Homeless nonprofit raising money to meet increased demand

Credit: Submitted image

Lyndale resident Terre Thomas — best known as the Fairy Godmother — is working to raise $29,000 to help outfit the homeless for new jobs.

Thomas’ nonprofit Small Sums is on track to double the number served this year to 600. Thomas said that’s partly because more people experiencing homelessness are landing jobs with the improved economy, and partly because of Small Sums’ outreach.

“We’ve been kind of under the radar for a lot of people that serve the homeless,” Thomas said. “We’ve just been doing good work quietly for many years. We’re not so quiet anymore.”

The organization pays for things like certification fees, work clothes, uniforms, steel toe shoes and bus passes.

Small Sums is based at a Cheapo Records warehouse in St. Paul, and it partners with Urban Ventures at 4th & Lake and the Dignity Center in Loring Park. It receives funding from Steeple People at Lyndale & Franklin and Calvary Baptist Church at 26th & Blaisdell. Payless ShoeSource on Nicollet provides discounted no-skid shoes.

“We want people to make enough money that they’re stable enough to live at their own homes,” Thomas said.

The fundraising campaign runs thru June 1. Shay Berkowitz, Phyllis Wiener, and Still Ain’t Satisfied Foundation have offered a $5,000 matching grant for the campaign.

For more information, visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-278-homeless-workers-start-back-to-work-with-small-sums