Homeless Help Card coming to Coweta
by Sarah Fay Campbell
Throughout his college career at the University of Georgia, Newnan native Andrew Wilkin volunteered at homeless shelters.
Wilkin was often frustrated by the limited funding such organizations received. He began to research ways in which he could help, other than his volunteer efforts and handing out cash to the homeless on the streets near his school campus.
"I wanted to create a constant revenue source for homeless volunteer organizations, funding they could depend on so they could focus on what mattered,” Wilkin said.
In 2012, Wilkin founded the “Homeless Help Card” project. The card is essentially a discount card for purchase, with proceeds going to local charities serving the needs of the community. The card provides discounts for the user at 115 locations in Athens and has raised more than $15,000 for the five Athens organizations it benefits.
Wilkin’s Homeless Help Card is now available in Newnan. The proceeds will eventually benefit several local organizations.
For now, Wilkin has chosen Bridging the Gap, a food ministry, and Coweta Samaritan Clinic, a free health clinic for low-income Cowetans, as the first two beneficiaries of the card in Coweta.
“As we become more successful, we’re going to start adding more beneficiaries,” Wilkin said. “My goal is five organizations in Coweta.”
The card doesn’t just benefit the designated organizations. It also benefits the nonprofits that sell it. Seventy percent of the card’s $20 purchase price will go to the designated organizations, and the remaining 30 percent will benefit the nonprofits.
If schools choose to sell the Homeless Help Card as a fundraiser, they will keep 50 percent of the purchase price. Twenty percent will go to the two organizations. The remaining 30 percent will pay for both administrative costs and expanding the Homeless Help Card into more areas.
Unlike many other discount cards, the businesses that accept it aren’t printed on the card. That means new businesses can be added all the time. Cowetans can also use the Coweta card when visiting participating businesses in Athens.
The discounts are listed on the website at www.homelesshelpcard.org/coweta.
Wilkin continues to recruit businesses for the launch of the Coweta card and hopes to eventually expand the program into Fayette and Carroll counties, as well as in the city of Atlanta. Wilkin would also like to work with organizations that fight sex trafficking.
The card will be valid from August through July.
For more information visit www.homelesshelpcard.org/coweta or e-mail Wilkin at Andrew@homelesshelpcard.org .