Up and Coming: Miracle Messages
I came across an amazing non-profit organization recently, that aims to reconnect the world's homeless with their loved ones they may have lost connection with. This company is called Miracle Messages. Started in San Fransisco in 2014 by Kevin Adler, this organization has spread throughout the world and has helped multiple people reconnect with their loved ones. Non-profit work has always been a passion of mine, ranging from directing philanthropy events at my alma mater, VCU, to creating and directing the marketing plan for the local Relay for Life campaign. These reasons are why I reached out to Miracle Messages, as well as to understand more about their mission and how people like you can join in and help!
Q: Tell us the story of what started Miracle Messages.
A: “It all started with the founder Kevin and his Uncle Mark..."
'Mark was my uncle. He was the most family-oriented member of my extended family. He remembered every birthday. The year before he died at the age of 50, he gave me an eagle bandana for my birthday. A very thoughtful gift for someone who loves his country and whose last name means “eagle” in German.
Mark also suffered from schizophrenia, and lived on-and-off the streets for 30 years.
For the first time since he died 10 years ago, I visited his gravesite in Santa Cruz. Though it means little to him now, my dad and Uncle David refused to have his memory forgotten, and chipped in for a proper plot of ground to call his own. As poignant as this was for me, I wondered if there was anything I could do for the people still living on the streets, whose lives we forget or ignore each day.
Like Mark, there are many people on the streets who suffer from mental illness, or drug addictions, or severe disabilities. Many people who have problems, just like the rest of us. Some are mental illnesses; some are down on their luck, just divorced, missed payment, bad accident, mounting health care costs, debts, mistakes, chances that just didn’t work out. Many people who have families and people who miss them and love them, just like the rest of us.
I decided to do something about it.
I started Miracle Messages to increase awareness of what it’s like to live on the streets, from the firsthand perspective of those who do; to make an immediate and tangible impact in the lives of our homeless neighbors; to use a bit of technology to help the homeless be seen as invaluable, complete, and human.
Thank you Uncle Mark, for inspiring the idea that lead to Miracle Messages. I always loved ‘em burritos, too. I miss you.'
Q: How does Miracle Messages work?
A: “It varies city to city. We usually partner with another non-profit organization (Salvation Army, local shelter) and backpack on their events. We will go to shelter’s events, here in Philadelphia it is usually behind a pharmacy, such as CVS, talk to homeless. We have roughly a 5 minute conversation before initially mentioning Miracle Messages, then we take the video to upload to Youtube or on social media, if they approve. We have an app that fills out all of the necessary info (who they are, how long they’ve been homeless, who they’ve been looking for). Miracle Messages also employs a group of private detectives to help look for missing family members; all detectives are volunteer based. We also have funding available to help provide transportation, such as a plane or bus ticket."
Q: How can someone get involved and volunteer?
A: "Website; we want people be knowledgeable, so everything is elaborated on our webpage: www.miraclemessages.org"
Q: How can someone find out if Miracle Messages has found their lost loved one?
A: “We got a lot of messages about people asking for help. There are a lot more homeless than I think is realized. If its in our database, we found him. Otherwise, we’re currently improving that aspect.”
Q: What is the ultimate goal behind Miracle Messages?
A: “To take away 1% of the homless population by the year 2021.”
Q: What is your most memorable reconnection story from Miracle Messages?
A: “There is a specific reconnection story about a father and son. The son lived in Camden while the father was in Philly. We knew he was in Philadelphia, but since he was homeless, we had to drive around for about 5 hours with the son to find their missing family member.”
Q: Miracle Messages is currently in North America as well as the UK. Are there plans to expand further?
A: "We actually just opened a chapter in Sydney, most other chapters are new."
Q: What are you most excited about being featured on UD?
A: "Promotion, to show the other side of Miracle Messages, that it's meant for families rather than homeless, that there is hope."
Q: If you could tell our readers one thing about Miracle Messages, what would it be?
A: “Everyone’s someones somebody”- Kevin Adler, Founder
“This is something different; Us doing this gives hope to other homeless people that their loved ones may be looking for them.”
Be sure to check them out online! The website holds the key for everything needed to set up your own local Miracle Messages chapter!