If you see a homeless person on the street, what do you do? Reach into your pocket for change, offer them the granola bar you’ve been carrying around or just walk on by? Chances are, most do the latter, maybe dishing out a dollar here or there.
But a new video carries a powerful message about those who get stepped over on the street, directed at those who do the stepping.
“Have the homeless become so invisible, we wouldn’t notice our own family members living on the street?” the video asks.
In the video, the ad agency Silver + Partners and Smuggler disguised people’s close relatives as homeless and filmed them walking right by without a second glance.
They then showed these people the footage.
Most were speechless.
Sisters, brothers, mothers, uncles and even someone’s wife were passed with barely a glance.
Watch the video:
The video is meant to “change how you see the homeless.”
Michelle Tolson, the director of public relations for the New York Rescue Mission, told TheBlaze Friday that the ad agency approached the mission, wanting to help and that’s what led to the video. Even though the 142-year-old mission is the oldest of its kind in the country, Tolson said many in the area don’t know that it exists.
Though video helps raise awareness for this specific mission, which is gearing up to unveil a new three-floor expansion on Mother’s Day this year, Tolson said it is really for “all the homeless in the country.”
“They’re like everybody else. They’re a father, mother, uncle,” Tolson said.
While monetary donations to shelters and missions like the New York Rescue Mission are always welcome, Tolson said there are so many options for those who can’t give financially.
“Come volunteer with us,” she said, noting opportunities to use talents like photography, to tutor, work in a pantry, mail room or clothing donation room. “We love for people to come and volunteer here.”
And for those homeless you see on the street, Tolson said, “you have to be street smart.”
The New York Rescue Mission, for example, encourages people to give out their outreach card when they’re asking for help.
“It gives them directions to get here. Everything they need to get started, even if it’s just for the day,” she said. “We’re trying to let people know that better way to do this is give outreach cards.”
If you’re uncomfortable giving out information about your local missions but still have a desire to help, Tolson again emphasized the opportunity to volunteer.
Visit the mission’s Make Them Visible campaign website to learn more about what you can do.