting this cause since our neighborhoods hit hardest by homelessness. According to a report conducted by the DSDP, homelessness in East Village alone increased 86% between December 2014 and December 2015. UE Operations Coordinator Manny Gonzalez believes the Make Change Count program is an inspiring way to help resolve a major issue in the city. “The homelessness and panhandling in East Village is very noticeable when you’re walking to work, but seeing the red meter helps remind you that you can be a part of the solution by putting in money and spreading awareness.” Through the initiative, the DSDP is also trying to put an end to panhandling in San Diego, by ensuring the donations are gathered securely and go towards the right cause.
If you are interested in the Make Change Count program or want to know more about putting a red meter near your business, visit the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s website for more information.