To help slow the spread of Covid-19 and keep vendors and customers safe, Groundcover News (GCN) has temporarily suspended printing of the newspaper and is going digital beginning with the April 2020 edition. Subscriptions and support are needed now more than ever to help Groundcover’s active vendors, many of whom are homeless or housing insecure, and who have relied on newspaper sales for their incomes.
The newspaper will be published on-line, with the current issue viewable only to subscribers. Income from the subscriptions will be used to replace a portion of the typical weekly cash income of each vendor. The subscription fee is just $2.00 a month, the same price as when the paper is sold on the street. The minimum subscription period is four months. Tipping is allowed and much appreciated as we try to get through this difficult time together.
“We appreciate the consistent, continuing commitment of the Ann Arbor community over the past decade – more than words can express. Thank you!” said Susan Beckett, publisher of Groundcover News. “While this is the new reality, the organization is committed to its mission – to create opportunity and a voice for low-income people while taking action to end homelessness and poverty.”
Beckett recently received this letter:
“I’m a volunteer at Groundcover News, who as most of us, had to stop many activities. Today I was driving down a rainy deserted main street, the same road that two Sundays ago was swarming with people. I saw A__, one of the vendors, walking in the rain. I couldn’t hold it in anymore, I started weeping… stopped to say hi and gave him a few bucks. He took the money with his hands, without hesitating a moment. This situation is surreal and scary for me, and I have food in my fridge, a roof above my head and a companion in this time of isolation. I cannot imagine what A__ and the other homeless people of the world are experiencing, how scared they might be….”
Community Support Urgently Needed
In this phase of physical distancing, the Groundcover News organization is working to get money to every single vendor and help them with specific bills that protect them from the elements and keep them safe. Many will not receive the $1,200 stimulus payment because they have not filed a tax return. Helping them file for 2019 is now a priority. Please let us know if you have experience with the forms for self-employment. We could use a little advice. In the meantime, they are cash-strapped.
Donations can also be sent by check to Groundcover News, 423 W. 4th Ave., Ann Arbor 48104. Groundcover News is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
All donations received between now and the end of the “Stay at Home” order will go toward meeting Groundcover vendors’ basic needs. Thanks to you who responded to our earlier donation request, we have already made shelter and utility payments for some vendors. We secured phones and phone plans for vendors who didn’t have them in order to maintain contact and help them stay connected to others who are important to them, as well as reach medical personnel, should that become necessary.
We appreciate your consistent, continuing commitment over the past decade – more than words can express.
While this is the new reality, the organization is committed to its mission — to create opportunity and a voice for low-income people while taking action to end homelessness and poverty. You can stay informed through the Groundcover News Facebook page
GCN is also starting a Vendor-Volunteer buddy system. If you would like to buddy up and stay in contact with a vendor, respond to the email below.
Some of our vendors are physically fit and eager to work at solitary tasks, especially outdoors. Have a problem area you want to turn into a garden? Have a garage that needs organizing? Floors that need stripping and waxing? We have vendors with experience in all of these who would love to work for you at reasonable rates. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your potential project and we will coordinate with you on finding someone to do that job.
Groundcover News is profoundly grateful to you!
Publisher, Groundcover News