By Community Affairs reporter Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia “street paper” sold by the homeless is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its founding this week.
“One dollar donation, if you can, to help the homeless…” says Jerry Tucker, 55, in his three-second sales pitch.
He was living in shelter two years ago when he became a vendor for One Step Away. The newspaper has helped hundreds of men and women get back on their feet by letting them keep most of the revenue from their sales.
“You can work when you want to work, you can go where you want to go,” Tucker notes. Today, the South Philadelphia native is a regular at the corner of 10th and South Streets, where he sells more than 600 papers a month.
“When I was in the shelter, it was my way out,” he recalls. “If it helped me, I know it can help someone else,” he adds.
Emily Taylor, director of One Step Away, would agree.
“Our whole mission is to empower individuals to become self-sufficient,” she tells KYW Newsradio.
The newspaper includes community-written articles and is distributed by about 75 vendors who sell a total of 20,000 papers each month. Vendors pay 25 cents per copy and sell them for a $1.00 donation.
“Vendors will distribute enough papers to eat for the month, to get clothes for the month,” notes Taylor, “to pay for housing or to help support their family.”
For Jerry Tucker, it’s a job that does more than pay his rent. It feeds his soul.
“It feels good to be able to sell something and not just have my hand out,” he says.