“real change,” the homeless

While in Seattle yesterday I was lucky to find one of my favorite reads, a street newspaper. Since learning about this network of national, even global, homeless newspapers, I make it a point to seek out its vendors wherever I travel. Helping these people help themselves gives me great satisfaction. Giving money to individuals seems a more organic thing for me to do than putting a check in an envelope, addressed to an organization. I do some of that, but I so prefer pressing my money into the hand of someone whose smile blesses me in return.

In this week’s copy of Seattle’s “Real Change,” was the following article which warmed my heart, as I’m sure it will warm yours.

Vendor of the Week
Paulette Bade

Paulette Bade has an infectiously positive attitude. When I arrive to meet her, just past 8 a.m. on a chilly Monday morning, she’s already been selling the paper for over an hour. We can see our breath and the sidewalk where she’s selling is mostly quiet, but Paulette is all smiles. When she sees me, she exclaims that it’s so cold this morning she probably wouldn’t have shown up if she were me. I find it hard to believe; Paulette always shows up, 7 a.m., six days a week, without fail. She is happy to be selling a paper she believes in, talking with customers she knows and cares about, and saving money for her future.

Paulette has been selling Real Change outside the Whole Foods store at 64th and Roosevelt since the start of the new year, moving recently from her previous location at the QFC down the road. Luckily, staying in the same neighborhood, she’s been able to maintain a lot of her same customers–people who still stop by to visit with their favorite vendor and buy a paper once a week.

Image via Wikipedia

When she started selling the paper–in 1999, incredibly–it was only to make some extra cash. Her ambition soon swelled, though, and she now sells more than 300 papers each month. Starting out, Paulette had been homeless for close to eight months, staying in a local DESC shelter. She eventually moved into Nickelsville, the only place that would let her keep her two cats and where she met her current boyfriend. The four of them have since moved into an apartment near the store.

“Now I want to put money in the bank. I want to do better for myself,” she tells me. Paulette has been saving up her earnings from selling the paper in hopes of moving into a better home, somewhere where they can have more space and the two kitties can roam around.

As we talk, customers leaving the store or walking by greet Paulette like an old friend. They know her well, and she knows them. She points out customers to me, telling me who writes poetry and who buys the paper for the crossword puzzles. She loves this part of the job, even with the uncertainty that sometimes comes along with it.

“You never know from one day to the next how many you’re going to sell or how much you’re going to make,” she says. But even on slow days she powers through, reading the new issue each week, trying both to know her product and her community.

When I ask what her customers outside of Whole Foods mean to her, she is flushed with joy.

“I’m thankful to all my customers. I appreciate them just stopping by and saying ‘Hi.’ Their smiles make my day, everyday.”

written by Adrienne Brown

paulette’s teaching me about simplicity…and love… for all…hugmamma.

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“dave’s killer bread,” or saying no to “bread on drugs!”

My favorite bread to go with my favorite peanut butter featured in my 1/12/11 post? Robust Raisin by Dave’s Killer Bread! It’s 100% whole grain with 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and 700 miligrams of Omega 3 fatty acids in each slice. Yes, there are 10 grams of sugar, but it’s a treat for me since I’ve reduced my sugar consumption considerably. I refrain from pigging out on candies, pastries, cookies, cake, ice cream and sugar in any hot beverage. I’ve even cut way, way back on having sweet, alcoholic drinks. No more lemon drop or sour apple martinis. Boo hoo, poor me!

I’m a sucker for a good story, and Dave tells a great one about redemption, his.

I was a four-time loser before I realized I was in the wrong game. 15 years in prison is a pretty tough way to find oneself, but I have no regrets. This time around, I took advantage of all those long and lonely days by practicing my guitar, exercising, and getting to know myself–without drugs. To my utter amazement, I started liking what I was seeing. It’s been said that adversity introduces a man to himself and I found this to be true. If I had not suffered, I can safely assure you that you would not be reading the label on a loaf of my killer bread. A whole lot of suffering has transformed an ex-con into an honest man who is doing his best to make the world a better place…one loaf of bread at a time. DAVE DAHL

Dave goes on to describe his brand of bread.

When I set out to make a killer raisin bread, I knew it had to be healthier than any other raisin bread out there. I designed it to be 100% whole grain with loads of tasty, nutritious seeds. And like all killer breads, it needed to be organic and free of animal products. That was easier said than done, and this product is the result of a lot of trial and error. Try it, I think you’ll love it. DAVE

Google “Facebook/Dave’skillerbread” to become a fan. Follow him on Twitter: @killerbreadman. Get the whole story: www.Daveskillerbread.com/story.

for sandwiches, i like dave’s killer bread “21 whole grains,” 5 frams fiber, 6 grams protein, and only 4 grams sugar…yummy…hugmamma