photos: Vancouver vendor Sekani Dakelth. Photo by Jackie Dives.

Reach out and grab that Megaphone

Director’s Corner: Eight easy steps you can take to boost Megaphone and your community

Get on your megaphone

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Spring is a productive time of year, for gardens and for Megaphone. Last month, Megaphone launched Voices of the Street, our 7th annual literary edition. It’s a collection of poems, stories, and essays from Megaphone vendors and people impacted by poverty. I am proud of all the writers in this issue, the editorial team who put it together, and all the vendors who share these stories as ambassadors. Voices of the Street is a limited edition, and it is beautiful.

We’re also nearing the launch of our 15th annual Hope in Shadows photo contest. The contest sees our vendors armed with their single-use contest film camera and their creativity, unleashed upon Vancouver and Victoria for five days. There’s always abuzz this time of year as vendors begin to dream up ideas for photographs. This year’s photo contest, as the 15th, promises to be special. Look out for the Hope in Shadows community vote online and at events near you later this summer. And for vendors on the street with cameras later this month!

With all this going on and in a testament to the incredible Megaphone community, a question I’m often asked is, “How can I help?”

Here are 8 ways you can support Megaphone this summer:

1. Buy Megaphone
Megaphone is a survival strategy for people experiencing poverty, and a way we can build power—together—to create a more just and inclusive society. You buying Megaphone from vendors is the number one best way to support our work. But there are other things you can do, too.

2. Share your love on social media
Snap a photo of yourself reading the latest edition, or hi-fiving your local vendor. Share why you support Megaphone and why your networks should get on board, too. Make sure you tag us (@MegaphoneMag on Twitter and Instagram), or on Facebook so we can share it, too.

3. Donate to Megaphone
Your support makes Megaphone possible: the vendor program, magazine, Hope in Shadows calendar, Voices of the Street literary edition, advocacy work: Megaphone donors power it all. You could even become a Megaphone Champion and support Megaphone monthly! 

4. Tell businesses you love Megaphone
Know a grocery store, coffee shop, or community hub where a vendor could thrive? Tell businesses you frequent why you care about Megaphone, and mention you’d love to see a vendor near their store. When vendors feel welcomed in the communities where they sell, they’re more likely to succeed, and the whole community is better off for it.

5. Introduce someone new
Buy an extra magazine from your vendor and leave it at a coffee shop, or gift it to a friend. Or—quite literally—introduce someone new to Megaphone by introducing them directly to your local vendor. You’ll create connection in your community, and maybe help your vendor get a new customer.

6. Run, walk, or cheer
We’re raising spirits and funds on June 25th by entering a Megaphone team in the Scotiabank 5km and Half Marathon. Join Megaphone staff, vendors, and supporters for this fun event! We’ve got speed demons and walk-runners, so no need to be a fitness buff. Or if it all sounds like a bit much, you can sponsor vendor participation! All funds raised will cover costs for vendor registration and running gear. Any funds raised beyond our costs will fund the vendor program.

7. Donate or volunteer
Your time is valuable, why not volunteer it (or donate) with one of the many organizations doing good work in your community, from those offering direct services to people experiencing poverty, to those advocating for policy change to build a future where no one has to. A strong community helps us all. A few suggestions of organizations doing important work: Overdose Prevention Society, Victoria Cool Aid Society, BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, Pivot Legal, Victoria Disability Resource Centre.

8. Look out for each other
Let’s offer each other a hand up. It can feel small, but these small kindnesses matter. Reach out to someone who may need support, a smile, or a kind deed. Don’t be a bystander: Intervene if you see someone being hateful. Let’s show up for each other.

Become a Megaphone Champion
Megaphone is a survival strategy for people experiencing poverty, and a catalyst for social change. And it’s all powered by people like you. This spring, please consider becoming a Megaphone Champion. Your small monthly donation creates positive change while reducing our fundraising costs. Your support makes an immediate difference in the lives of people in poverty, while building power to end homelessness. More info and simple signup at megaphonemagazine.com/donate.

Jessica Hannon is Megaphone's executive director.

Get on your megaphone

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