Tips for Tony

I met Tony a few month ago playing this upright piano that found it’s way to Head House Square in Philadelphia, PA.  There were about a dozen of people listening to him play and he was kind enough to let me take this photo.

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I’ve gotten to know Tony a little through brief conversations in my neighborhood and he seems determined to get “a steady job and a steady living situation”

I can only image how difficult it must be to be homeless and trying to overcome the obstacles to gain employment and housing.  Since I can’t provide either of those I thought it would be nice for Tony to be reminded that people care.

As a part time Uber-Eats courier I will be donating all of my tips from Today to Christmas to show Tony exactly that.

With each Uber Eats delivery I perform the customer has the option to tip.  For those who do and explicitly give me permission to, will have their named signed on the card for Tony as well.

What I’m doing is a very small gesture.  My vision is that other couriers for Uber Eats, Caviar, Postmates, GrubHub, etc will consider doing the same.  Sure it’s small but as the majority of society ignores the homeless it would be great to show someone that some of us still care.

Outside donations can be made here.

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UPDATE: November 29, 2017.  I’m completely overwhelmed by the generosity of my friends, family, and other members of my community.  When I started this campaign I never would have imagined that just over two weeks we’d be at $266 raised.  Even the smallest contributions are extremely appreciated. Part of this goal was to encourage other drivers to consider doing the same.  I can only achieve that if you help me spread the word.  So please take the time to share the YouTube video, this webpage, or anything that might help spread the word of paying it forward to those who need it the most.
for updates!

UPDATE: December 9, 2017.  In just a few short weeks we’ve raised $381 that is just incredible.  I’m honored to be a small part of this and more importantly I’m feeling the love and compassion from the people I surround myself with as friends and part of my community.  I’m going to continue raising money until the week of December 18th, 2017. Through the power of social media and this website, I was connected with a great man who sometimes hire Tony to help him with projects in our community.  He has generously offered to make sure that Tony is available one day that week for me to deliver this amazing gift that you’re all apart of.  Thank you so much for your help and I hope that I can continue to earn more tips making this holiday season extra special for someone who needs it.

UPDATE:  December 18, 2017.  Well today we hit a total of $500 raised.  I’m done taking donations at this time so thank you to all the amazing people on this list below.  You’re all incredible and generous.

Today purchased a MasterCard Gift Card, a few WaWa gift cards, and I’m picking a few more up tomorrow from CVS.  I’ve also purchase a Christmas card and I’ll sign all of your names to it.  I also used some of the funds to purchase a cheap wallet for Tony to keep all of his cards together.  I’m hoping to get a photo with him after I deliver it to him this week.  More to come!

UPDATE:  December 21, 2017.  With holiday card and gift cards in hand I made my way to the bus stop as I do most weekdays.  Thanks to the newly renovated Wawa being back open I was back in the routine of running into Tony on a frequent basis.  He was sitting inside warming up to a coffee and let me hang for a few minutes.  I gave him the Christmas card and explained to him all the names signed to the left.  I then proceeded to explain each of the gift cards one at at time and he was blown away.  Thanks to the generosity of all the people you see listed below, Tony is going to have a much more manageable holiday season.  Thank you.  His first reactions after receiving your generous gifts was thankful to be able to purchase his sister a Christmas present (who’s been helping him all she can) and help give back to the church.  All of the people below deserve my thanks for helping a member of my community.  What I hope people take away from this the most is that facilitating something like this is very easy.  It doesn’t take much effort and I believe it’s impact is profound.  As we’re in the prime season of giving I hope that you’ll read this story and consider taking the time to help someone in your community who needs it one day.  If you do, I’ll be the first to help.

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Thanks

Jared Wood

$5.00

Lawrence Bailis

$10.00

James Hendershot

$10.00

Cristy Michaels

$10.00

Janya

$1.00

Frank Pandolfo

$20.00

Emily

$6.00

Lori Kushner-Horan

$40.00

Jennifer

$10.00

Danielle DelVecchio

$23.00

Tim Fitzpatrick

$10.00

Nicole

$2.00

Mary Ziegler

$25.00

Kailee Ring

$25.00

Alyssa Riley

$10.00

Scott R

$10.00

Chris Gregory

$10.00

Dave S

$2.00

Dom Higgins

$5.00

Carly

$4.00

Kevin VanLoan

$50.00

Ronni

$5.00

John Fitzpatrick

$10.00

Savannah

$3.00

Nicolette Datri

$10.00

Adriana

$1.50

Chris Slivka

$10.00

Robert

$2.00

Kevin Fitzpatrick

$20.00

Simran

$5.00

Michael Dougherty

$10.00

Susan Duffy

$10.00

Paula Martino

$15.00

Joseph Arcieri

$10.00

Rosie Martin

$10.00

Jean Abraham

$5.00

John T

$9.00

Olivia Topley

$5.00

Melissa Dodd

$20.00

Bill Russell

$10.00

Anonymous

$10.00

Hoa Nguyen

$5.00

Connor Byrne

$10.00

Shane Gertner

$10.00

Total

$493.50

#HelpPhillyHomeless

My Journey into Street Photography #HelpPhillyHomeless

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Recently I’ve been getting into Street Photography.  Surely, there are a number of ways to define street photography but as I’m learning more and more about my particular style I really prefer the most candid of shots.

Now some people are exactly the opposite and will seek out strangers in the moment to model for them because they appeal to them in one way or another.  I’ve seen some amazing work in that sub-genre but it’s really not for me.  But really what that means is that it’s not in my comfort level.

Philadelphia is full of culture and natural history.  It should be a photographers dream to live here.  Street photography for example can be a bit stressful.  What would you do if a stranger walked up to you asking to take your photo?  I’m not extremely interested in asking strangers to model in the streets for me just yet.

So I set out shortly after getting my Canon 6D and thought I’d take a nice long walk of the city and fire from the hip.  Firing from the hip refers to a term of shooting a gun without aiming down the barrel.  Same can be said with photography.  For me to get my level of comfort in street photography I wanted it to be truly candid.  That’s not always easy when you’re carrying around a large DSLR camera with a noisy shutter.

Who was going to be my first subject?  I’ve always had a large level of sympathy for the homeless.  Homelessness in Philadelphia is a huge problem.  One that is incredibly difficult to overcome.  One thing is undeniable is that these individuals have a ton of raw emotion.  Remember not every homeless person has a drug or alcohol problem.

I thought to myself that perhaps a photo series of showing the raw emotions of the homeless in Philadelphia would help spark a larger awareness and sympathy for the less fortunate.  So I started shooting.

I quickly learned that firing from the hip isn’t easy and I didn’t really have a telephoto lens to capture from the distance where I wouldn’t be noticed right away.  I was able to leave that day with a couple of shots I was pleased with but more importantly the motivation to do this project right.  I went ahead an ordered a proper telephoto lens in hopes to capture some more of this raw emotion on the streets of Philadelphia.

What I hope to accomplish is some wonderful images that will help tell the stories of these less fortunate individuals.  Perhaps next time we won’t ignore them as we walk by because a simple “Hello” can go a long way.

If you want to help spread the awareness of homeless I invite you to share you own photos all over social media use #HelpPhillyHomeless.

(Click to enlarge) (Updated 5/16/2017)