A January 12, 2019 Washington Post article discusses "Breadcoins", a token currency for panhandlers, the homeless, and others in need of food aid. -Editor
Jeffrey Carter, who is homeless, carried two gold-colored coins in his palm as he approached the Mission Muffins cafe trailer in Northwest Washington to exchange them
for a breakfast burrito and apple juice. The quarter-size coins — each worth $2.20 and inscribed with part of the Lord’s Prayer and an image of wheat — were “Breadcoins,” a new
form of currency in the District intended for people in need.
Inspired by the popularity of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, Breadcoins have circulated in the District since 2016, but they are still relatively unknown. They are an option
for people who worry that giving money to those in need might be used to fuel an addiction.
“People don’t want to give to people who drink alcohol and use drugs,” Carter, 56, said this week as he waited for his food. “It’s a new way to give.”
Carter got his Breadcoins at the Central Union Mission, where he has been living since August, when he relocated from Connecticut. The shelter serves meals, but using
Breadcoins at Mission Muffins gives him more options and allows him to feel like a paying customer.
Central Union Mission disburses the coins to residents who take its workforce development classes. Breadcoin co-founder Scott Borger often distributes the coins to people when
he volunteers at the shelter each week.
The coins are the product of his entrepreneurial venture, which encourages people to buy coins for $2.50 each and distribute them to people who are hungry or to participating
nonprofit groups. Each coin is redeemable for $2.20 worth of food at one of six vendors in the District, with a combined 11 locations. The value difference keeps the nonprofit
Some items at Mission Muffins are priced so that they can be bought with one Breadcoin. For example, a Breadcoin will buy a muffin, a twin pack of scones or a cup of coffee.
For items that cost more, people can pay with multiple coins or make up the difference with cash.
Borger, who is also an economist at the National Credit Union Administration, said the project gives him a different perspective on the city than his job does.
“In a room with people who are talking about billion-dollar deals, it’s good to be reminded on occasion that $100 or even $25 can be a huge difference in someone’s budget,” he
During the commute to her job near Union Station, Melanie Weldon-Soiset frequently gives Breadcoins to people who ask her for money. She started buying the coins about two
years ago, when she attended church with the co-founders.
Each coin comes with a list of vendors that accept it. Some people are grateful, some are confused, and still others have rejected the coins, Weldon-Soiset said. She said
carrying a few Breadcoins in her purse has taught her to feel more compassionate toward other people’s suffering.
To read the complete article, see:
‘Breadcoin’ is a new currency in D.C. for people in
For more information, see the Breadcoin web site. -Editor
To visit the Breadcoin web site, see:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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