Lynn McPherson, formerly homeless herself, is a homelessness advocacy champion and volunteer at Portland Rescue Mission. Lynn provided cupcakes for our Birthday Party for the Homeless and walked last summer to raise awareness about homelessness. She was recently interviewed by Second Act to talk about her passion for helping people in need.
From Second Act:
|Lynn McPherson walks with residents
from Shepherd’s Door,
the women and children’s recovery ministry
of Portland Rescue Mission.
[Lynn] McPherson ran her own pastry business for more than 20 years. But her life changed dramatically after she left an abusive relationship and found herself living in her car with her three children. Eventually a family member helped McPherson move into an apartment and, after getting back on her feet and finding work, she decided she wanted to give back to the community that had helped her through hard times. She began volunteering at local homeless shelters and taking in street kids who needed a place to sleep. But she still wanted to do more.
In 2010, McPherson started Change-for-Life, a project aimed at raising awareness about the plight of the nation’s homeless population. She took her mission on the road last year, walking from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Tijuana, Mexico, and asking the people she met to donate money to local homeless shelters.
During her five-month journey, she says she volunteered at 54 shelters and interviewed more than 1,000 homeless people. While living on a food budget of $200 per month (the average food stamp benefit), she slept in the front seat of a minivan (which her traveling companion drove behind her for safety), at rest stops, and on the beach.
Now McPherson, who manages a Portland apartment complex, is planning another trek for 2012. “Walking from Canada to Mexico was all well and good, but there are so many homeless out there who need to know that someone has their back,” says the grandmother of five.
In an interview with SecondAct.com, McPherson talks about her role as a homeless advocate, what she learned on the road, and her plans for the future.