Holiday gifts come in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs, yet all are made to bring joy to both the giver and the receiver; a notion all too familiar to Curbside Chronicle vendors. Since 2013, the Curbside Chronicle has been Oklahoma City’s only street paper, providing employment opportunities for those transitioning out of homelessness.
This year marks the sixth annual “Wrap Up Homelessness” initiative – a seasonal campaign employing local artists to design original art for wrapping paper, later to be sold by Curbside vendors.
“One of the coolest things about this project is that we pay the artists. It’s an all-around, homegrown in Oklahoma sort of thing,” Poppe said. “I love employing some of our local artists and allowing them to sell their art for a good cause.”
According to Nathan Poppe, editor-in-chief of the Curbside Chronicle, “Wrap Up Homelessness” has developed into its own holiday tradition over the years.
“A lot of people, when they experience homelessness, they lose their sense of tradition and this is our sort of homegrown tradition.” Nathan Poppe, Curbside Chronicle editor-in-chief, said. “Every year, we have people asking ‘Where’s the wrapping paper? I only wrap my gifts in your paper now,’ which is awesome. At the end of the day, this is all about helping people.”
Each wrapping paper package includes five sheets of wrapping with a variety of unique, authentic designs. People can purchase these packages either in-person through one of the green-vested vendors or online at wrapuphomelessness.com between $8 and $20. Poppe suggests those buying paper online place their order by Dec. 18 in order for it to be delivered before Christmas Eve. All proceeds go to the paper to aid in their efforts to reduce homelessness, provide social skills and money management, and more.
Poppe recommends acquiring it through one of the many vendors found throughout the city in order to gain a better understanding of who the initiative impacts.
“Homelessness, in itself, is such an isolating thing, so just getting back into rebuilding some of those social practices and just having a conversation with somebody can be life changing. We normally kick out about 10,000 issues a month, so that could be 10,000 kind conversations and the wrapping paper just adds to that number.”
Though the wrapping paper is available until Christmas Day, the paper’s mission continues its mission to help those experiencing homelessness by providing social skills, money management, employment opportunities and more.
“Typically, donations slow down around January because December is the season of giving, so it’s on people’s minds, but the need continues through the rest of the year. Homelessness doesn’t go away come January. If it’s freezing for you out there with your coat on, consider what it’s like for someone who doesn’t have one.”