Street paper focuses on social issues
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 19:02
The New Orleans Street Exchange is a nonprofit organization that has launched a street newspaper, which focuses on addressing social issues.
The publication, called The Exchange, is a quarterly print newspaper primarily distributed through a vendor program.
It works toward overcoming stereotypes concerning poverty and homelessness, according to Betsy Charron, co-founder of New Orleans Street Exchange.
Homeless individuals sell the paper throughout the city after completing a training course.
“We have been recruiting vendors through word of mouth and by recruiting at different shelters,” Charron said.
Charron recruited Calvin Bernard as a vendor at the New Orleans mission.
“I didn’t want to sell papers, I didn’t think I could make any money but at that time I was unemployed and not making any money at all,” said Bernard.
According to Charron, potential vendors undergo a process that includes an interview, an orientation, a trip to city hall to receive their official permit and also a graduation.
The vendors are each given ten issues of the paper to start off with. After that, they may purchase more for 25 cents a piece and sell the newspapers again for a dollar. The profit they earn is theirs to keep.
After four days of selling the paper, Bernard was able to save up enough money to pay a month’s worth of a cellphone bill.
Alexander Talbot, marketing senior and intern with The Exchange, said he thinks the opportunity is a positive one for the community.
“I think it gives back to the community and sheds light on the homeless and poor,” Talbot said.
Alvin Joseph, community member and purchaser of The Exchange, feels the program has a positive effect on people in the community.
Joseph said, “It allows someone to have some sense of self-worth and dignity.”
Leslie Gamboni can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org