Photo from I AM HERE MLFTalk about raising awareness: A homeless man lived on a billboard for 48 hours, high above I-35 in Austin, Texas, as part of a project between three partners: Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Reagan Outdoor, and integrated marketing firm T3.
Danny Silver came to Austin as an ironworker. His job ended and he was out of work. Soon he and his wife Maggie were out of their home too. They spent the night at a Salvation Army shelter and were robbed. Now they live in a tent. Five years ago, Maggie had a stroke and has been confined to a wheelchair ever since.
The project, called I AM HERE, was conceived by Mobile Loaves and Fishes -- an Austin nonprofit and "social outreach ministry for the homeless and indigent working poor" -- and T3's director of emerging and mobile technology. Using Mobile Giving as a means of gathering donations via text message, these donations would be used by Mobile Loaves and Fishes in their mission to help the homeless.
To really get people's attention, the two partners decided they needed something big -- literally and figuratively -- and they approached Reagan Outdoor for a donation of billboard space.
But what makes this effort genuinely compelling are Danny and Maggie themselves. Profiled in Mobile Loaves and Fishes' monthly e-magazine, Twelve Baskets, it's impossible to ignore their plight. With absolutely nothing -- not even a birth certificate or driver's license to prove their identity -- and no family to help them, they're stuck. Maggie's stroke has so immobilized her that Danny is afraid to leave her alone to pursue work.
As of yesterday afternoon, the project had reached its goal of 1,200 texts, with a donation of $10 each, to get Danny and Maggie into a home.