FFWD REW

Guerrilla Girl a charitable giver

‘The project for me isn’t about recognition’

Why are you so adamant about maintaining your anonymity?

Because the project for me isn’t about recognition. The whole concept for me behind guerrilla giving is that the purpose is to give freely without the concern of getting anything back.

What is guerrilla giving?

I put cash in an envelope along with a little note that lets people know the money is for them that no one has lost the money that it isn’t a mistake. I give them a link to the blog if they want to make a comment about what they did with the money what they used it for.

So you put money in an envelope and you tape it to…

To wherever. I want to keep it fairly visual so that people can easily find it. So locations have been the Plaza Theatre in Kensington a bench outside an ice cream store in Bridgeland and a location in front of The Bay on 8th Ave.

Where did you get this idea?

There was a family in Vancouver that started this particular method of giving a while ago. They deposit gifts around Vancouver on a daily basis. Because it’s Vancouver they put the cash in plastic bags because the weather is so wet.

How long have you been giving?

I started in mid-October. I had been previously giving money to panhandlers if they approached me on the street. What I thought was really fun about guerrilla giving is that people don’t necessarily have to ask for the money in order to receive it.

How much cash do you put in these envelopes?

It varies from $10 to $50. It depends on what I have in my wallet at the time.

I understand that you don’t watch to see who comes along and snatches the envelope.

I don’t. When I’m placing the envelopes I try to be as inconspicuous as possible although I take a photograph of it and post it on the blog ( guerrillagivingcalgary.wordpress.com) and write-up about the location. To me it’s not about who receives the gift.

What do people write on your blog?

There was a gentleman who paid the attendant for downtown parking for a woman he didn’t know. I put that on the blog and then she posted a comment on the blog saying that she in return bought a coffee for someone at Starbucks and then paid for somebody’s bus fare. That’s kind of the idea behind the blog is to encourage Calgarians to do guerrilla giving and be more vocal about it on the blog to get some momentum behind the concept.

What makes you think that the person who gets your envelope is quite needy? They could be greedy.

Absolutely. But I just have a sense that the money is going to end up where it needs to be.

Why do you put the picture of the envelope and its location on the blog? Don’t you think that someone by then would have scooped the envelope?

Yes. It’s kind of fun because I do a write-up on the blog.

Why do you do this?

For me it’s really fun. I’m absolutely certain that when that someone opens up that envelope there’s going to be a smile on their face. Whether they need to money or not there’s something about receiving something just for the sake of receiving something — not because you’ve done something or it’s a celebration or a holiday. And the surprise is fun.

It must make you feel good.

It gives me a sense of joy in the giving.

Are you quite rich in that you’re able to do this?

I wish. No actually I work full time and I’m a part-time student. I definitely have a sense that if I need money for something then I have it.

Is this more fun that writing a cheque for charity?

Absolutely. I still do that. But this is just my way of having a bit of fun and being completely aware of the fact that you have no idea where the money goes.

How do you pick your locations?

It’s whatever strikes me. The location needs to be prominent.

How often do you do this?

About once a week. Right after I give a gift I make up another envelope and put it in my purse so that it’s ready to go.

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