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For Immediate Release          Media Contact: Marjorie Wass/Juliana Minsky (805) 687-3322

Still Time for Local Businesses to Sign Up for Inaugural “Real Change Day”

July opportunity for restaurants, retailers and other businesses to support local Street Outreach programs

Santa Barbara, CA, July 6, 2010—In April 2010, The Alternate Giving and Panhandling Education Campaign, “Real Change, Not Spare Change” was launched to provide education and ways for people in Santa Barbara to redirect their generosity to better help those in need in our community.  Now, all Santa Barbara businesses are invited to support the cause on July 21st, the campaign’s first “Real Change Day.”  On this day, businesses are asked to dedicate a percentage of their sales as a donation to the “Real Change, Not Spare Change” campaign.  The donation will be managed by Casa Esperanza to help fund the street outreach that is the key to connecting the homeless with needed services. The deadline for businesses to participate in the first “Real Change Day” has been extended until Friday, July 9.

Businesses can decide the donation they would like to offer to “Real Change, Not Spare Change”, a donation amount or percent of July 21 sales.  “Real Change Day” will be promoted through media sponsorships and other publicity to encourage our community to make a Real Change on July 21 by patronizing participating restaurants, retail and other local businesses. All participating businesses will be listed in publicity materials and on the Real Change campaign website at www.realchangesb.org. Logos can be included for those signing up by the July 9 deadline.  To download a participation form, interested businesses can go to www.realchangesb.org.

Businesses, workplaces and community groups can also help support Real Change at any time by hosting countertop donation boxes, countertop signs or posters. Casa Esperanza Homeless Center staff and volunteers collect the donations on a regular pickup schedule or can be called for special pickup when a donation box is full. To receive a donation box and other materials, businesses or community groups should call the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization at (805) 962-2098 ext. 25.

Santa Barbara residents and visitors are encouraged to participate in this first “Real Change Day” by purchasing goods and services from participating businesses on July 21. Additionally, those interested can contribute to “Real Change, Not Spare Change” by cell phone by texting “ChangeSB” to 85944, or at www.realchangesb.org. The website also includes ideas for other ways to support or get involved with local services. An estimated $600,000 is given by residents and visitors to people who panhandle in Santa Barbara each year. Real Change aims to redirect this generosity and compassion to support the local services that serve those in need.

“Real Change, Not Spare Change”: the Alternate Giving and Panhandling Education Campaign

The Alternate Giving and Panhandling Education Campaign is a comprehensive education effort focused on informing Santa Barbara residents and visitors about the negative cycle of panhandling and redirecting the generosity of the community to provide beneficial support for individuals in need. Financed by the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Santa Barbara and administered by the Downtown Organization, the Campaign aims to help the public understand the root causes of homelessness and change the behavior of those who give to the homeless.  The Campaign is tied to an ordinance passed by the City of Santa Barbara as part of its Strategies to Address Community Issues Related to Homelessness in the City of Santa Barbara, commonly known as the 12 Point Plan, which was approved by the City Council in February 2009.  The first phase of the campaign began in April 2010 and will run through January 2011.  All funds raised will be managed by Casa Esperanza Homeless Center which will also lead the street outreach effort. The campaign website is at www.realchangesb.org.

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