Do you ever think about how different the world is today than it was just 10 years ago? Even five years ago? Our world is constantly evolving, and technological advancement is paving the way to our future. As a result, we live in a microwave society where we can have just about anything we want or need, with the touch of a button.
As technology continues to revolutionize our world, there’s an app for just about anything you can imagine—probably more than one. Need groceries delivered to your door? There’s an app for that. Need a boyfriend? Unfortunately, there’s an app for that. Need a recipe? There are a whole bunch of apps for that. Any immediate need you can think of—and even some you didn’t realize could be an immediate need—there’s an app to fulfill it.
Of course, there’s a reoccurring theme with this “app culture” we live. At the heart of our microwave society is selfishness. Convenience is all about “me,” and “now.”
But the Bible says we are to live by serving God and others—not ourselves.
‘What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.’ James 2:14-18
Christians, we are called to live out the Gospel by meeting people where they’re at, and fulfilling their physical needs as Jesus did. People don’t find Jesus by having the Gospel preached AT them. They find Him when the Gospel is SHOWN to them, through the love and kindness of others.
StreetChange is a different kind of app that’s changing the way we approach giving in this microwave society. It’s a powerful convergence of modern technology, convenience and human kindness that is helping those who are street-homeless—our ‘brothers and sisters without clothes and daily food.’
And now people can give confidently, knowing EXACTLY where their money is going, rather than being hesitant to give cash to someone on the streets for fear they will spend it on a bottle of whiskey or their next drug fix.
StreetChange is a mobile app that allows users to donate targeted items that have been requested by street-homeless individuals in their area.
Essentially what happens is StreetChange partners with the existing homeless service providers in the area, who know their communities and the people in need. Those organizations and service providers reach out to street-homeless adults—particularly those who may not already be engaged in case management programs, employment training or behavioral health services. Those who choose to take the next step of working with a specialist or outreach caseworker will then complete a short intake to identify their personal description, long-term housing goals and strategies to achieve them, as well as short-term material needs.
This is where the StreetChange app comes into play. Each individual’s short-term needs—things like a jacket, socks, shoes, etc.—are translated into a “registry” that can be funded by people like you and I through the StreetChange app. That person then receives what the organization calls a “beacon.” It’s a small fob-like device that notifies them when an item on their list has been fulfilled by app users.
App users can view pictures, profiles and “registries” of every StreetChange client in a designated vicinity, be alerted when a need comes in, and make a donation on the spot.
It bridges the gap between our microwave society and social change.
Once a donation has been received, the street-homeless individual is notified via their beacon, and they can go to their service provider to pick it up. The exchange creates opportunity for development of the long-term goals in addition to receiving the tangible items that they requested. Rather than providing a jacket to someone in need and moving on, StreetChange is a catalyst for progress through strategic connection and developing relationships.
‘Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.’ Proverbs 21:13
We have a duty, and a calling to serve our brothers and sisters in need.
StreetChange is creating a platform for us to meet people where they are at, by providing a convenience but also fulfilling a need for those we are trying to reach.