By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The Curbside Chronicle is offering a creative way to help “wrap up homelessness” over the holidays. Several popular local artists are teaming with Curbside to design holiday wrapping paper for sale to the public. The Curbside Chronicle, a product of The Homeless Alliance in Oklahoma City, is a magazine that employs and empowers people who are experiencing homelessness.
Participating local artists include Bert Seabourn, Bob Palmer, Christie Owen, Clint Stone, Erin Cooper, Jason Pawley, Kathryn Wakefield, Kelsey Karper, Sam Washburn and Tanner Frady.
The wrapping paper designs range from traditional to stylish holiday themes that feature images including angels, birds, and even iconic Oklahoma City landmarks such as the Milk Bottle and the Gold Dome building. Each package includes five 24″x36″ sheets of wrapping paper and is sold for $10.
Wrapping paper will be sold now through New Years Day. The paper can be purchased directly from Curbside vendors, at over 30 local retailers throughout the Oklahoma City metro area and at various special holiday events like the Myriad Garden Winter Shoppes.
“The wrapping paper is a great way to make your gifts extra special this year,” said Ranya O’Connor, director of The Curbside Chronicle. “It features unique, local art and directly supports people who are working their way out of homelessness. You’ll not only be giving a gift to your friend or family member, but you’ll be giving the gift of empowerment to someone in Oklahoma City who is working to make their situation better.”
In 2013, Ranya and her husband Whitley founded the Curbside Chronicle. The couple voluntarily ran Curbside until July 2015 when the paper’s growth allowed Ranya to become its first employee. As publisher, she also serves as a case manager for the homeless vendors, training and empowering them to obtain housing, while advocating on their behalf.
Individuals selling the wrapping paper can be recognized by their green Curbside Chronicle vests. They will be available at events, on sidewalks, public spaces and at intersections throughout Oklahoma City during the holidays.
“The wrapping paper has been a nice conversation piece around the holidays, bringing awareness to the crisis we are up against,” said James C., vendor for The Curbside Chronicle. “For me, the bridge of communication from homelessness back to society is what it’s all about.”
All proceeds from packages purchased from Curbside Chronicle vendors will go directly to that individual who is working their way out of homelessness. Proceeds from store purchases will go directly to The Curbside Chronicle and its mission to employ and empower men and women transitioning out of homelessness in Oklahoma City.
The Curbside Chronicle is the state’s first and only “street paper” created to provide both a voice and employment opportunities for people who are homeless.
“In addition to providing a source of income, the Curbside Chronicle works with their vendors to break down barriers to traditional employment and develop time management, money management and social skills,” said Kinsey Crocker, Director of Communications at The Homeless Alliance.
Street papers like Curbside enable people to earn enough money to get into housing and end their homelessness.
Sponsors of the Wrap Up Homelessness initiative include Fowler Automotive, Frontline Church, Mason Realty Investors, Cornerstone Development and Downtown OKC Inc.
Watch for Curbside Chronicle vendors and consider purchasing wrapping paper that gives the gift of opportunity.