Stage 1 — 2019: Stage One involves raising awareness among U.S. citizens about the GCP approach to helping the homeless by means of a long-term and aggressive advertising strategy. Our hope is to create an army of private citizens who help the homeless in their own communities throughout the U.S. in two ways:
Want to help the homeless? The Gift Card Project proposes that you carry with you at all times $5 or $10 gift cards to local fast-food restaurants and be on the lookout for the homeless in your neighborhood. People in need are more efficiently and effectively helped by those on the local level.
Have a kind conversation with the person you are helping. Central to the GCP is the reminding of the person that their dignity is not depleted because of their current state. Many models of charity (non-profits that accept donations or church food pantries asking for canned goods) insulate the helper from the helped. The GCP brings one face to face with the person being helped by means of a donation, which is vital because practical assistance without emotional support goes only so far.
Stage 2—2025: The long-term and ultimate goal of the Gift Card Project is to provide the homeless not with gift cards to fast-food restaurants, but rather with gift card vouchers that give the homeless access to our nationwide vending machines filled with basic goods like food, blankets, toiletries, pre-paid cell phones, etc.