How To Spread Goodwill While You Shop

To give or not to give? Give Tokens provide an answer to the dilemma of whether you should give money to people on the street.

By Kasey Cordell November 22, 2012

It's an almost inevitable situation: While you're doing your downtown holiday shopping, someone on the street will ask you for money. Many people don't feel comfortable handing over cash, concerned it will go toward something other than food or shelter or bus fare.

Enter Give Tokens, a 10-year-old nonprofit that mints tokens that can be used at downtown shops instead of cash. You can buy the tokens—typically for between $1 and $2 each—at and several local businesses.

Give Tokens can be used at nearly 20 locations, among them Goodwill, Koi Fusion, and even for haircuts at Blondie's salon. Local homeless organizations JOIN Portland and Transition Projects also help translate the tokens into use for bus fare and laundry.

Currently, Give Tokens are being used at a rate of about $200–$300 a month—a number you can help increase by handing out a little help of your own this week (and next and next and next).

Solid Rock Downtown Office
1233 SW 10th St.

Mocha Delight
9050 SW Barbur Blvd

The Living Room
8050 SE 13th Avenue

Poppa’s Haven
800 NW Murray Blvd

The Brick House Project
700 SE Clay St.

Filed under
Show Comments