WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)–Across the nation, some people don’t know where their next meal will come from or where they will sleep at night. After seeing those realities face to face one local photographer decided it was time to help the homeless in the Cape Fear.
“It’s heartbreaking really, a lot of these people are good people,”says Custom Piece Photography owner Paul Rota.
All it took was one walk in downtown Wilmington to change the perspective for Wilmington photographer Paul Rota. He had the opportunity to see first hand just how difficult it was for people living on the streets.
The harsh reality made Rota decide it was time to take action. He went back to what he does best and that’s taking pictures. One thing he didn’t know was that all it would take to get the ball rolling was a simple cup of coffee.
“People don’t understand they look healthy, but their not capable of working and they’ll end up on the streets,”Rota said. “So, one day I bought one of them a coffee, the next day I bought another guy a coffee. Then I started thinking you know maybe I can walk around, take photographs of people, and ask them for a donation for the homeless. You know that’s how it all started I just wanted to buy them coffee.”
That eventually led to Custom Piece Photography starting the “Kindness is Magic, Coffee for the Homeless” project. Over the first week Rota raised nearly $300 to help feed the homeless in downtown Wilmington. It’s not just coffee anymore, he has had the opportunity to feed some people full meals or put a roof over their head.
David Collins, who is a U.S. Veteran, has been homeless for almost 10 months now and he says the generosity of Paul has been a godsend for him.
“It’s really tough on the street,”says Collins. “An whenever people like Paul come up and they help ya, they’ve got hearts bigger than the sun.”
The pictures Rota takes are free, but he does ask if they would like to donate to help the homeless community. He says even if you don’t have the funds to donate a simple hello can go further than you think.
“They’re good people with good stories,”said Rota. “Just stop and talk to them once in awhile. Even if you can’t afford it, give them a quarter. You’d be surprised how much it adds up.”
Custom Piece Photography has multiple projects lined up to raise money in the near future. You can check out their Facebook page for more information. If you are interested in donating to the “Kindness is Magic, Coffee for the Homeless” project you can click on this link.