Dayton city manager: many panhandlers addicted to drugs, giving to them provides quick fix. Video by Amelia Robinson
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Real Change Dayton challenges community to aid children in need

Campaign to collect items for Homefull’s remodeled Child Life Center

Real Change Dayton — the campaign launched in June 2017 to encourage people to donate to nonprofits rather than panhandlers — is bringing back the Real Change Challenge now through Friday.

This week, the Real Change Challenge will collect items for Homefull's newly remodeled Child Life Center, helping it feel more like home for kids in need. The campaign is running July 8-12.

The center offers 34 renovated apartments, including six that are accessible for families who have physical disabilities. 

Downtown workers and residents are invited to donate books (new or gently used for children 12 & under), craft supplies and educational games to the marked bins located on Courthouse Square during The Square Is Where programming (11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays) from July 8-12. 
Monetary donations can be left in the retired colored meters at pedestrian thoroughfares in downtown Dayton, via the website and a text-to-give campaign (text “REALCHANGE” to 71777).

>> Why does it seem like there has been an increase in panhandlers?

“We wanted to remind people who might be working or visiting downtown that while the decision to give is entirely their choice, there is a better way to give,” Downtown Dayton Partnership President Sandra Gudorf said of Real Change in a press release during the inaugural year. “We are fortunate to have a wide supplement to our social services network, and we wanted to make sure we promoted the good work these groups are doing.”

>>RELATED:  City officials say there’s a better way to give to those in need (Dec. 18, 2017) 

A Dayton panhandler shows his sign. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

In addition to St. Vincent de Paul and the Downtown Dayton Partnership, the United Way of Greater Dayton, City of Dayton, Montgomery County Health and Human Services Department, Homefull, Goodwill Easter Seals and other local nonprofits are involved with the campaign. 

Each year, a different nonprofit will be selected to receive the money donated. 

>> 6 things Dayton is doing to address the explosion of panhandlers — and how you can help

“What people might not realize is you can give a dollar to someone standing with a sign at the intersection, but that same dollar can be stretched farther when it’s donated to a local nonprofit or social service agency,” said Tracy Sibbing, vice president of community impact at United Way, said as part of that press release. “These organizations have built extensive networks and can leverage donations to maximize the number of people who can receive benefits. Real Change Dayton will help these nonprofits continue their great work and get people back on their feet. Our ultimate goal is to help those in need to change their futures for the better.”

>> RELATED: Beggars brace as city says ‘it’s OK to say no’ to them

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